Out of all the licenses Konami ever had, Tiny Toon Adventures is one of their best ones. Konami games on NES, Genesis, and Game Boy all had solid efforts put into them. On SNES, it was no different. Buster Busts Loose is an excellent game. The last of the 16-bit toonsters came about at the very end of 1994 with Wacky Sports Challenge. It’s not exactly a complete Track and Field type game, but expect to tire your thumbs and index fingers out.
So what exactly is Wacky Sports Challenge? It is a competition game with various events set all around Acme Acres. You start off on the easy side and as you advance through the difficulty, it gets harder and harder. To advance, you need to qualify with a certain number of points. Depending on the event, you will need a lot or just a little bit. Before beginning one, you can look at the controls to see how they perform. If you perform well, you advance. If you fail, you use one of three continues. However, as you get to the harder difficulties, the points you will need will increase to where you need absolute perfection. You do get a password that is short and sweet after beating one of the difficulties.
Most Tiny Toon games had mundane plots, and Wacky Sports Challenge is no different. Montana Max is offering a million dollars to anyone that can compete in his games. Four of the toonsters are going to show their worth in an effort to win the prize. Unlike Acme All-Stars on the Genesis, you only have four players to choose from. They are Buster and Babs Bunny, Plucky Duck, and Dizzy Devil. Wacky Sport Challenge can utilize the Multitap, so no one is left behind as others play. There isn’t any strengths or weaknesses to them. Just pick your favorite and get on with the events.
As I said, Wacky Sports Challenge isn’t exactly a Track and Field type game, but a number of the events are button mashers. Games like weightlifting and pole vaulting require quick presses of the required buttons and to hit in an area for perfection. It does take a little bit getting used to, but you’ll understand very quickly. Then there are other events such as ice cream throwing and skiing. These kind of events either have you playing like a normal game with a fixed set of buttons, or they go with the control scheme you have selected. Overall, Konani did a great job of making it seem fresh and having different requirements throughout each one.
Nailing down the show graphically was always one of Konami’s strengths. For the 16-bit era, Wacky Sports Challenge is not only one of the best looking Tiny Toon games overall, but it’s one of the SNES’s best looking games period. When you look at the characters at certain points of the game, it seems like you are looking at the show. That’s how strong it looked. The animations, emotions, mannerisms. That is what Tiny Toon Adventures is and they nailed it on their final effort.
Given the audio, it relies a lot on its music. The show’s theme song is represented well. For the events, they got it down right. I get the feeling that they made it feel like an huge event like the Olympics. It gets you pumped up and ready. There’s not much to say about the sound effects, but they come off clear and perfected. One thing I’m surprised about is they never tried doing voices. Not even the Genesis Tiny Toon games or Buster Busts Loose had any. It would have been a nice touch with some of the animations, but it doesn’t make or break the game.
Not much is given for the options. There are three different control schemes. One of these is used for the shoulder buttons, which is surprisingly good. Like most Konami games on the SNES, there is the audio option for stereo and mono sound. This feels like the ultimate send off from Konami for the Tiny Toon games. It gets everything right.
That being said, Wacky Sports Challenge does have its issues. This was one of the only generations where Konami did not put out a Track and Field game, something they wouldn’t do again until a couple of years later on PlayStation. I wonder if this was going to be something else before it got reskinned into a Tiny Toons game? That one is more of a pet peeve, but doesn’t hurt it overall. Unfortunately, they don’t have an option to play any of the events individually, requiring a cheat to even do that. Otherwise, you’re forced to play the events through the story.
My biggest complaint is the later difficulties. I’m pretty good at Wacky Sports Challenge, but some of its point requirements are very ridiculous when you get to the hard and very hard event sets. Konami was pushing the envelope on difficulty at times during the 16-bit era. This is more difficult than Buster’s Hidden Treasure on Genesis, and that one wasn’t exactly a cakewalk, either. This is a game that you can pick up and play, but despite the difficulty aspect in the later half, this is a fun game.
You’re going to get a few hours of enjoyment out of this when you go through the courses. Mileage will vary on your friends. Either way, Wacky Sports Challenge is one of the must haves for licensed SNES games. It’s more impressive graphically than Disney games. The audio is superb, and the game feels very fresh and unique amongst licensed games. As Buster and Babs said at the end of some episodes, Aloha! A great game for the system.
Four stars out of five
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