Puzzle & Action: Tant-R

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Puzzle & Action: Tant-R
Platform(s)Arcade, Mega Drive, Game Gear, Saturn, PlayStation 2
Mega Drive
  • JP: 1 April 1994
Game Gear
  • JP: 22 April 1994
  • JP: 24 May 1996
PlayStation 2 (Sega Ages 2500)
  • JP: 15 January 2004
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer
Arcade systemSega System C[1]
CPU1x Motorola 68000 @ 8.948862 MHz[1]
Sound1x YM3438 @ 7.670453

1x SN76496 @ 3.579545

1x UPD7759 @ 640KHz[1]
DisplayRaster, 320 x 224[1]

Puzzle & Action: Tant-R (also known as just Tant-R (タントアール, Tanto Āru)), is a puzzle video game developed and published by Sega in 1993 for the Sega System C in Japan. The first instalment in the Puzzle & Action trilogy, it is a spin-off of Bonanza Bros. The characters from Bonanza Bros, Robo and Mobo, are featured as protagonists,[2] functioning as detectives. A prison escapee is chased, and his henchmen interfere. A series of timed mini games must be completed to defeat the henchmen. The game features references to western culture.

The game was ported the Sega Mega Drive and Game Gear in 1994, to the Saturn as part of the Sega Ages Shukudai ga Tant R[a] compilation in 1996, and released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2007. An updated version was released for the PlayStation 2 as part of the Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 6 compilation in Japan in 2004 (re-released on the PlayStation Store in 2013), and the Sega Classics Collection, the only English localisation, in 2005. In 2002, a service allowing games to be downloaded to a mobile phone was launched. Reception was mixed: although the graphics and gameplay were praised, some reviewers criticised the mini-games themselves. Puzzle & Action: Tant-R was followed by two sequels: Puzzle & Action: Ichidant-R, featuring a medieval theme, in 1994, and Puzzle & Action: Treasure Hunt, featuring a treasure-hunting theme, in 1995.


In arcade mode, a character known as 'Boss' has escaped from prison. The Boss has enlisted the help of his henchmen. The detectives (dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.[3]) must chase the Boss and tackle the henchmen. When caught, the Boss and henchmen are arrested. The detectives are then interviewed and are seen on stage in a theatre.[4][5] In arcade mode, the Boss is chased over locations including a city (featuring landmarks of London and Paris), a desert, a casino, and a construction site.[6] In multiplayer, he is chased along a motorway, and the detectives are congratulated outside the Palace of Westminster afterwards.[7]


A mini-game. Using the hints at the bottom, the correct item must be found on a grid of shapes of different sizes and colours.

The game consists of four stages.[8] To complete a stage, the required number of games must be completed. A selection of four games is presented; the selection shifts quickly (like a roulette wheel[9]) and a button is pressed to play the selected game (in multiplayer, a random game is displayed).[10] There are twenty games,[11] categorised into five types: puzzle, counting, concentration, barrage, and picture searching (for example, one game requires a given pattern of fruit machine symbols to be located on a grid[12]).[13] Other objectives include selecting the correct option (or options) among incorrect ones, memorising and following a sequence, and pressing the button at the correct moment or at a quick enough pace.[14] Certain games' names are puns on pop culture names or terms.[15] Such references include Rock n Roll, Billy Joel, Stanley Kubrick, and Out Run's music track Magical Sound Shower.[16] Each game has a time limit, and if time runs out or a mistake is made, a life is lost. The player begins with three lives. Occasionally, a game will become a "Lucky!" icon. Selecting this grants a piece of a heart and begins a random game. Collecting all three pieces grants an extra life.[17]

The mini games increase in difficulty as the game progresses. At the end of the first three stages, the Boss escapes on a hot air balloon, and the detectives give chase in aeroplanes. In this bonus round, balloons must be popped, and missiles must be avoided (hitting one temporarily paralyses the player[18]). If all the balloons are popped, an extra life is given.[19] At the end of the fourth stage, the criminal must be apprehended in a final challenge. In the Mega Drive version, this involves locating his hideout on a map.[20] In the Game Gear version, it is a car chase, and other cars must be manoeuvred around.[21]

The Mega Drive version includes a 'free' mode, in which the mini-games can be practised,[22][23] and a Competition mode. Up to four players are supported using the Multiplayer adaptor.[24] Certain games are only playable in these modes, such as the one in which the correct biscuits (cookies) must be collected.[25] The Game Gear version features a Battle mode, in which two players compete by playing games against each other using the Gear-to-Gear cable to link two units,[26] but only features twelve games.[27] The PlayStation 2 version adds games from the sequel, Ichidant-R, for a total of forty.[28]

Development and release[edit]

