Friday, September 12, 2014

VGR Looney Tunes (Gameboy)

One of the earliest handheld Looney Tunes game, the eponymous title for the Nintendo Game Boy nobody probably remembers!

VGR: Looney Tunes (Game Boy)
From Sunsoft/Sunsoft of America
Played on Game Boy
Also available on Game Boy Color

Type Sidescrolling platformer
Year 1992   

Back in the early 1990s, cartoon animal characters were huge in the entertainment industry, mascots were everywhere. It was during that same time that animation went through a revival of sorts, thanks to the likes of Warner Bros' Animation's Silver Age and the renewed success of Disney films.

It was the perfect time to bring the Looney Tunes back, and welcome them to the world of video games. What with the graphics finally catching up enough to retranslate cartoons in pixel art.

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

This time I would like to have a look back at a very under-appreciated early Looney Tunes game. The 1992 Sunsoft game "Looney Tunes" for the Game Boy.

This Looney Tunes GB has no proper "story" to speak of. Not even the bare minimum you usually see from the sort of sidescrollers. Nothing, nada, niet!

Instead you're simply taken all over the place from one stage to another. Until you reach Egypt, for some reason. I guess because it's a "land filled with treasures" or something!

There's really no story in this game.

You begin your adventure with Daffy Duck trying to get a treasure under the ocean. Then it jumps to another toon, and another after another. Getting treasure chests after treasure chests around several random places (kinda reminiscent of the old classic DuckTales game on the NES, minus pa lot explaining the various locations).

Looney Tunes is a pretty basic sidescroller platformer.

The game gives you the ability play as these different Tunes characters each stage.

Daffy as the introduction level offers you the more classic experience. His stage plays like a Mario-like platformer. Daffy can both jump or.throw frisbees at his enemies.

Stage 2 has you play as Tweety Bird where the goal is escape to the end while avoiding Sylvester. A verious tedious fast-paced action game.

Next up is Porky in a little difficult SHMUP-like game. You're in a plane and you have to avoid all these bombs in the sky and shoot these other random flying stuff.

Taz gets a mini-game-style bonus stage where you have to collect steaks in 60 seconds. Mindless fun.

After that, you control Speedy Gonzales in a very arcade-ysh game. The objective is to avoid these ghosts in a haunted castle full of traps and death pits.

The Roadrunner is a kind of "runner". Focused on getting away from Wile E. Coyote, much like the earlier Tweety stage only a lot simpler, more stream-lined and focused on horizontal scrolling.

And finally Bugs Bunny gets another classic platformer section like Daffy's earlier stage.

The gameplay changes from one stage to another, jumping over all these toons. You also get a ton of cameos from several classic Looney Tunes faces, mostly in the boss segments.

The game features some tedious gameplay mechanics, but at least it's really pretty super-easy.

It might seem pretty basic, since it's an 8-bit Game Boy title, but at least it looks detailed enough. The characters are all easily recognizable, but there's not much animations even for GB standards.

The real downside is that the Looney Tunes license seems really slightly tackled in the surface. Like it's only just slightly Looney Tunes-themed. My guess? This was probably another Sunsoft title originally, when they decided to use/acquired the Warner Bros. license late in production.

There's also a lot of fun boss battles that are easily the highlight through the game. And it all ends with a mini-boss rush where you are forced to face one more time all the previous bosses at some point, before discovering the real enemy... The final boss... The one and only.. Elmer Fudd?? That's... pretty random? You mean he was behind all these other enemies and this whole treasure hunt? Well, at least he kinda works as Bugs Bunny's archnemesis I suppose...

Overall, despite the appearances, it's a fairly solid and decent platformer. If a bit on the short and easy side. 

Each gameplay is well thought and executed. There's only about 8 levels, and they're pretty simple. But it's a well made game.

Looney Tunes is a game I used to play so much, all the time, when I was younger. I had so many fond memories of this game. While I expected it be much better than what it now turned out to be, it still is a fairly decent game, nostalgia-aside. 

If feels kinda shoddy here and there.

It's mostly aimed for children, and it shows. As such I can't say it's that great a game nor recommended. Give it a Try, if you're a fan of the characters or the genre.

The game was later re-released for Game Boy Color in 1999. The newly added color gave the game a new life, despite being basically the same title without any real change or update. There's a few new short mini-game segments added here and there, but they're pretty forgettable. On the other hand the Porky levels look specially nice in color.
I give it:
2 / 3 Invaders!

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