Review by ulillillia
A cartoon-themed classic with great music, but will get difficult
Back when Genesis games could be rented, I often rented this game. The primary reason was the music. After nearly a decade, I finally own the game and I still play it for the same reasons as I did when I first played - the music. The following highlights each aspect of the game by category (credits are weights - the more, the stronger the effect it has on the overall rating).
Game play (8/10; 5 credits):
Game play is fairly simple - press C to jump, and A to wipe out every enemy on screen (provided you've got at least one of the items in stock to do it), and B to slide (this is otherwise never really used). Left and right move the character, down is for ducking, and up makes the character look up (though the screen doesn't seem to scroll). When next to a wall, wall jumps are possible, allowing for greater height. Wall jumps can even be chained, even with only one wall present for an extreme amount of height (otherwise inaccessible areas becomes accessible thanks to this), though it's rather difficult to chain more than 2 wall jumps on a single wall at a time.
Like with pretty much any 2D platformer, the game starts easy enough, but it gets very difficult toward the end meaning that you should really stock up on lives, especially after about 2/3 of the way into the game as you'll need them. I found that even 20 lives was barely enough for the game's final levels. At least the bosses were easy though. Part of the problem comes from the tall spikes that become increasingly common toward the end - touch these and it's instant death rather than losing one heart (out of up to 5, though you start with 3). These spikes, however, don't cause instant death if Buster Bunny is flashing (as from taking damage very recently) or when invincible, so sometimes, it may be helpful to cross these dangerous parts by taking a hit by an enemy first though use this strategy with caution. Whenever a death occurs, it's back to the beginning of the level and you can't return to the overworld (as to reaccumulate lives) until that level is completed).
This game seems to be full of enemies. Everywhere you look, you're bound to find an enemy. Sometimes, there can be, within only 30 seconds, 15 enemies. Enemies are defeated by simply bopping them (that is, jumping on top of them). A useful feature is that enemy projectiles can often be bopped as well, such as the tomatoes the blue-gray tomato thrower throws, or the rings the giant frogs create. Using these projectiles can help give you a boost into areas not easily accessible, or even places where you normally can't reach. The enemies are quite cute though, at least, and they are well-animated.
There are 2 types of bonus levels available (that I'm aware of). These bonus levels are generally quite easy. One of which, with a lot of green springs around, seems to be too beneficial. I consistently reach the end (25 out of 25 times in a row), getting 3 extra lives from it and with so many carrots and special items in this bonus level, the score almost makes it 4 extra lives (but that's only if you clear the level without dying afterwards). Playing an easy level with this bonus stage makes accumulating much-needed lives easy. Good thing levels can be replayed as many times you wish. The other bonus level has a lot of ropes around that lead downward. Bonus levels require considerable effort to find and not all levels have them though.
There are is only a single bug that I'm aware of, occurring in the level where a rock constantly rises and a dozen bats are encountered above - the rock occasionally has spots that don't get drawn, making it possible to see the background behind. It's a very minor bug though and it doesn't affect game play in any way. There are occasional places where the frame rate drops below 60 fps, to 30 fps. This is especially common in that one beneficial bonus stage when near the bottom. There are other places in the normal levels where the frame rate starts to drop, but it's very brief and in only a very few areas. This is from too many objects being on the screen at once. The high number of carrots and enemies is the primary cause of this happening.
Graphics (9.5/10; 3 credits):
The adventure covers several themed environments, hinted at by the location on the game's overworld. From the plains and forest, to the cave, ocean, and mountains, there's plenty of variety for the themes. Even the backgrounds transition nicely. If you're just entering the forest, you'll see the background from the previous level with a lot of trees in the foreground. The next level has a dense forest type setting with rays of sunlight going through. Backgrounds are a bit too simple in terms of the complexity of the parallax scrolling (they are almost always 2-scale or 4-scale for everything (that is, X-scale means, for every X pixels the foreground moves, the background moves 1 pixel). At least they're very detailed and colorful. Mountains, the ocean, and clouds seem to be used too often, but at least there are some themes that don't have these always present.
Sound (10/10; 2 credits):
The music is easily among my favorites, since it's so cheerful and catchy sounding. One of the forest themes even has an "Old McDonald's Farm" feel to it. There are a few lesser-liked songs, but overall, this game's music is among the best overall in a game (several songs are well-liked in one game instead of an occasional one, if any at all). Right away, in just covering the first 2 themed environments, I like 5 out of the 6 songs that play, one of which I've listened to for an insanely high 132,500 times in one go (it's a short 4-second loop).
The sound effects are cartoony-sounding, very fitting to the game. They are very well done... except for 2. The splash from water and the sound effect that occurs whenever Buster Bunny takes damage are the only sound effects that could use some improvement.
Replay (7/10; 3 credits):
There isn't much replay value in this game. Still, with the decent story (though very limited in detail), and multiple routes available on the overworld to find, there's some replay value. How many exits can you find and can you clear every single level in the game? With the cheerful, catchy music, I tend to return to this game quite often.
Conclusion (109.5/130; 8.4/10):
Overall, I've been very impressed with this game. Except for the difficulty at the end that makes me need to have to repeatedly pause the game to identify the situation, then unpause, act accordingly, and quickly pause again to work around the human reaction time limitations just to get past the game's last few levels (replaying other levels to reaccumulate lives as needed). Even with this, I was down to just 5 lives from 20 thanks to the last 2 levels (before the final boss that is). At least the game makes accumulating extra lives quite easy. This game is quite fun to play for the first half of it, though it starts deteriorating - slowly at first but accelerating. If you like cartoons or the Tiny Toon television series, you'll enjoy this game. Buy or rent? I'd say rent first then, if you like it, buy.
Product Release: Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure (US, 12/31/93)
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