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CONSOLE: Game Gear DEVELOPER: SIMS PUBLISHER: Sega
RELEASE DATE (JP): March 4, 1994 GENRE: Platformer
// review by SoyBomb

Ba-da ba ba bleh...

McDonald's: Ronald in the Magical World puts you directly in the floppy red shoes of the man himself, Ronald McDonald. After the Hamburglar misguidedly opens a magic box that others advised him to keep closed, the playful Mr. Joke appears from a map and kidnaps Birdie, Grimace, and the Hamburglar, taking them to his castle in the aptly-named "Magical World". Of course, Mr. Joke lives up to his name: he left behind his magic stick. Ronald picks up that stick and uses it to enter the Magical World on his own. Now he has a shot at rescuing his friends.

Frankly, if Mr. Joke hadn't dropped that stick, Ronald would be completely helpless and useless. Even if he was somehow able to manipulate that map and sneak into the Magical World (perhaps there was a bus that had a stopover there), Ronald wouldn't be able to get very far without the aid of a magical stick. Oh, he can walk and jump well enough, all things considered. I'm assuming he doesn't actually eat at McDonald's or else he'd have to lay down after every platform leap. But much of Ronald's progression only happens in combination with the stick. It's his only weapon, giving gruff enemies a sparkly whack on the noggin. He can also raise it to the sky, revealing a parasol which allows him to float, thus traversing longer distances with his leaps. Those are the moves at Ronald's disposal. Yes, it's quite a complex game.

Ronald will shuffle his way through four regions of the Magical World, typically consisting of two standard platforming levels, a vertical stage where you basically have to climb upward until you get to the exit, and a boss fight. In the platform levels, you'll need to find a key before you can leave. The keys are hardly well-hidden, so you'll find most of them simply by moving forward. Enemies do not respawn once you kill them, so if for whatever reason you need to backtrack, you can do so in relative safety. Stages where you ascend get to be a bit of a hassle in later stages, requiring precision jump/float combinations, but it's nothing terrible. Boss battles are simplistic as well, basically involving predictable and easily dodgeable attacks.


That's right, Ronald: just walk over people like you always do!

Every once in a while, you'll come across a post with an 'M' sign on it. Touching that will whisk you away to a bonus menu, where you can choose to play one of two bonus games (or none at all) by selecting the Fry Kid of your choice. (Hey, they WERE paying attention to the commercials!) One is a concentration-style game, while the other requires you to run around with a cafeteria tray, collecting pieces of a specific picture while a timer winds down. The games are a brief distraction, but they are also very unclear as to what you actually win, if anything. Maybe it's just for good fun. For some reason, if you choose not to play, the Fry Kid says "Don't Games!" Uh-huh. Remember, kids: winners don't games.

If anything, this game is uninspired. Considering the source material, I guess there really wasn't much they could do. I suppose a game about collecting scattered French fries or Chicken McNuggets probably didn't cut the mustard. The graphics are cartoonish, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, though it feels as though they just grabbed whatever random assets they had and tossed them together like a salad. There's no reason why Ronald McDonald would go through Cake World. There just isn't. They don't even serve cake at McDonald's. The audio is forgettable; they even grabbed some tunes from McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure for the Sega Genesis and slapped them in.

Obviously, Ronald in the Magical World was directed more at impressionable children, considering how simple and lackluster this game is in general. There's nothing outright terrible about the game; it simply does nothing outstanding. It was likely another quick cash-in for both Sega and McDonald's. For some reason, Ronald in the Magical World remained a Japan exclusive, so American Hamburglars couldn't get their sticky paws on it. In Japan, the game is known as "McDonalds: Donald no Magical World", but by using it with a North American Game Gear, we not only see a new title screen that calls it "Ronald in the Magical World", but the game is fully translated into English! Broken English, mind you, but English nonetheless. Bottom line: unless you collect McDonald's merchandise as a pastime, don't worry about missing this adventure.


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