Puzzle & Action: Tant-R was released on the Mega Drive on 1 April 1994,[29] the Game Gear on 22 April 1994,[30] and the Saturn as part of the Shukudai ga Tant R compilation on 24 May 1996.[31] The title comes from Japanese tanto aru.[b][15] In March 2007, Puzzle & Action: Tant-R was released on the Virtual Console in Japan.[32] The Sega Ages 2500 compilation, Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Brothers[c] was released on 15 January 2014 (although originally scheduled for release in December 2003[33]),[34] and re-released on the PlayStation Store for the PlayStation 3 in Japan on 17 July 2013.[28][2][35]

Mobile download service[edit]

In 2002, WOW Entertainment developed and released a Java app in Japan for J-Phone mobile phones, enabling the download of games from the series.[36][37][38] The service began on 18 September 2002, and games could be purchased on a pay-as-you-go or monthly basis.[39]


Review score
Beep! MegaDrive7/10 (Game Gear)[40]

Puzzle & Action: Tant-R received mixed reviews.

Reviewing the Sega Classics Collection version, Eurogamer described the game as "amusingly weird".[41] Sci-fi Online said it is the best game in the Sega Classics Collection, commended the addictiveness of multiplayer, and commented that the compilation is "almost worth buying for Tant R alone".[42] PSX Extreme criticised the game's repetitiveness.[43] VideoGamer.com described the game as "a collection of pretty poor mini-games".[44] The Japanese Sega Saturn Magazine looked at the game in the Shukudai ga Tant R compilation,[45] and in another article, described Puzzle & Action: Tant-R as a "Puzzle Game Boom".[46] Beep! MegaDrive reviewed the Game Gear version: the four reviewers gave high marks.[40] IGN's Anoop Gantayat said the original Tant-R has "wacky 2D artwork", and that the Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Bros re-release mimics it.[47] He also said the game is "a good amount of fun".[47]

GamesTM listed Tant-R as a game they would like to see localised and released on modern western systems.[48]


