Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

It Came from Japan! PuLiRuLa

4:00 PM on 11.10.2011 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]

When it comes to '90s beat 'em ups, there are only a few games worth exploring outside Capcom and Sega's catalogs. These two developers evolved and mastered the genre through dedication to polish, character design, and great controls.

PuLiRuLa has none of these things, yet it's still a game worth highlighting due to its gaudy, psychedelic visuals that still look gorgeous to this day. Unfortunately, it's very hard to witness them in the West without turning to YouTube, emulation, or arcade compilation imports.

PuLiRuLa (Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Sega Saturn, FM Towns Marty)
Developer: Taito

Released: 1991
Current value: $20 (via Taito Memories Joukan [PS2], cheapest option)

Fan translation: No, but an English version was released for arcades
For fans of: The Simpsons Arcade Game, Yellow Submarine, drugs 

In the early '90s, Taito was known for some terrible game names (Space Gun, Sonic Blast Man, Violence Fight, etc.) more so than developing quality beat 'em ups. In that regard, PuLiRuLa came out of the blue. It's an unconventional entry in the genre not merely due to its visuals and simplified mechanics -- yes, you can simplify a beat 'em up even further. It may not be remembered as being a great game, but it's a memorable experience nonetheless.

I'm somewhat cheating with this It Came From Japan! entry because PuLiRuLa actually had a Western release in arcades. However, I've never seen a cabinet nor met anyone who has played one. In other words, most Westerners never got the chance to play Taito's surreal brawler, and all future ports were unfortunately Japan-only. For those few that did play the game in its original iteration, they were met by one of the most terrible Engrish translations to grace a game. Instead of pulling the game down, the baffling dialogue complements the world and visuals surprisingly well.

PuLiRuLa (no idea what this word means) takes place in Raddishland, where time is kept in motion through the cranking of time keys. Each town has a time keeper who is responsible for his key, but some jerk with planet Earth for a face has taken them all and stopped time. An old man gives two young children his "magic stick" in order for them to retrieve the keys and turn the evil robots back into their original animal forms. The game grows even more nonsensical as you progress, but there is a charming Yellow Submarine vibe that makes the lunacy endearing.

No narrative framing could make sense out of the locations and enemies of PuLiRuLa. I imagine Taito must've stopped caring and let themselves go wild at some point, because there are things in this game that are so shockingly bizarre that I doubt there was any explanation among the development team. Levitating, bearded squids are one thing, but those prone to acid flashbacks should be wary of witnessing the giant screaming Japanese head and grotesque bosses.

One boss is a wild tribe leader who tries to jump across the screen and pierce the player with his rhino horn/boner. In another provocative moment, a large pair of female legs come out from behind you and kick around. In between the legs is a door you open to meet an elephant friend (yay, elephants!). This elephant bit was the only element removed from the Western release. American audiences just can't handle legs this large, I suppose.

The game is played with three buttons: attack, magic, and jump. Your moveset doesn't get any more advanced then a (not very effective) jumping attack, but all enemies can be defeated with one hit, counterbalancing the difficulty. This may be one of the easiest arcade beat 'em ups I've ever played, but you'll still need to memorize boss patterns if you ever wish to clear the game on one life, though playing for high score is a more plausible goal.

Upon defeating an enemy, it reverts back to an animal which will run across the screen; if you catch it, you'll receive some bonus points. The farther away an animal runs, the more points you'll earn. This makes timing and positioning very important, if you ever wish to play for a high score. Otherwise, the combat is pretty dull and the feedback doesn't feel very good. It's also hard to line up your attacks due to the game's large vertical plane and hit detection. 

PuLiRuLa is a game you play for the spectacle. It's not very long or fun, but it's very, very pretty. The gorgeous pixel art, soft watercolors visuals, and surreal art direction present the player with eye candy of a nature that is very rare in this day and age. From the reflecting crystal floor of Stage 2 to the warped M. C. Escher paintings of the final stage, Taito created a game full of spectacular visual splendor that you'll want to share with a friend.

If you ever want to get stoned and play a videogame, you could do a lot worse than PuLiRuLa.

------------------------------

What games with spectacularly trippy visuals do you love?

Did you ever see a PuLiRuLa cabinet?

Should marijuana be legalized? (Please include 5,000 word response below.)

 

[They landed in American West, on Strange Island]



Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Parismio avatarParismio
Dammit its 3 and i cant stop reading cute gay romance mangas.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Going to be honest; I love out-of-context anime screenshots. They're... kind of incredible.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Retweet of the year goes to President of Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc., Shuhei Yoshida.
Voodoome avatarVoodoome
Just got home from Deadpool and ... it's not good. I liked the jabs at Green Lantern and the previous movie Deadpool, but that was about it. The rest was just painfully forced dick jokes. Wife fell asleep.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Larxinostic rule34
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Looks like I'm not gonna be able to 100% Tearaway Unfolded until Monday at the least. I'm definitely writing about it this weekend and am trying my hardest to get my screenshots off of my PS4 (especially hard as I don't do social media anymore)
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
I've never done a blog before, so I may as well try one with a review of Stranger of Sword City....well, when I get entered into that contest of course
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Shakedown Hawaii is giving me good GTA vibes. I missed the topdown GTA games when they were a thing. I have to decide what platform to get it for since it's coming to 3DS/Vita/PS4/PC (probably the Vita version for moi).
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
You think your art sucks? Here's the rule34 I made of Larx yesterday. Look at it and despair.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Hey Dreamweaver? If you think your art sucks, you should have a look at my magnum opus. It's of Cloud from the popular game, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
I never thought this would happen, but here I am. all of my 700+ pokemon gone in one day. My cart stopped working and there's nothing I can do. I quit, you can't just rebuild all that. Time to find something else.
taterchimp avatartaterchimp
Tom Collins is a pretty great drink, and well suited for poutine. consumption
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
It may be because I've been drinking but... We need some dung beetles from ark for the front page. Move that dung on out.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Does anyone know how to get PS4 screenshots onto a PC without needing a flash drive? I don't have a spare.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
This is an example of how bad my drawings are. I honestly think drawing stick figures would've been easier on the eyes. :( The worst thing about this image is that this was made after I got BETTER. Trust me, you don't want to see my earlier stuff. T^T
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
So I received a mysterious box in the mail today. When I opened it I was blown away...The friends I've made here on Destructoid are amazing (More pics in the comments).
Parismio avatarParismio
FRISK PACIFIES YOUR FACE!
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Woe is me. This month's Cblog theme is basically an excuse to draw pretty girls, and here I am with no time.
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe one day I'll reach bronze rank in Rocket League...
Nathan D avatarNathan D
A very Bloodborne-y moment.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -