If you were a child of the early 90s, chances are likely you’ve heard of the Tiny Toons TV series. If not, here’s a glimpse of this classic from my childhood: Tiny Toons cartoon show.
This was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. Of course when it was announced a Super NES game was to released by Konami, a company known for producing quality games, I had to get it. I played Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose back in 1993, but how would it stack up in 2012?
Bunch of Loonies
There really isn’t a singular coherent story to Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose. At the beginning of a new stage, you’ll get a set-up skit as to why you’re going to be in the stage. There are 6 stages in all, ranging from the school the Tiny Toons attend to outer space! Throughout the game you play as Buster Bunny, the main character in the TV series.
Controls and Gameplay
The game’s controls are simple and well implemented. Using the L or R shoulder buttons makes Buster dash across the screen. Pressing Y or X makes Buster do a drop kick. B button is used to jump. Those are the basic moves.
Buster’s expanded arsenal includes:
- Sliding by pressing down on the control pad while dashing
- Executing a jump kick by pressing B when dashing
- Jumping while doing a drop kick allows for greater range
- Holding left or right on the control pad in conjunction with the Y or X button makes Buster drop kick farther
The controls are so simple, almost anyone could figure them out quickly. A definite plus in my book.
Gameplay is good overall. It’s enjoyable controlling Buster as he explores six inventive stages such as the Wild Wild West, a sky level, a haunted mansion, a football field, and even a Star Wars inspired stage!
It’s easy to tell the developers put a lot of thought into the stage design. I must say Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose has some of the best stages I have ever had the pleasure of playing in. Well done Konami!
If you were a fan of the show, you’ll appreciate the fact that this game includes almost every character that appeared on the television series. This game is like a Tiny Toon fanboy’s dream. This adds to the feeling like your playing the television show! However, even if you don’t know who any of these characters are, it doesn’t detract from the fun factor.
In between stages there are bonus rounds where you have the opportunity to garner extra lives. There are five different games. You spin a wheel to determine which one you will play. This is the only part of the game you play as someone other than Buster.
Bonus rounds include:
- Mystery Weight Challenge– You compare the weight of different characters. There are five rounds. The heaviest person in each round wins. For each round you win, you gain a 1-up. This one is entertaining.
- Plucky Duck’s Go-Go Bingo– Basically bingo with Tiny Toon characters as the spaces instead of numbers. With each bingo you get, you’ll receive a 1-up. This one is decent.
- Furrball’s Championship Squash– You control Furrball as he plays squash. If you hit 15 balls in a row, you earn a 1-up. If you hit Little Beeper as he runs past, you earn a 1-up. My favorite bonus game!
- Find your Friends!– You play as Babs Bunny. Your in a maze and have to find various friends who are locked up! There is a time limit and Elmyra and Arnold to contend with! My second favorite game, and I think the easiest to get 1-ups in.
- Hungry Boy Hampton– This game lets you control Hampton. You have to move the tiles on the floor so that the path becomes accessible for Hampton to walk on. The goal is to collect as many apples as you can. When Hampton touches an apple, he gains a 1-up. I don’t like this one very much. I still don’t understand how to move the tiles properly to keep Hampton from falling down.
Besides the bonus rounds, you can collect 1-ups in the stages themselves. Some of the stages have a little Buster doll in them. If you collect it, you gain a 1-up. There are also stars you can collect. They are scattered throughout the stages and when you defeat a enemy. Collect one hundred of these bad boys and you’ll receive an extra life!
Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose is not perfect. There are certain sections in the game that will frustrate you. In specific parts, the game punishes you for not being perfect. For example, in stage two during the moving train segment, there is a sequence where you must dash and jump from cliff to cliff. The slightest mistake on your part will result in death. It doesn’t help when the left side of the screen is self-scrolling. You can easily get “left behind” and lose a life as a result.
The same thing occurs a little later on when you jump off the unlinked cars of the train onto a canyon. I often get “left behind” here resulting in starting back at the beginning of the train. Another example of this is the sky level stage during the escape sequence. If you’re not exactly perfect in your execution, death results (which I have done many a time).
Another flaw in the game is that it’s extremely short. A good gamer could polish this off in a weekend on normal difficulty, perhaps three or four days on challenge, the highest difficulty.
Perhaps disproportionate level lengths may explain one reason why the game feels so short. The Wild Wild West stage is the longest stage in the game and feels like forever to complete. It’ll take you anywhere from 8-15 minutes depending on your skill. Compare that to stage 4, the football game. To complete stage 4, all you have to do is run the length of a football field. Not saying it’s easy, but it is possible to beat this stage in under a minute!
Though short, it’s important to collect as many lives as you can. This is a battle of attrition. Not many people will be able to beat the game using one life, especially on the challenge difficulty. You’ll need all the lives you can collect as insurance against the unexpected. I once gathered 15 extra lives and still didn’t beat the game! As I mentioned earlier, there are irritating sections that will suck up your lives pretty quickly if not careful.
There are three difficulty levels: Children, Normal, Challenge. Each one has a slightly different ending. The higher the difficulty, the more layers of the ending you get to see. You must beat the game at the highest level to see the uncut ending.
The children’s skill level starts you off with three hearts (three hits) before you lose a life and unlimited continues.
The normal skill level also starts you off with three hearts (three hits) before you perish, but only five continues.
The challenge skill set only starts you off with one heart (one hit) before you die and 3 continues!
Buster can find crystal carrots in each stage that will increase his maximum life hearts by one. In the children’s and normal difficulty, the maximum heart level is five, but in the challenge the max is only three! You go back to the regular allotment in the next stage!
The game offers a few options like re-arranging the controls, sound test, and sound mode ( stereo or mono).
Finally, there is a password system, but it’s only for children’s mode!! That’s right, if you want to beat this game in normal or challenge, you must beat it in one sitting! Good thing it’s not very long!
Graphics and Sound
I love the graphics in Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! It almost looks like the cartoon show. Colors are used well. The characters are detailed and true to their cartoon counterparts. The sprites are pretty large and move fluidly. The backgrounds are highly detailed. One could get lost in space staring into the background scenery.
As for the tunes used here, they are very good. Three of them use remixed versions of the Tiny Toons theme, but they are well done and they didn’t seem repetitious to me. The music for the rest of the game is original, catchy, and some are even epic sounding.
Unfortunately, sound effects are subtle. You won’t hear any voices, yells, screams, etc. from any of the characters, but what you do get serves their function and I don’t have any complaints with them.
Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose is a good game. It could have been a great game if it wasn’t so short and frustrating in a few spots. Bottom line, if you’re a side-scrolling fan, play this game. In 2012 I bought this game complete for less than $15. Good game. Great price. Konami strikes again!
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