"In the sequel, it seems a secret admirer has invited you to visit him at the fun house in an amusement park. Before you can get in, though, you must collect tickets from rides. You gain these only by successfully completing the rides. Things still donít seem so bad. Then you try the different attractions and you realize something awful: they all suck."
It sounds like a terrific idea on paper. Take the characters from Tiny Toon Adventures and throw them into a game about a theme park. Since itís the sequel to a darn good platformer that many NES fans enjoyed, make sure to add the Ď2í on the end of the title. Throw in a sexy subtitle just because thatís the in thing to do. The end result is Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Trouble in Wackyland. It should be perfect. The problem is, it isnít. Itís not even close.
One of the things that endeared me to the original outing featuring Buster Bunny and friends was its surprising polish. While itís true that the game was no more than a platformer wherein you played as the beloved mascots from the cartoon series, the levels were mostly fun and there was a good amount of challenge that never truly felt cheap. It was a competent platformer, through and through. So when I saw the sequel, I felt confident I was in for more of the same. I never suspected that Konami would take a great game and ruin everything about it.
In the sequel, it seems a secret admirer has invited you to visit him at the fun house in an amusement park. Before you can get in, though, you must collect tickets from rides. You gain these only by successfully completing the rides. Things still donít seem so bad. Then you try the different attractions and you realize something awful: they all suck.
Bumper cars are an excellent example of where the game goes wrong. The perspective is overhead, which makes perfect sense. You control Plucky, plopped into the middle of the scenario with two devious villains. Thereís a black hole near the top of the screen, bumpers along the sides, and circular bumpers in the middle so that it feels as if youíve been dropped into a pinball machine. As you slide around, youíll bounce here and there, seldom feeling like youíre truly in control except for those moments where youíre sliding slowly forward in the desired direction. Then you contact your competitors and bump against them. No one really goes anywhere. You just slide around like globs of paint. Eventually, bored with the proceedings, you take risks. At this point you will either successfully knock someone else into a hole after a rash move, or (and this is far more likely) youíll end up in the hole yourself. There goes one of your three lives. If you manage to do better and you knock the opponents into the abyss, itís time to repeat on another course, this one slightly different. And if you win there, itís no to another. Itís not fun on the first course, or the second, or the third.
But there are other mini-games, for each of the other toons. Probably the one that comes closest to fun is the one that finds Hampton dashing back and forth atop a moving train. You can jump into the air, fly forward with feet kicking, or just run about like a dolt. Enemies are also on the train. They come from beneath, and you have to move quickly so they donít spring upward and hit you from beneath. Also, you have to avoid signs at various elevations, and it wouldnít hurt to grab some pies while youíre at it. Then you get to a certain point in the level and, unexpectedly, the train starts to break apart. You die. Back to the ride selection screen, simple as that. No continuing.
If you want to re-attempt the train ride, then, you certainly can. You just have to spend more of your precious tickets (the game ends when you exhaust your supply). And this time, maybe youíll get past that first sudden pit. But there will be another, and itís just as likely to catch you off-guard. Tiny Toon Adventures 2 is all about trial and error.
This is particularly true of the ride you experience as Babs, a rollercoaster run that is so irritating one has to wonder how anyone ever imagined it could be enjoyable for even the best of players. Sliding along the track, you must stay on a little platform that can flip upside-down when the situation calls for it. The problem is that youíre going so fast you have little or no time to react, especially when youíre often snuggled up against the corner of the screen, forced to anticipate obstacles you canít even see coming.
Similar to that little diversion is the log ride down the river. Youíre the cat for that one, and youíll spend much of your time practically glued to the rock as it goes up or down the various inclines throughout the stage. Frogs leap at you from the left and all you can do is jump, hoping that somehow youíve timed things well enough that you avoid taking a hit to your life meter. Fun? Not for a second.
But wait. Surely the game does something right. It is from a major developer and publisher, after all. Right? Right. The graphics throughout most of the outing, aside from the inevitable flicker so common on the system, are good. Not spectacular, not craptacular, just good. The sprites all look the way they should, animate with grace, etc. And the music isnít half bad. The problem is, none of this really matters if youíre not having fun. And of course, as Iíve already explained, playing Tiny Toon Adventures 2 is anything but fun. I canít remember ever playing a sequel that disappointed me more. Avoid this one as you would a migraine.
Staff review by Jason Venter (January 26, 2005)
Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.
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