The obscure jewel of Wonder Amusement Studio is, without doubt, one of best titles ever made for Mega Drive.
About the game
Exclusive title for the Sega Mega Drive Japanese market. Developed by Wonder Amusement Studio (WAS) and published by Toyo Recording in 1992. Wonder Amusement Studio was a little studio founded in 1990, and ceased developing games in 1992, having Twinkle Tale as their only production.
Their work was not in vane though. They created one of the best 16bit titles and demonstrated what the Mega Drive hardware was able to accomplish.
In the darkness preceding the creation of the world Alpherion, three lights (red, green and blue) were created. These lights desired domination, and so they tried to destroy each other, creating a new darkness and a white light in the process. This white light, wishing peace, locked the other lights up and the new darkness in crystals, encased itself in a diamond, and created Alpherion.
Apprentice magician Saria is summoned by her teacher to consult a fortuneteller. The fortuneteller alerts Saria of dark wizard Gadou's incoming forces by capturing the great wizards of Alpherion (which Saria's teacher is one of them). The fortuneteller gives Saria items so she can go and defeat Gadou.
Equivalent on the console catalogue
Twinkle Tale is in its own right one of the most important titles within the importation market for this system, despise the late recognition in the collecting market. If we analyze Mega Drive's catalogue, there is not run-and-gun that achieves the same quality on every aspect as this game. Its acquisition is a must for all the shmup fans, being with no doubt an excellent title.
Graphics and sound
The graphics are one of the strongest points of this game. Superior to other competitors like Undeadline or Elemental Master. The excellent usage of the colour palette and all the details we can find on the main character as well as in the enemies and the impressive stages. Moreover, this game makes use of parallax scrolling, or reflected images on crystal scenarios. Although there tend to be lots of enemies in the screen at the same time, with their explosions and shots, the movement is very fluid and smooth. The final bosses are also remarkable. The songs are catchy and fulfill their role.
Both the character's control as well as the action are superb. We are able to shoot in eight different directions (multidirectional) while we move or not. There are almost no slowdowns and the difficulty curve is well adjusted. There are three types of weapons with their own power-ups, adding some kind of strategic depth when facing the different stages and bosses.
Very few games are able to achieve a grade of 10 here in Gakkon, and Twinkle Tale is one of them. The perfect balance in all its aspects is the main reason to become not only the best game in its genre for the Mega Drive, but also as one of the best and most important titles for the console's catalogue. It's a pity no one made the choice to bring this gem to the western market. Absolutely recommended if you are a Mega Drive collector or a fan of the shmup/run-and-gun genre.