Hidden Gem: Ronald McDonald in the Magical World (Sega Game Gear)

Ronald-in-the-Magical-WorldBelieve it or not, the often overlooked Sega Game Gear is home to some of the most hidden retro gaming gems. This McDonalds branded platformer; Ronald in the Magical World is one gem that should be in every Game Gear collection.

Sadly the blurry screen on the Sega Game Gear makes even the most enjoyable games become a chore. Even Sonic the Hedgehog's speed becomes his biggest flaw and the blurry display makes it only worth playing on the Sega Master System outing. Ronald McDonald however was well aware of the problems and decided to arrive on the handheld in a slow paced manor, bringing one of the best platformers the Game Gear has seen to date.

Ronald in the Magical World was released in Japan back in 1994. Unfortunately it never saw release outside of Japan, as elsewhere the Game gear was well past it's sell by date. A year before this game saw release, the Sega Megadrive had been given a Ronald McDonald game, very similar to the Game Gear outing; McDonalds Treasure Land Adventure. The Megadrive game was developed by the 16bit masterminds, Treasure (Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier) but there is no official word regarding them creating the Game Gear version.

Gameplay Video

As the story goes, Ronald's friends; the Hamburglar, Grimace and Birdie are checking out an unusual box they have come across. Regardless of the large sticker saying 'Do Not Open', the cast decide to open the box and find a Wizard sucking them into the Magical World. And of course, Ronald was left behind so he can begin his quest to rescue his friends.

Like most platformers of it's time, you're set with the task of getting from the left of the level, over to the right. Ronald is equipped with his Magical Umbrella which is used as a weapon and offers gliding abilities.

Ronald McDonald's 8-Bit Adventure

Ronald-in-the-Magical-World-ScreenshotThe game is set over four different stages, each featuring four levels of their own; Wonder Forest, Cake Town, Clock Factory and finally the Magical Castle. With a Boss at the end of every stage, the short 16 levels feel longer than they actually are, as the bright visuals and solid gameplay absorb you.

The game features two Mini Games to find throughout the levels. One is a traditional match the pictures puzzle, while the second could be described as being at the bottom of the Burgertime screen. As the ingredients fall to make either a Drink, Fries or Burger, you must match four tile pieces to make an item of food. Stack them in the wrong order and you've failed (this happens an awful lot). These mini games feel great upon the first few tries, but the reward at the end of each game is nothing special and you find yourself avoiding the hidden mini game triggers later on.

As you advance through the game, you begin to see what the Game Gear was really capable of. A system that started in the shadow of a monochrome juggernaut, never really finding it's roots until it was too late. Japan however seemed to have more time for the Game Gear than the rest of the world, finding many different limited editions of the hardware released and games such as this.

Overall Ronald in the Magical World is a delightful platformer to play that will have you questioning the hardware it's on. It's simple, yet effective approach to the platforming genre standard will have you coming back for more and more. But don't take this Ronald branded game too lightly, beneath the colourful exterior lies a tough challenge with a password system you'll be requiring!

Where can I buy Ronald in the Magical World?

Ronald-McDonald-in-Magical-World-CompleteAs stated, Ronald in the Magical World is a Japanese only release near the end of the Sega Game Gear's lifespan. It can be quite tough to find, especially complete in it's box.

Failing that, emulation is your best bet and probably the best way to play this game. Sorry Sega, but that Game Gear screen really doesn't do it any favours.

At the time of writing, these was a Complete Ronald in the Magical World available on Yahoo Auctions Japan, priced at approximately £35. Unfortunately there were no copies to be found on eBay at this point in time.

McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure


Last Updated ( 20 June 2010 )  

Cauterize

Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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