Title: Magical Truck Adventure
Publisher/Developer: Sega
Year: 2000
Platform: Arcade
Genre: Simulation

With a title like "Magical Truck Adventure", one might expect the game to be like Sega's Eighteen Wheeler: American Pro Trucker, but with a more whimsical bent. There's whimsy aplenty in this title, but the trucks in question are the ones more commonly known as hand cars. You know, the old-fashioned carts that move along railroad tracks by manipulating a pump, maybe you've seen one in a Looney Tunes short...

Anyway, the story is pretty basic: boy meets girl, boy meets bad guys who have stolen magic dimension-hopping stone from girl, boy and girl team up to get magic stone back. The boy and girl in question are Roy and Alma, who chase down the bad guys (pompadoured dandy Momy and his hulking henchman Marrow) on rail cars, incidentally travelling through exotic locales as the mystic stone goes off at unexpected intervals.

The main gimmick in Magical Truck Adventure is the control system. There's a pair of pump handles facing the game screen, which the player or players pump furiously to power Roy and Alma's cart onscreen. There's obstacles to be dodged, which involves stomping on a pedal on the machine to make the cart tilt to the side or jump (by pressing both pedals at once). The game is ostenibly designed for two players, but can easily be played by one. More easily that the two-player mode, in fact, since the computer plays almost perfectly. Obviously, the object of the game is to catch up to the bad guys and get the stone, then keep ahead of them without damaging your cart too much until you reach the last level. So it boils down to being one big, flashy, and maybe even fun minecart level. Depending on the results (whether the kids have the gem, or the bad guys have it), you get taken to different worlds (including the jungles and savannah of Africa, a fantasy world, a futuristic world, and an underwater world). Though there's only two endings, as far as I know: either Roy and Alma escape the baddies and live happily ever after, or Momy and Marrow catch the kids and start their interdimensional crime spree or whatever they were planning.

My Thoughts
I only played this game a few times, at an arcade in Virginia. Being the fan of quirky Japanese games that I am, I was quite fond of it, though I was never able to beat the game and get the good ending. It's rather hard to find, as one can imagine, so if you like quirky games and find this at your local arcade, consider yourself lucky.

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