Wednesday, March 13, 2013

VGR Daffy Duck (Megadrive)

Time to revisit Daffy Duck in Hollywood!

VGR: Daffy Duck in Hollywood
From Sega/Psionic Systems
Played on Master System
Also available on Game Gear & Master System

Type Sidescrolling
Year 1995

During the early 90s, animal characters became quite common in the entertainment industry, mascots were everywhere apparently and the whole fad went big.
While at the same time there was a big boom in the animation, thanks to the likes of Warner Bros' Animation's Silver Age and the renewed success of Disney films.
It was the perfect time for bringing Looney Tunes into video games obviously.
And the graphics were finally catching up enough to retranslate that universe in pixels.

While Sunsoft handled the games on Nintendo systems, Sega developed their own separate titles internally.

This one here's one of those very few games that featured Daffy Duck as the main hero!
Daffy Duck in Hollywood was released exclusively for Sega systems.
They say in the land of Hollywood, anything's possible. So... What did they come up with for this adventure?

On the Megadrive/Genesis, the story is told through comic book-styled cutscenes.
But despite that it's the same overall story for all versions of the game.

One time, Yosemite Sam called for help from Daffy Duck, who's apparently a Private Investigator in this game!
The mad Professor Duckbrain stole all of Sam's Gold Movie Awards!
He's keeping those "hostage" and is asking now for a million dollars!!
No way Sam's gonna pay all that. So instead he got the cheapest detective available to bring those back.

Apparently they've just been hidden around the movie lot.
So now Daffy has to explore several movie-themed sets to retrieve them all, and face the mad scientist!

Armed with his trusty bubble gun, Daffy will have to face all the hired goons and the giant Duckbrain-bots at the end of each set.
Our duck will have to explore 6 movies from an horror set to a western one, a jungle, Robin Hood's forest, a Duck Dodger science-fiction set and more!
The game isn't as linear as you'd expect a classic sidescroller platformer to be. You get 2 sets of 3 stages each at first and move from there onto other pair of new sets until the end of these 18 levels.

Lemme just said it right away, the game is only vaguely inspired by the short of the same name. (and Hollywood Daffy)

Graphically, the game does look nicely like a Looney Tunes cartoon.
It is simply gorgeous!
The sprites are HUGE! The characters well defined and recognizable, well animated, colorful.
I hate to say that for what it implies, but it looks like a SNES game.

Daffy has a lot of nice animations, it's always amusing to find more of these or just look at them. Be it standing still or almost falling from the corner of a platform.

The enemies are all taken from different cartoons over the years.
There's different types of bubbles to capture 'n' kick your foes off screen. Some multiple bubbles or stronger ones...
This version of Daffy Duck in Hollywood also offers something the others didn't... Boss fights!
But it's always the same identical boss the entire game. A giant Duckbrain robot. It requires a little strategy and timing, but once you get that down it shouldn't be much of a problem.

And then, comes the problems unique to this version of Daffy in Hollywood ...

Let's not be afraid of saying it, the game is a real clusterfuck.
Daffy's just way too big on screen.
Usually I'm all for bigger character sprites, big well drawn characters and all that.
But here it's a bit too much.
Also the game isn't exactly tailored for such an imposing character.
First off, most enemies are smaller than you. Which means you often need to crouch down to hit them.
Then taking into account your size, sometimes it will come down to a few seconds (or none!) to be able to get on a platform near one of these small fast moving dudes AND get them before you get hit.

You can only take three hits before getting killed.

But then you need to also take into consideration the animations.
Daffy's reaction time is a bit off. It's not that bad or visible but sometimes it will come down to this before dying. Imagine trying to avoid a skeleton that throws heads at you on the haunted level while avoiding a little guy that is circling around on a smaller platform beneath you where's there's no space to either crouch and avoid the skeleton but getting hit by the lil' dude once you crouch your giant Daffy....

Also did I talk about the main gimmick of this version yet?
The movie scenes are rigged full of dynamite you need to retrieve to move forward.
The levels are timed, you need to deactivate the dynamites before they go boom. By pressing start you can always keep an eye on how many of those are left. (why isn't it available directly on-screen in the game?!)

Overall, it's an okay game..but it could have been so much better...
Daffy's just way too big on screen.
The game requires precise actions. You have so little health and lives, but you can't just avoid getting hit if you take too much space to move freely.
On the other hand the game looks great. Well drawn and all.
I just love Daffy's "sniffing animation" when you move forward crouching. (pictured above!)

The game is mostly the same across all three systems. The same levels visually.
I already reviewed the Master System version which was handled by a different team and came out much better, which is the same as the Game Gear mostly.
I give it:
1.5 / 3 Bruces!

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