Monday, January 18, 2016

VGR Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor

It's been far too long since I last reviewed a Looney Tunes game. And since I just finished this one today, here's Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor!

VGR: Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor, also known as Looney Tunes: Cartoon Concerto 
From Amaze Entertainment/Eidos Interactive/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Played on Nintendo DS
Also available on /

Rhythm/Music game
Year 2008

There have been countless video games based around the Looney Tunes over the years. And the "Tunes" have tried it all: platformers, puzzle games, racing games, heck even shooters! You name it!

Despite far less games based around the propriety nowadays, we do still get to see the usual few odd Looney Tunes games each year. Usually on handheld systems.

Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor, alternatively known as Looney Tunes: Cartoon Concerto in Europe, is one of the last titles to date. 

The game was developed by Amaze Entertainment, a little studio who has made countless licensed games over the years on most major systems, for all sorts of publishers and studios. Mostly Star Wars, Spider-man and Harry Potter games, they even got to work on a few Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games too!

The game was released for the Nintendo DS, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Eidos Interactive.

As you can probably guess from the title, this one is a rhythm-music game! A genre that sounds really fitting for the license, and somehow it's only the first time they even tried one!

First things first, compared to past Looney Tunes games, this one has no real plot whatsoever! Well, there's a little story when you start, but it never really comes back...

It all begin with Taz zipping all over the place... destroying a bunch of classic Merrie Melodies shorts! Bugs Bunny tells the player it's now up to YOU to orchestrate these classics!

The idea is to conduct an orchestra to fill the music again!

Well. That's about it. Past this intro, it's just a music game with no real story aside from the simple summary of the plot of these various shorts.

The game features several classic Looney Tunes cartoon and characters from the likes of Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, The Road Runner, Marvin the Martian, Porky Pig and many more!

To the classical music of the likes Beethoven, Rossini and even Wagner! As you progress through the game you will unlock several more songs!

What about the game itself?

Gameplay is basically a clone of the famous Nintendo DS music game Elite Beat Agents.

Meaning, to conduct the music you must tap, touch and swipe these numbered dots on screen to the rhythm of the song playing. The objective being to perform as perfectly on cute as you can. Everytime you skip a beat it will drag the music meter down. If you reach the bottom, it's game over!

It's not that difficult to get a hold of, to be honest. Thankfully the game offers 4 different difficulty settings: apprentice/conductor/maestro/and a fourth unlockable difficulty and the hardest one looney!

Cartoon Conductor/Cartoon Concerto is a fairly basic game. It doesn't try to reinvent anything, really. It's a pretty simple proven formula!

It's nice to see a game all about score in this day and age. On easy it's really, really easy, the game forgives a lot even you're really not that accurate. Well, you will get a medium score, but will allow you to move on to the next stage anyway. On harder difficulties though it can get really quickly out of hands, so I don't recommend trying hard right away...

The best way to play this game it to simply focus on the screen below and not even try following the animations on the screen above. The game can escape your control really fast, so the only way to play it to just focus on the music notes and the music. Try matching the tempo, it really helps thinking this way immediately from the start.

The game is kind of similar to Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck, it's a pretty original idea to translate into an interactive take on the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. Only the downside it that the 3D graphics used here are not as polished as Duck Amuck's lovely 2D animations.

The game is fairly long, if you want to go through all the various songs - including remix tracks - as well as different difficulties.

It looks... ok. Nothing spectacular, even by DS-standards. The music is really the part that suffers the most due to the limited space available on DS cartridges. The songs... don't sound good, they're closer to simplified MIDI songs than their original counterpart.

Cartoon Concerto is not a great game by any stretch. I wouldn't say it's really bad either since it's based on a fairly sound and basic concept. But the execution feels lacking. It just seems to miss that Looney Tunes spark that would really tie it all neatly together.

On first look it sounded like the perfect idea to have kids listening to classic music. A musical game playing off the heritage from Warner Bros.' library of classic cartoon characters. I mean a lot of these animated shorts are known for having won awards for their musical work! Plus it would get kids to learn about these classic songs from Beethoven, Rossini, etc. The problem lies in the execution. You end up focused so much on the music notes on the screen below you're basically missing all the humor and animations on the screen above. And the DS is not exactly the best system in the sound department, even with earplugs it's not that great sound quality to begin with.

The game can get pretty difficult to keep up with. I can't imagine a lot of children having fun with this type of game. You end up hiding the notes on screen with your own hand or the stylus. It gets pretty hard when music sequences start almost simultaneously. It can be pretty confusing sometimes...

The real problem is that the game doesn't feel really polished. It's kind of bland when you get down to it. It has a feeling of quick rushed tie-in product, there's not much passion in this project it seems.

Overall, Cartoon Concerto, or Cartoon Conductor, is a pretty basic music game. It's kind of bland, generic and the license seems tacked on. 

It's not particularly great or unique. And it barely use the Looney Tunes when you get down to the gameplay, since you spend so little time looking at the animation on the screen above where all the cartoony action takes place...

I suppose if like me you're a big fan of these classic songs AND the classic Looney Tunes, then you can Try It Out. But otherwise, you can skip it!
I give it:
1.5 / 3 PaRappas!

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