It’s hard to believe kids today have no knowledge of or exposure to the Tiny Toons Adventure characters. I mean back in the early 90s this was huge. After well over a decade of simply showing reruns of the classic Looney Tunes characters Warner Brothers, in collaboration with Steven Spielberg created a new batch of younger characters to carry on the Looney Tunes legacy. And it was received exceedingly well. With success in hand it was only a matter of time before the multimedia sensation hit the video game landscape, with Buster Busts Loose ranked as one of the best spinoffs.
The driving concept of the Tiny Toons series is that all of the characters are students at Acme University and training to be the next generation of Looney Tunes. With frequent appearances by classic Looney Tunes such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the Tasmanian devil among others it was the ultimate co-sign if you will. This created a ripe formula for many games, and Buster Busts Loose plays out as a best of series of episodes. With a solid set of mechanics and varied play mechanics BBL is one of the best Tiny Toons games produced and another notch in Konami’s belt.
In practice Buster has the normal set of platform moves with his primary form of attack being a weird drop kick. You have to see it in motion but the actual animation is strange but it is effective; it’s just in most cases you’re not sure how the hell it landed. The main mechanic that is given the most use is the Dash. By dashing Buster is given a cartoon like burst of speed which also has side benefits like running up walls using your momentum. The dash bar automatically refills so it’s a wise choice to go nuts as there are tons of secrets waiting to be discovered.
Each level plays out as if it were an episode of the cartoon. With one exception 5 of the 6 levels are broken up into 3 parts. Because of this the entire game features a large variety of set pieces filled with cameos from the show. From the more popular down to obscure characters I barely even remember such as Lil Sneezer (I had to look that one up just to remember!). Most of these cameos are not superfluous either; while most are enemies some serve a gameplay purpose as well.
The first level set in Acme University eases you into the gameplay as you get the chance to explore the Dash mechanic. Dashing plays a large role in the game as there are long stretches that require you to use it to clear obstacles cross large gaps. These segments are some of the most fun in the game, especially when there are multiple power-ups in your path to keep the chain going. Not that it completely takes over the game; in fact each new level introduces some new wrinkle to keep you occupied. In Acme University there are multiple stealth segments followed by a non-traditional boss fight against Dizzy Devil as you force feed him to stop his rampage. Or Stage 4’s simulated 4th quarter football game (a spoof on the popular episode the Acme Bowl). The variety in the game is kept up all the way to the end which can come quickly depending on the difficulty.
Buster Busts Loose is one of the few games that changes depending on the difficulty selected. While normal is the base game Children eliminates multiple sections of each level for a truncated experience. Challenge mode gives you one heart at the start of every level; extra hearts are few and far. While I applaud the decision to make the game accessible to everyone it’s not as if this is hard. I mean Christ I was playing through Contra and Ninja Gaiden when I was 9 and 10 (maybe that’s why I’m a monster at video games), this is a cake walk in comparison.
Regardless of how easy or (not) hard you find the proceedings Buster Busts Loose is an insanely fun game that has good graphics that mimic the look of the show and a large array of play mechanics. Although it is on the easy side I have no trouble recommending it to platforming fans.