Taz-Mania (Genesis) review
"Good sidescrolling platformers weren't that hard to make back in time; take a friendly character, put him on a quest across the land, give him a few powers, add a couple of items here and there, put in some bosses... and there you go, you have your super platformer. Taz-Mania for the Genesis seems to have been made based on that model, and it is indeed a good game, although I'm not too sure whether or not Taz is a friendly character. "
Good sidescrolling platformers weren't that hard to make back in time; take a friendly character, put him on a quest across the land, give him a few powers, add a couple of items here and there, put in some bosses... and there you go, you have your super platformer. Taz-Mania for the Genesis seems to have been made based on that model, and it is indeed a good game, although I'm not too sure whether or not Taz is a friendly character.
The story is a bit cheap, Taz simply decides to traverse the entire land just to find a giant egg said to be huge and tasty. Call that a story if you want, but even if you don't, it's still the goal of the game. Taz's land is pretty big and contains various different locations, such as arid deserts, hostile jungles, the Arctic, factories, mines, caves... There are a couple of levels in each area, then a boss. If you liked the mine cart levels in DKC, then you'll probably like the ones in Taz-Mania too, as they're quite similar, you ride a cart on rails in a mine. The other levels consist of basic platforming galore; jump over pits, avoid enemies, pick up items... There isn't really anything original or unique in Taz-Mania, but the game sure is fun, unlike some other platformers I won't mention.
There's one thing you'll often be doing in Taz-Mania: jumping. The levels constantly require you to jump on platforms, jump here, jump there. Doesn't sound like a problem that way, but what if I tell you that the controls are horrible? You never know where you're jumping and have no control on the distance Taz jumps over. There are a bunch of levels where you need to reach the top of the level by jumping on platforms, and if you fall, you need to start back from the start, which is extremely long and frustrating. And you'll fall often, believe me, with the number of blind jumps this game contains. Taz also appears not to be able to do small heaps, only big heaps. If all you want is to jump on a tiny platform, Taz usually jumps in the pit instead. Way to go, Taz.
Another complaint with the controls comes from Taz's ability to spin, a very cool attack. Well, it would have been cool if we were able to stop it. The spin attack lets Taz turn into a small tornado and sweep away everything around him. Note how I say everything. Not only the enemies, but also important items such as health units. So you want to get rid of some enemies, but by accident, you get rid of health units and extra lives too. One word: frustrating. Also, since you can't really stop it and it's very hard to control, it makes you fall into pits a lot, just like with Taz's extraordinary jumping skills.
I'll stop complaining about the controls though, because the gameplay is great. The levels have nice layouts and the difficulty is quite challenging, even on easy mode. The coolest aspect is how you defeat the enemies in Taz-Mania, since this time, no jumping or throwing, you simply need to swallow them. You can't swallow them all though, as some will hurt you. You could use the spin to defeat them, but swallowing them is better as it gives you points, and eventually extra lives after a certain number of points. You'll have to watch out not to swallow bombs though, but swallowing pepper will let Taz breathe fire for a limited time. And of course, swallowing food will let you replenish your health meter.
Just as the gameplay, the game's visuals are pretty solid, with good backgrounds and a stylized art (just take a look at the dales on the walls in the jungle levels, they are extremely detailed). Taz's cartoony colorful world is brought to life nicely, although a few levels look a bit boring. The animation is great though, especially when Taz does the spin attack, and when you leave the game on, Taz starts doing funny faces. It's just too bad the music is pretty boring, it's more for ambiance than anything else. I could sleep on it, if it wasn't for the great sounds that come along with it.
In overall, Taz-Mania is a great cartoon sidescrolling platformer, with fun elements and a lengthy quest, although the controls are terrible. If you don't mind falling in the same pits 10 times in a row, then give Taz-Mania a try.
Community review by wishingtikal (September 01, 2003)
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