Tuesday, 27 October 2015

SNES Review 101: Tiny Toons Wacky Sports

It’s not so long ago that I reviewed the SNES platformer Buster Busts loose a platformer based on the cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures made by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. So I will try not to spend to long going on about this being a licensed game and where the license came from as I am reviewing another Tiny Toons related game.  Over here (and in the rest of Europe) the game I am reviewing was called Tiny Toon Adventures: Wild & Wacky Sports in the American markets it was called Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge and in Japan it was known as Tiny Toon Adventures: Dotabata Daiundoukai. It was released in 1994 for the Super NES and was once again both developed and published by Konami.

So this is a license but once again it’s a license being made by Konami who we must remember back in the SNES days could more or less do no wrong they were one of the prize producers for the machine making hit after hit. Also in case you haven’t guessed by the Wacky sports name this game is basically a quirky game featuring lots of little sort of ‘’sports’’ based events and as most people will know Konami were responsible for one of the most well-known multi sports games of all time Track & Field( or Hyper Olympics as it was known in Japan).

For those not familiar with Track and field it had very simple gameplay, based on quick repeating button presses, but what it really managed to do was to open the flood gates and set the basics down in stone for a whole bunch of games that would follow it, it was essentially the start of the multi sports button bashing sub-genre. It laid down all of the basic ideas that would go on to be seen in this type of game. The NES version of Track and Field was very well-received, and also sold well. Surprisingly Konami did not make a proper direct SNES follow up instead they would wait until the N64 which would get International Track & Field 2000 (as well as a winter Olympics based game which worked in much the same way).

Now personally I see this as a kind of crazy off shot of the Track and Field series, yes it can be a bit silly and a bit kiddy but it is a very fun party type game that is great fun when played with a second player but it’s also worth noting that it's one of the few SNES games to support the SNES Multitap , and if you have one of these and enough pads then four of  you can play against each other at the same time.

So to start with if you’re playing on your own you choose a Tiny Toon from Buster, Babs, Plucky, or Dizzy and then you go through a bunch of wacky events and compete for the gold. It's kind of like Track and Field but with Tiny Toon characters and less obvious sporting events. There is a big variety in the events and there all wacky. There are around twelve events, I won’t list all of them for you, but here is a quick sample to show you the kind of things you will be doing, there is weightlifting, the chicken dash, bungee jumping and ice cream throwing.

The way to win is basically to score the most points, if you’re playing on your own then the computer will take control of the other tiny toons. Hampton the pig will tell you the rules of each event before they start. After the event the points gets calculated and you find out who has won that event and who has come second and so on. Once you have completed all of the events for your current game the overall winners are announced and you will get to see who has won the Bronze, Silver and Gold medal.

The main drawback with this game is that once you get the hang of most events well it really is not too hard to beat the computer, the game soon becomes boring as a one player game however grab a  friend or hopefully three and this just see’s the fun ramp up.

Unusually for a game of this type there is actually a story. Montana Max who if you haven’t seen the show can basically be described as a super-rich brat, think richy rich but a wanker, well for some reason probably the fact he is bored has decided to hold a sports contest with weird events. As a prize Max has offered a Million to the winner and each of the 4 competitors has their eyes on the money because they each have an individual dream that they need it for, if you want to find out if there dream comes true or not then you will need to pick that person and finish the game.

Both the sound effects and music fit the game well, there are cartoon boing noises when someone messes up for example. The music is nothing you are really going to listen to outside of the game but it does fit its purpose well, for example the music during the races has the right kind of beat to it to get you in the mood to work like mad to try to win. The sounds are clear and feel like they were taken directly from the cartoon, the theme tune is also used even though it is without lyrics obviously. The graphics in this game are nice and bright, they are pretty good for the SNES and look and feel a lot like those seen in Buster Busts Loose, these two games certainly can sit side by side as good companion pieces when you think about the fact there made by the same company, for the same machine and feature the same cast. The graphics and sounds together certainly help set the mood for this game and make it feel a lot like the show it is based on.

So I have gone through almost everything, what kind of a game this is, its story, the sound and graphics so that leaves the one most important thing and that’s how the game plays. In my opinion the controls are nice and easy, they are all explained to you prior to the events. The characters all play exactly the same which is no bad thing as it means no one is in any way at a disadvantage well not unless they have ended up with the last pad you have left in four player mode and it happens to be a awful 3rd party piece of tat (Let’s face it back in the SNES days this was a situation you would often find yourself in, popping round someone’s house for a game, being the last one there and having to nurse your way through a game or two with a crappy pad, and even if you did get one of the good pads you’d have to put up with the moans of the poor soul who didn’t)

The controls are good and responsive but like a lot of games of this type you better darn well have strong thumbs because during some of the events you will find yourself having to batter two buttons as fast as you possibly can in order to win, there is also the argument that if you get in to this with some real gusto then your probably not doing your pads buttons any big favours. That's if you want to win and get a very high score.

This is one of those games which I think it is a little hard to rate, after all you have to look at the game in two ways, you have to look at it as a single player game and a multiplayer. As a single player game it’s a fun little distraction but you will soon tire of it, and to this degree it is a little hard to seriously recommend it. If however you own a multi-tap and enough decent pads and regularly have friends around who enjoy playing 16bit games with you then this is an ace title to slap on in the middle of a gaming night, few rounds of bomberman, some Mario kart, followed by winner stays on street fighter and then chuck this on for a while before moving on to something like NBA Jam and it will be fun all round. I think I would give this game a 7 out of 10 but I only recommend it for purchase as a multiplayer title. So if you want this game how much are you looking at paying? Well the average price for a loose cart version of it tends to go for between £15 to £20 and there is very little saving to be made in going for an import copy, it’s not cheap and if you’re going to be playing it on your own its simply not worth it, but as a multiplayer game I think it’s worth it. What did I pay? Well my fiancé got it me along with Cool Spot, Asterix and ClayMates for the awesome price of £23, so I have to thank her for this one.

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