Monday, January 14, 2013

VGR Tiny Toons - Buster's Hidden Treasure

"We're Tiny, we're Toony,
We're all a little Looney,
And in this gamey,
We're invading your Megadrive!~"

Don't miss out my previous Tiny Toons-related reviews!

VGR: Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure
From Konami
Played on Megadrive
Also available on /

Type Sidescrolling
action platformer
Year 1993

Chronologically the third "proper" Tiny Toons game Konami developed, it was also actually the first to be offered to a much more impressive 16-bits system.

Developed exclusively for the Megadrive, it's sort of a spiritual sequel to the previous Nes iterations.
It is one of the finest examples of what the Megadrive could achieve in term on visuals and special effects.
This title beneficed from the boom Konami went through during the early 90s.
The game also shared various assets with its brother-title Rocket Knight Adventures, both developed at the same time by the same team.Thus sharing various sounds and little graphics, and generally the same art style.

What is "Buster's Hidden Treasure" exactly?

The story follows Buster Bunny - the main character from Tiny Toon Adventures.
One day as Buster was cleaning the halls around Acme Looniversity, he found a map to some hidden treasure. (thus the title - ha!)

Suddenly, Montana Max jumped on the scene, made a run for the map (unsuccessfully) and instead went ahead and kidnapped Babs Bunny to force Buster to help on the treasure hunt.

Now Buster has no choice but to reluctantly go after the treasure to rescue Babs.
And to help him out, Max has launched several Roderick Rats (I'm pretty sure he was a standalone unique character on the cartoon, but...) and Dr. Gene Splicer against Buster.
Why, isn't Buster trying to find the treasure already to save Babs?
I got no idea.
Gene Splicer brainwashed several friends of Buster, now Plucky Duck, Hamton, Dizzy Devil, Calamity Coyote and others are also against Buster!
But at least Buster Bunny still has some buddies around that will help him out on his quest.

Yeah, so Babs is once again kidnapped.
The story might sound a bit cliché, but it's more of a pretext for a little trip around several random places while confronting other characters from the show.

The game is actually a fairly traditional typical platformer.
The actually plays and feels like a solid mix between Sonic and Mario.
You can run around, Buster actually gains some momentum and his velocity can even rival Sonic's at top speed. Buster can also slide to either take very narrow paths or defeat several enemies in one strike.
The idea is to jump around platforms 'n' all, jumping on enemies to defeat them, etc.
Buster can collect the bazillion carrots floating around Acmé Acres.
You got three "hearts" to take your damages, you can increase those by collecting bells around as long as you don't die which resets those to 3.
The levels are actually not really linear, to reach the ending you must find Gogo Dodo who will help Buster travel to the next level.
He's never really at the far right end of the level, and there's even often more than one Gogo Dodo around.

The game has a World Map like in a Super Mario game.
There's a bunch of levels, over nine worlds with sometimes more than 5 levels between each boss or less. Sometimes you will even revisit a previous area since the game's not that linear.
It depends on the path you will take on the map.
You can find secret exits in some levels, which will result in shortcuts on the map, alternate paths, etc.

Speaking of the bosses, there's a lot of them.
Those are Buster's friends brainwashed. It usually revolves around getting and avoiding a gimmick depending on the situation/character while attacking directly Gene Splicer and not the buddies.
Honestly while it's nice to see all those characters, I always found it a shame it was them. Which prevents them from being playable like on the Nes title.
The bosses are also vvvverry eeeeaasyyy!
But very easy.

Every 50 carrots will grant Buster an helper.
You get "strickers" to help you around, one of Buster's other friends that you can call to clean the screen from time to time. Like the lil' Roadrunner Little Beeper that will across and get rid of all enemies on sight.

You can also find some hidden stages which will get you to Wackyland.
Those consist of collecting lives, items, etc. while avoiding Gogo Dodo (the exit).

What's left to say?

The game looks great!
It's such a bright and colorful game!

The graphics and sounds are some of the best the 16-bit era has to offer!

The game might look a bit easy at first but it gets gradually harder later on. Specially some little segments that might get on your nerves.
Also the last three levels are a real pain in the...! Losing there or to one of the final bosses will get you back a few levels back(!).

The game uses of passwords - thankfully.

The music is great!
The main theme is back and gets used various times in some levels, which might be annoying if you don't love it as much as I do.
The rest of the soundtrack is exceptionally good though. Rockin', dare I even say!

Overall, a stunning game, very fun and long enough.
Another fine example of the great platformers the 90s had. 

Even though the gameplay's based on speed, it's a much more precise challenge. 
Which seems to conflict a bit with the level design in my eyes, which asks for precision and tight control. I wonder why...? (didn't they base the levels on the gameplay during the development?) 

The game unofficially looks like a remake/prequel of the NES titles.
I mean, all the themes are revisited, the levels seem like remade levels from the original Nes game, you got the forest, the underground caves, the haunted ship, the lava caves, the snowy mountain... or is that just because it's the archetypal platformer level selection? Ha!

The overworld map seems like a nice addition, it was actually quite rare to have those on the Megadrive, which was home to more arcade-y type of games. Something you usually find in longer SNES games usually.

It's a must have/try to any fans of the system, the series and the genre!
I give it:
2.5 / 3 Bruces!

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