Looney Tunes: Twouble! (Game Boy Color) review
"It's always nice when game developers try to do something just that little bit different with a licensed game. It shows that a bit of effort has been put into things, which is nice. The temptation to stick cartoon characters into simple platformers is obviously great, looking at the sheer quantity of such games to have popped their head round the gaming door in the last ten years. So it's always nice when game developers try to do something just that little bit different with a licensed game. Sh..."
It's always nice when game developers try to do something just that little bit different with a licensed game. It shows that a bit of effort has been put into things, which is nice. The temptation to stick cartoon characters into simple platformers is obviously great, looking at the sheer quantity of such games to have popped their head round the gaming door in the last ten years. So it's always nice when game developers try to do something just that little bit different with a licensed game. Sheep, Dog & Wolf on the Playstation is an example of just how right trying something different can be. Sylvester & Tweety on the Game Boy Color, however, isn't.
It isn't a platformer, which is a start, it must be said. And you control Sylvester during his attempts to kill annoying ball of yellow fluff Tweety, which makes a pleasant change. The problem is, though, that it just doesn't... really... work, which is a great pity, as attempts at something new using Loony Tunes characters are too few and too far between to waste like this. The game features the standard Sylvester & Tweety plot - Sylv is out to eat Tweety (which is a good thing, as nobody really likes the speech-impaired, arrogant little bastard anyway), and, well, that's it. Still, anyone who remembers watching the cartoons as a child and desperately cheering Sylv on will find this sparse plot more than enough to get you gunning for the lil' yellow git.
The plot may be standard fare, but the gameplay makes Sylvester & Tweety unique, at least amongst it's GBC peers. It's a mix of sections that feature faux-3D adventuring in the vein of NES classic Solstice, or going further back in time the unforgettable Batman on the Spectrum, and sections that have you holding down right on the D-pad until you get back to the adventure bits. Sadly you start the game on one of these rightward sections - they truly are awful, and if it weren't for the fact that each one takes less than thirty seconds (even towards the end of the game!), I'd imagine that lots of people would never have even found the inclination to progress as far as the first adventure segment. You literally just hold down right, as Sylv charges through the level pursuing Tweety Pie. There are very occasionally obstacles that need to be jumped, but you have so much health that to be honest you may as well not bother. On the plus side the game moves at an eye-bruising pace during these sections, which, had you needed to actually do something could have resulted in some fast and frantic action, but as it is these parts of the game are an absolute waste of cartridge space, and really do nothing but interrupt the flow of the adventuring.
Thankfully the adventuring is respectable enough, if a little simplistic. It sees Sylv exploring the various locations (including Granny's Tardis-like house, cavernous basement and park-like garden) hunting down Tweety. You can carry up to two items at a time, and many items can be combined to solve the (admittedly simplistic) puzzles - to cite an early example, combining two cushions made a cushion big enough to let you climb over a bookcase that, in defiance of all logic and Feng Shui, forms a wall right down the centre of the room. These sections also features enemies such as Marc Anthony (the Loony Tunes dog), Taz and Granny (who has a fairly lethal broom attack), adding to the Loony Tunes flavour. While it may not tax your brain too much, this is a pleasantly diverting experience, and one that, compared to the side-scrolling portions of the game appears to be gameplaying genius! However, there are a few nagging flaws that would have been forgivable if the player hadn't been placed in such a bad mood by the total inadequacy of the left-to-right moments of the game. For starters, despite the game moving very fast in the chase scenes, here Sylv moves as if he's wading through a sea of treacle whilst wearing concrete boots. It's slow, folks. While you get used to this after a few screens, it still proves irksome. The game's meandering pace aside, though, there is an even bigger flaw bubbling just beneath the surface - these sections can get painfully repetitive. You'll find many puzzles being repeated - not just to the extent that they crop up a few levels later, but to the extent that you'll come across exactly the same puzzle within a few screens of beating it the last time. It just smacks of lazy design, and only serves to reduce the challenge of what is essentially a pretty easy game even further. Still, on the whole the adventure part of the game is good clean fun, and an enjoyable way to spend an hour or two.
The presentation in this game is similarly divided. While all the sounds are ear-shatteringly awful (imagine Sylvester singing soprano whilst scratching his nails down a blackboard and you're nearly halfway there), the graphics are split between being very respectable and downright awful. Perversely, though, in one of those ironies that life likes to throw at us, the side-scrolling sections are by far the better looking. It's likely that any screenshots you'll have seen in magazines will be exclusively from the chase sequences - and with good reason. The colours are bright and vibrant, the backgrounds nice and detailed, the sprites big and chunky. It all gets a bit blurred when seen in motion, but still as one of the first wave of GBC titles, this really demonstrated what Ninty's latest baby was capable of. On the other hand, the adventure sections look terrible - the colours are so washed out that you only have the developers' word that this was even designed for the Game Boy Color. In the basement everything looks light blue. In the garden everything looks a faded green. In the factory, everything looks grey and drab. It looks so close to monochrome that it led me to develop a theory - that this game was intended as a straight adventure game for the original Game Boy, and the side-scrolling sections were thrown in at the last minute when the GBC was unveiled. It sounds a little far-fetched, but that really is the impression given by this game.
You'd be hard pressed to find a game with such a huge Jeckyll and Hyde complex as this game - whilst on their own the adventure sections would have gained a reasonably respectable score, and on their own the side-scrolling levels would have been lucky to get a score at all, together this game is a very uneasy experience. It tries to be something different, and halfway pulls it off, and deserves a little credit for that, but ultimately the developers' desire to show off what they could do with the Game Boy Color dragged down what could have otherwise been a very passable game. A real disappointment.
Community review by tomclark (March 07, 2004)
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