  1. ^ a b c d "System 16 – Sega System C-2 Hardware (Sega)". System 16. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b "ミニゲーム集の先駆け「タントアール」に多数のコンテンツを追加した「イチニのタントアールとボナンザブラザーズ。」PlayStation2アーカイブスにて配信開始" [Minigame compilation pioneer Tant-R with added contents Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Brothers released on PlayStation 2 Archives]. Gamer (in Japanese). 17 July 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  3. ^ "タントアール" [Tant-R]. Gemanizm (in Japanese). 5 October 2002. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  4. ^ Mega Drive manual, p. 9.
  5. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 62.
  6. ^ Strategy Guide, pp. 12–14,19,57.
  7. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 63.
  8. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 5.
  9. ^ Sega Classics Collection manual, p. 20.
  10. ^ Strategy Guide, pp. 12,16.
  11. ^ "タントアール" [Tant-R]. Be-Mega Hot Menu. Beep! MegaDrive (in Japanese). Tokyo: SoftBank. May 1994. pp. 94, 95.
  12. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 28.
  13. ^ Strategy Guide, pp. 6,7.
  14. ^ Strategy Guide, pp. 20-59.
  15. ^ a b Kalata, Kurt (24 February 2013). "Bonanza Bros". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  16. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 18.
  17. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 12.
  18. ^ Sega Classics Collection manual, p. 21.
  19. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 60.
  20. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 61.
  21. ^ Game Gear manual, p. 28.
  22. ^ メガドライブ大全 増補改訂版 Mega Doraibu Taizen Zouhokaiteiban [Mega Drive Encyclopaedia enlarged and revised edition] (in Japanese). Tokyo. 2015. p. 226. ISBN 978-4-7783-1442-2.
  23. ^ Mega Drive manual, p. 11.
  24. ^ Mega Doraibu Fan [Mega Drive Fan]. メガドライブFAN (in Japanese). Vol. 50. Tokyo: Tokumashoten Intermedia. April 1994. p. 44.
  25. ^ Strategy Guide, p. 57.
  26. ^ Game Gear manual, pp. 6,13,14.
  27. ^ "タントアール" [Tant-R]. Beep! GameGear Special. Beep! MegaDrive (in Japanese). Tokyo: SoftBank. May 1994. p. 104.
  28. ^ a b "イチニのタントアールとボナンザブラザーズ。』PS2アーカイブスで本日配信開始!" [Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Brothers begins distribution today at PS2 Archives!]. Famitsu (in Japanese). 17 July 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  29. ^ "セガハード大百科 メガドライブ対応ソフトウェア(セガ発売)" [Sega Hardware Encyclopaedia Mega Drive Software (Sega releases)]. Sega (in Japanese). Sega. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  30. ^ "セガハード大百科 ゲームギア対応ソフトウェア(セガ発売)" [Sega Hardware Encyclopaedia Game Gear Software (Sega Releases)]. Sega (in Japanese). Sega. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  31. ^ "セガハード大百科 セガサターン対応ソフトウェア(セガ発売)" [Sega Hardware Encyclopaedia Sega Saturn Software (Sega releases)]. Sega (in Japanese). Sega. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  32. ^ "Puzzle games on this week's Virtual Console line up in Japan". Siliconera. Siliconera. 6 March 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  33. ^ "『タントアール』と『ボナンザブラザーズ』が帰ってきた! 『セガエイジス2500シリーズ イチニのタントアールとボナンザブラザーズ。』" ["Tant-R" and "Bonanza Brothers" have returned! "Sega Ages 2500 series Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Brothers."]. Famitsu (in Japanese). 18 September 2003. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  34. ^ "SEGA AGES 2500シリーズ Vol.6 イチニのタントアールとボナンザブラザーズ" [Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.6 Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Brothers]. Sega (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  35. ^ "イチニのタントアールとボナンザブラザーズ。" [Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Brothers.]. Sega (in Japanese). 2013. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  36. ^ "セガの携帯コンテンツにサクラ&ミニゲーム集" [Sakura & mini game collections to Sega's mobile phone contents]. ITmedia (in Japanese). 18 September 2002. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  37. ^ "これで全24作品に!J-PHONEミニゲームサイト「★タントアール」に新ゲーム追加" [All 24 works! New mini games are added to J-PHONE mini game site "Tant-R"]. Dengeki Online (in Japanese). 12 November 2002. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  38. ^ "J-フォンのJavaアプリ向け「タントアール」のミニゲームサイト" ["Tant-R"'s mini game site for J-PHONE's Java app]. ケータイ Watch (in Japanese). 18 September 2002. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  39. ^ "★タントアール" [Tant-R]. Sega (in Japanese). Sega. 2002. Archived from the original on 12 December 2002. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  40. ^ a b "タントアール" [Tant-R]. Be Mega Dog Race. Beep! MegaDrive (in Japanese). Tokyo: SoftBank. May 1994. p. 18.
  41. ^ Swann, Graham (7 February 2006). "SEGA Classics Collection Some old rope if you're particularly desperate". Eurogamer. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  42. ^ Smithson, Nick. "Sega Classics Collection". Sci-fi Online. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  43. ^ "Sega Classics Collection". PSX Extreme. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  44. ^ Orry, Tom (14 February 2006). "Sega Classics Collection Review". VideoGamer. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  45. ^ "SEGA AGES 宿題がタントアール" [Sega Ages Shukudai ga Tant R] (PDF). Sega Saturn Magazine (in Japanese). No. 22. Tokyo: SoftBank. May 1996. p. 231. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  46. ^ "*名作クイズ&パズルが合体!*" [Masterpiece Quiz & Puzzle Combination!] (PDF). Sega Saturn Magazine (in Japanese). No. 23. Tokyo: SoftBank. 14 June 1996. pp. 180, 181. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  47. ^ a b Anoop Gantayat (20 July 2004). "Sega Ages: Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Bros". IGN. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  48. ^ GamesTM (2012). "Please Release Me 50 import games begging to be localised". Retro Volume 5. Bournemouth: Imagine Publishing. pp. 85, 92. ISBN 978-1-908-95547-0.


  • タントアール必勝攻略法 メガドライブ完璧攻略シリーズ Tantoāru Hisshou Kouryaku Hou Mega Doraibu Kanpeki Kouryaku Shirīzu [Tant-R certain victory strategy guide Mega Drive complete strategy guide series] (in Japanese). Tokyo: Futabasha. 25 April 1994. ISBN 978-4-5752-8316-7.
  • Sega (1994). Puzzle & Action: タントアール取扱説明書 Tantoāru Toriatsukaisetsumeisho [Puzzle & Action: Tant-R Instruction Manual] (in Japanese) (Mega Drive ed.). Sega.
  • Sega (1994). タントアール取扱説明書 Tantoāru Toriatsukaisetsumeisho [Tant-R Instruction Manual] (in Japanese) (Game Gear ed.). Sega.
  • Sega (2005). "Tant R & Bonanza Bros.". Sega Classics Collection manual (UK ed.). Sega.


  1. ^ Shukudai ga Tant R (宿題がタントアール, Shukudai ga Tanto Āru)
  2. ^ tanto aru (たんとある, "there are many")
  3. ^ Ichini no Tant-R to Bonanza Brothers (イチニのタントアールとボナンザブラザーズ, Ichini no Tanto Āru to Bonanza Burazāzu)

External links[edit]