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"Tail 'Gator" (Game Boy)

A rare but somewhat challenging platformer from Natsume. The gameplay and the game overall looks like something Nintendo would produce in ties with the Mario series.

"Dude Kris, why don't you talk about/review an obscure or a rare game? Just asking, thanks LOL."

(People still use "LOL"? THAT'S obscure.)

You're lookin' at a Natsume game not very common and/or known among fellow retro gamers. According to RarityGuide.com, this game, even brand new, shouldn't cost more than $30. However, looking at popular auction sites, a loose cartridge of this game goes for no less than $50. Why so expensive? I picked my copy up for a quiet $3 (I'm not kidding). Some folks say because it's a Natsume game so it has to be expensive; Some say it's uncommon and a bit rare so price has to be up. I don't know, but for those reading this outside the US: this is our art of Capitalism. Americans do whatever it takes to make a profit even if it means ripping people off. Well....

You can see the pun in the game's title: Tail 'Gator. Without references to a car touching another car from the back bumper, it's an alligator using its tail to attack and eliminate its enemies. The story is generic but interesting: the evil dragon named Basso Gila and his castle established a spot to ensure his ruling and to destroy the animal kingdom known as Moberry. The Moberry committee assigned Charly the Alligator to save the kingdom to have peace reign and to send Basso and his kingdom off to somewhere else.

As for the gameplay, you'll notice a slight delay in Charly's jumps and landing. Get used to it because those delays will come in handy and you'll be glad Charly jumps/falls in such way. The A button gets Charly to jump, and the B button uses Charly's infamous tail to attack. The START button pauses the game and the D-pad gets Charly to move in all directions. Oh, and Charly can attack while jumping which is awesome.

To help Charly along the way, the game has power-ups. You have the Hearts which Charly has 7 HP to help keep him alive; You have the Power power-up, in which if 7 are collected, Charly is able to shoot energy waves with its tail. Very, very helpful when knocking an enemy from a distance. Next is a Bomb item which kills all the enemies on screen—something you'll be glad you're able to get. Lastly, you have the Bonus power-up which gives you extra points. If you acquire them in a row without getting hit, you can accumulate as much as 10,000 points. That's perfect for those looking to break a high score.

For such a simple game, the goal is simple: Attack enemies, open up all the treasure chests to get a key and head over to the next room. There are five areas with four bosses at the end. Eliminate the bosses and you restore peace in the animal kingdom!

During the game, you'll notice treasure chests requiring 3 hits until it opens. Ladies and gentlemen, yes: you have to open ALL the chests to unveil the key that opens the next room. Mentioning that means you'd have to do some careful planning to set up the last chest in such a way where you wouldn't have to climb back up to go through the hassle of fighting off the enemies again. After attacking the enemies, they'll re-spawn again, making your quest that more difficult. The enemies themselves aren't too much of a pushover. The knight-looking enemies require the most hits—three hits. The others only take one or hits before they bite the dust. Some enemies like that fire-flower pirahna plants shoot in one direction, likely interfering in your path opening up all the chests in the room.

The bosses in the game are as follows: Area 1 - Frog, Area 2 - Fish, Area 3 - Beaver, Area 3 II - Bird and Area 5 - Basso Gila. Possibly the most difficult boss(es) I dealt with was the Beaver and the Bird. The Beaver especially because Charly can't jump out of the water and attack. However, if you avoid the bosses' projectiles/bullets and get the pattern down, it shouldn't be too bad.

To prove it, here's video of my gameplay fighting Bosso along with the ending credits. Enjoy!

For such a short game, I'm impressed with this. I don't know the back story as to why this game didn't break the million-selling mark, due to its generic gameplay, but I must say, it's a nice title. There are no sequels to this game but I would've loved to see one. (Any homebrew programmers/developers looking to make one? Contact me and I will check it out and review it!)

To some, it's too simple yet bland. Me personally, it's enough of a challenge that I could play it again. Perhaps a longer version of this game? If this game had a sequel, it most likely would be a longer game. Either that, or it would've been an updated color version, or a 16-bit version for the Game Boy Advance.

Nevertheless, it's a rare game that I'm actually a fan of. This game is fun, and I strongly recommend it!





  • Quite challenging for a simple platforming game.
  • One of the rare titles for the Game Boy.
  • Despite its difficulty, it's a short game.
  • Cute ending (see video clip above).
  • Would've been nice to see a sequel, or a modern-day remake.
100% (A+)
Fan Rating
Game Title Tail 'Gator
Description The peaceful kingdom of Moberry is under attack! A powerful dragon has teleported his castle and armies into an animal realm that never knew warfare. The creatures went to their greatest hero to save them - Charly, the highland alligator.

Charly bursts into action as he whips the evil invaders with his mighty tail. Help Charly strike a blow for freedom in this tail spinning adventure for the Game Boy!

• Gather power-ups for long range attacks.
• Password feature returns you to all the excitement.
Story ????
ISBN / Bar Code number ????
Video Format 1.33:1 (4:3) Full screen
Audio Format Mono (Stereo via Super Game Boy)
Language(s) English
Disk/Cartridge One (1)
Region(s) NTSC
Genre Action-Adventure (Platformer)
Rated K-A - Kids to Adults
Released January 24, 1992 (JP), June 1991 (US), 1991 (EU)
Video Specification Monochrome
Licensed by Nintendo
Developed by NATSUME
Company Vap / Natsume
Product / Item / Catalog Number ???? / DMG P TR
Copyright --
Other Formats ????
Quoted Reviews --
Other --

H. Ohta

Graphic Design
T. Nishiyama

Music Composer
I. Mizutani

Sound Effects
H. Iwatsuki

Sound Supervisor
I. Mizutani

Special Thanks To
A. Tanaka
N. Mizoguchi
R. Xie
Jim Yajima
Robert Morse
Mike Maubry
Kevin Sullivan

Presented by Natsume


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