Pu-Li-Ru-La (Saturn)

Think you’ve got what it takes? Do you have the Twerk- er, hang on, Quirk Factor?

"I do!" "I do!"

“I do!” “I do!”

And with the appearance of two brave young heroes, we’ve reached at my third and final post on Pu-Li-Ru-La. I clearly can’t get enough of this game’s unique offerings. For such a short-lived experience – even by beat ’em up standards a 20 minute playthrough is brief – three posts is really milking it. Well, with any luck this will prove to be my definitive statement on Pu-Li-Ru-La, and therefore my last. Set phasers to weird…

Before turning to gameplay, a word on the main character (the young man on the right above – the girl, who I assume is his sister, is playable with the second controller). Leaving aside for one moment the rather fetching plaster on his nose (Nelly, eat your heart out), he looks to me like the perfect blend of Ness from Earthbound and the original Pokemon Trainer from Pokemon Red.

pokemon trainer red ness earthbound

pokemon trainer red ness earthbound combine

Voila!

Voila!

So, the tale goes that PokeNess and his sister are the only ones who can stop some weirdo villain disguised as a children’s entertainer who wants to stop time, for some nefarious ends presumably.

pulirula saturn 10

PokeNess beats the ever living crap out of the dastardly entertainer. It’s all in vain though – Entertainer nicks the precious Time Thingy (resting under his feet in this screen) and gets away. Note the unconscious policeman in the bottom left. He’ll make an appearance later.

Needless to say, this game is undeniably pleasing to the eye. It looks remarkably like an 80s cartoon, and it came close – Pu-Li-Ru-La was originally released in arcades in 1991.

Boss battle over,

You emerge from the sewer (yes, the previous screenshot depicted a sewer, the nicest in existence) and things have turned to shit in your small town. Nasty blue men are breaking windows with alarming regularity and the only glazier in the phone directory is frozen in time. Bugger.

Control is ludicrously straightforward. Jump and attack are your only options, and there are only two types of attack: normal swipe with your staff by hitting attack, and a slightly further reaching attack by hitting attack and down at the same time. It’s basically a button basher. There’s a bit of timing to it, but with no means of guarding and anything other than your trademark move, the Rod Bash. Not the greatest strategic potential then, even by beat ’em up standards. (How many times am I going to keep saying that? Even by beat ’em up standards, plenty.)

What’s more with the exception of bosses and one or two special enemies, every enemy takes one hit and one hit only to die. And don’t worry, they don’t die. This is a kids game! (It’s really not.) Rather than die, they turn into cute animals, platypuses, dogs, that sort of thing. It’s all rather cutesy. Or at least it seems that way at first…

Stage 2, and do things look so cutesy now?

“Think I’m cutesy now?”

There’s also magic. Bizarre magic, which comes in a variety of forms. And it’s random – you never know you’re getting until you try it. None of the spells are useless, but some are better than others. (Even then, you gain temporary invincibility which is always useful.) The best, which I didn’t get in this playthrough, is a man who puts an enemy in a giant microwave(!) which instantly transforms it into a soft puppy or piglet or whatever happens when the bad creatures die.

And that’s as far as I can go with this description of the game. Past the ice stage, all language fails. The images will speak for themselves from here on in. Just so long as you know that it’s not the controls, the magic, the moveset, the difficulty et cetera, that have traumatised me into silence.

After Stage 2, the game's environments become increasingly ludicrous...

It’s the increasingly ludicrous environments that appear post-stage 2. Here, a lady acts like a flag on a flagpole, while this blue-haired guy slowly emerges.

What the hell.

“NO I DON’T SIT DOWN YOU SIT DOWN”

Continue walking and you come to this. The legs move up and down and can hurt you if you time it wrong.

It was the prerequisite of that era: every videogame had to have a birthing canal level. That green door will sometimes open to reveal a pink elephant with a shot of Earth taken from space behind it. Yes, I am deadly serious.

Perhaps this new scene will be more normal?

No.

Improbable.

Unlikely.

Unlikely.

Wrong.

Wrong.

...

(This guy just turned on time again incidentally.)

No.

Doubtful.

pulirula saturn 81

I’m starting to question this game’s realism.

There are no words for the havoc that this game wreaks on your soul. Pu-Li-Ru-La, the judges are in agreement: you’re not a good game, but you’ve got the Quirk Factor, and then some. Over to you, Nelly.

"Dont tell Kelly but I got the idea from this cutey pie kid in Pu Li Ru La."

NELLY SPEAKS EXCLUSIVELY TO VERY VERY GAMING: “Don’t tell Kels here, but I got the whole plaster idea from the cutey pie kid in Pu-Li-Ru-La.”


 

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2 comments

    • veryverygaming

      The remarkable thing is that despite having almost no depth or replay value, it’s actually a decent beat ’em up, with very strong production values. As you can see, it’s gorgeous to look at (by 1991 standards it’s nothing short of a wonder), plus it’s got a nice soundtrack and controls well. And if you’re into the weird thing… well, that’s the point I guess. You have to be into the weird stuff, otherwise there’s little point tracking down this game. Personally, I am not unhappy with Pu-Li-Ru-La sitting on my shelf. Would I miss it if I got rid of it? I have to admit, probably a bit. (P.S. If you want to experience a really weird game that happens to be very good, I’d highly recommend Sexy Parodius. It’s an excellent game.)

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