Like an episode of the show, this game is over much too quickly.
- Another Tiny Toons branded platformer from Konami
- Actually incorporates something original rather than ripping off Mario 3 or Sonic
- Centering around a "sprint" mechanic is challenging yet also quite creative
- Hefty amount of charm that follows the theme of the show
- Multiple difficulty modes
- Buster's only attack is woefully underwhelming
- Sprinting, despite having a meter, can be difficult to tell when it runs out
- Some of the platforming (especially the sprinting/wall running) can be merciless
- Extremely short
- Minigames between stages are a nice touch, but aren't particularly compelling and tend to be as long as the stages themselves
- Playing on "Children" actually omits levels from the game. I hate it when games do that.
|Buster Bunny: One suave mofo.|
The LongI've had relative success with the Tiny Toons games thus far. Tiny Toons Adventures was hard but still a fun platformer, and Buster's Hidden Treasure was an excellent game with plenty of secrets and a solid base. But now we are hitting the Super Nintendo, the powerhouse of the 16-bit era, and with it comes yet another Tiny Toons game. How does Buster Busts Loose! fare when compared to it's predecessors?
Well, it's ok. But as someone who has literally no nostalgia for the game, it can be a hard sell.
|I ain't afraid of no ghosts.|
The story is actually what makes the game interesting: it takes place on a literal movie set, where Montana Max is causing trouble and Buster has to jump between the various sets to take him out. Because of that, the game can send you all sorts of wacky places, like the wild west, a haunted house, and much more. It's a neat idea and allows for a frequent shift of scenery, which keeps things fresh.
Aside from that, this is far from a deep narrative, but come on...it's freaking Tiny Toons. If you went in expecting Shakespeare, you really need to get your head examined.
|Oh yeah, and you play football.|
So how does Buster Busts Loose! play? Well, Tiny Toons Adventures aped from Mario 3, and Buster's Hidden Treasure drew inspiration from Sonic, but Buster Busts Loose! actually kind of does it's own thing. Shocking, I know.The main mechanic in the game is the sprint meter. When sprinting, Buster has many more options than when he's just hopping around (because, you know, what kind of rabbit hops?!). His jump is extended, but more importantly he can run up the sides of walls. He can also leap back and forth between two walls, sprinting up the sides of cliffs with the greatest of ease. Tricky.
Sprinting can also double as an attack...sometimes. On Children sprinting always kills the enemy you run into. On the difficulty you should be playing the game at (read: anything but "Children"), he seems to do damage sort of randomly. I first thought it was only when he was at top speed (and when he's accelerating he's still susceptible to hits), but I swear I tested this and still took damage. It's this sort of dissonance that I'll discuss further...after this sweet screenshot!
|Nathan: Master of transitions.|
Anyway, you can pick up Gogo Dodo statues to extend your Dash time (as it is powered by a meter at the top of the screen) though I never figured out exactly how much it refills you. Many times I've messed up at the end of long sprinting runs because of a fraction of a second mistake, when I swore the last trophy I picked up made me run longer. Again, I might just suck at the game, but considering I did beat it (begrudgingly so) I'd like to say I grasped the basic mechanics at the very least. Well, as best as I could with it never really explaining itself.There's other minor issues too. Your attack is this weird jump/backflip that seems to kill enemies by going off near them, not actually kicking them. Jumping on enemies normally like every other game in existence hurts you, which makes me wonder why they put a normal jump. Just put the attack jump! Or, better yet, just have jumping kill enemies and then get rid of the "attack" button! It worked fine for all the previous Tiny Toons games (and Mario. And Sonic.). Having your only form of offense being a weird sprint that sometimes works and a funky kick backflip is just confusing.
|Fun fact: Buster has pants on the box art, but only a shirt in the game. I have no idea why that fact was "fun," but I did just notice it right now.|
Between levels you get to participate in a handful of minigames, and "get to participate" I mean "are forced to play." Most of these are simple, ranging from bingo to bouncing a ball against a wall in an attempt to keep a volley going. They are there to earn you some more extra lives, as there really isn't a way to earn them in levels, but the disconnect here is...weird. Especially since the minigames can go on longer than the actual levels did (at least the Wild West level...that one's short, even with the train segment). Minigames are...there, but they aren't particularly fun. I guess I should be thankful for more lives, regardless.
But the biggest issue is the game length. While all the Tiny Toons games I reviewed haven't been particularly long, Buster Busts Loose! is offensively short. On "Children" difficulty (which cuts out stages, which is annoying) you could probably burn through the whole game in 45 minutes, with most time spent in the minigames. On normal, maybe one to two hours, and this is in one sitting. There are only six stages total and each has around three to four areas, most of which are short. In terms of value proposition, Buster Busts Loose! kind of falls flat.
|Nice hair, Babs. What a hilarious Star Wars reference.|
Graphically, Buster Busts Loose! is cartoony and vibrant, and reaches the bar of this era of SNES platformers. My only gripe is it doesn't do anything particularly interesting; while it looks good, it lacks the visual punch that Buster's Hidden Treasure had. Still, it's a cute looking game and animates well, and the "film" aesthetic that overlays the whole thing is charming to boot.
The music earns credit for not using the Tiny Toons theme over and over during the first level, though it does variate on the theme. Most of the music is original and catchy and fits with the silliness onscreen. While not particularly memorable, it still works.
|Protip: Avoid the giant laser gun.|
Buster Busts Loose! was a hard game to review, if only because of its fanbase. I was surprised at the unreal amount of praise this game got from fellow reviewers, though I will admit most were mining their childhood nostalgia when doing so. As someone coming in fresh (and off a bunch of better Tiny Toons games), Buster Busts Loose! seemed more busted than busting, if you know what I'm saying. And if you do, please let me know, because I've read that sentence twice now and don't know what I was getting at.While the sprint mechanic is a clever new idea and I love the level variety, the lack of length and general cumbersomeness of the game really makes it hard for me to love it. I'd still recommend it to fans of the cartoon (and if you had fond memories of it), but for newcomers there's plenty of options on other systems that blow Buster's jams out of the water.
You know, the ones he is wearing on the box and never wearing in the game. Two out of five stars.
|Is that Tails I see up there? Oh...my mistake.|