魔女っ子大作戦 ● Genre: Simulation ● Release Date: 1999/02/04 ● Developer: TOYS FOR BOB ● Publisher: BANDAI ● Media: CD-ROM ● System Specific: PlayStation
■OUR FAVORITE WITCHES ARE BACK !
The classic majokko (magical girl) heroines band together for the first time in history to defeat the forces of darkness!
MAJOKKO TACTICS is certainly an interesting title. A western-made, yet Japanese-exclusive release based around some really old-school anime series. There can't be many examples of that for sure.
MAJOKKO TACTICS was actually developed alongside the game「THE UNHOLY WAR」, which I guess could be considered its western counterpart since both share the same basic gameplay concept and enemy characters.
I do would like to point out that I've never played THE UNHOLY WAR, so I really can't say much about the similarities or differences that most likely exist between the two titles.
■MAJOKKO SERIES INFORMATION
You start the campaign by choosing your favourite majokko. This will not only determine your starting heroine but also your support characters.
The majokko series featured in the game are :
● 魔法使いサリー (MAHOU TSUKAI SALLY)
● ひみつのアッコちゃん (HIMITSU NO AKKO-CHAN)
● 花の子ルンルン (HANA NO KO LUNLUN)
● 魔法少女ララベル (MAHOU SHOUJO LALABEL)
● 魔女っ子メグちゃん (MAJOKKO MEGU-CHAN)
● キューティーハニー (CUTEY HONEY)
● 魔法使いチャッピー (MAHOU TSUKAI CHAPPY)
The character selection screen.
■BEWITCHING GAMEPLAY !
The gameplay in MAJOKKO TACTICS follows the genre standard turn-based fare, with the action taking place in decent-looking fully rotatable 3D maps.
Your units as well as those of the enemy army will be coming out from magical portals located in opposite sides of the map.
By the way, all characters in the map look like 2D sprites when standing still but will turn to 3D polygons when moving around or when using special abilities. A rather strange design choice....
The enemies all look like those generic shadow bad guys from CUTEY HONEY while standing still on the map. However once they make a move you can see they're the same character models used in THE UNHOLY WAR.
To clear a map you will need to reach the enemy portal and beat the living crap out of the boss inside. Of course before that happens you probably will have to beat all of the other enemies in the map as well. Hopefully that will teach them a thing or two about messing with little girls who carry a magic wands around.
When one of your characters encounters an enemy they will duke it out in real-time 3D combat, which in spite of its simplicity can be a lot of fun
And I say it can be because that mostly depends on the characters you're using.
While some of them can fly around shooting magic beams as they engage in hectic aerial combat. Others in turn only have one lousy melee attack at their disposal. So as you can probably imagine they aren't much fun to use.
From my understanding the core strategic gameplay element in THE UNHOLY WAR had the opposing factions fighting for resource-generating hex grids. Gaining control of these hexes then would allow a faction (technically anyway) to build the necessary units to conquer their enemy's base.
In MAJOKKO TACTICS resource-making hexes are swapped for mana-making light crystals. But still the strategic element, at least in the 1 player mode, has been downplayed drastically.
And while mana can be used to summon more characters as well as to use some of their special abilities. The truth is that you really don't need that much mana to beat the enemy.
Plus regardless of how much mana the enemy makes, there seems to be a set limit to the amount of units they can unleash on each map.
■SIDETRACKING FOR FUN AND XP
To further spice up the action each map will offer you a small bunch optional side-missions that you can take on to give your characters an extra XP boost.
These side-missions feel like mini-games out of a multiplayer party game, and they usually involve beating up or gathering stuff.
Like the with rest of the game, these brief segments are surprisingly fun to play.
The only downside is that the same missions will repeat every other map (sometimes even during the same map), so their novelty can wear down rather quick.
The null core strategic element and lackluster difficulty setting are the only things that prevent this otherwise fairly enjoyable action simulation hybrid from being a truly great and commendable game.
And while MAJOKKO TACTICS manages to remain fun and entertaining throughout all of its 12 map long campaign. I think the title had enough potential and pedigree behind it to had done a lot better.
All things considered though, MAJOKKO TACTICS makes for a decent entry in the world of retro anime-licensed games. I'm sure fans of majokko anime or of retro anime in general will get a kick out of it.