You know when they say “they don’t make ’em like they used to’ and people are all like “that’s because the old stuff was crap” and you scream in their faces because that’s the biggest load of rubbish you ever heard? I mean you probably never even saw those programmes that we’re talking about because they’re not on TV anymore – not because they’re crap but because… well, who even knows why? Tiny Toon Adventures was one of those programmes that transcended generations and yet do you hear people asking for a revival? No. Why? BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS. DID YOU NOT WATCH THAT SHOW? IT WAS A MIXTURE OF BRILLIANT SLAPSTICK, HEARTFELT MOMENTS, CRAZY WACKY LOONINESS AND IT HAD DIDDY VERSIONS OF LOONEY TUNES CHARACTERS WHAT IS THERE NOT TO LOVE?
You will have guess that I feel rather strongly about this. The caps lock key does things to me.
No, long before this game existed, Tiny Toons already had a cracking little set of platformers on the SNES and the Mega Drive; both entirely different from each other and Konami obviously saw fit to how the natural route and give the games an honourary sequel.
And what better way, and natural way, to follow up a platformer than with a SPORTS GAME!
YOU HEARD ME. Everyone knows that after a platform game, you go into sports. Then puzzle games. Then RPGs. Then when you’ve really milked it for all its worth, you make an awful platformer all over again.
We never got that far. Be thankful *COUGH COUGH SONIC COUGH COUGH*
THEY’RE TINY. THEY’RE TOONY. THEY’RE ALL A LITTLE LOONY. AND IN THIS CARTOONY, THEY’RE INVADING YOUR TV!
Couldn’t resist it.
So here’s the scoop. Montana Max is a MASSIVE MASSIVE DICK and he’s sorta setting up a sports competition; a mixture of basketball and football. Three-on-three basketball and four-a-side football top be precise and it’s interspersed with a few other RANDOM sports. Basically, you’re kinda stuck with the main four characters in story mode, Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny (no relation HO HO HO TINY TOONS GAG REFERENCE), Plucky Duck and Hamton Pig; basically the kid equivalent of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig (plus a female version of Bugs). There are also kid versions of Sylvester (Furrball), Road Runner (Little Beeper), Wile E Coyote (Calamity Coyote), Pepe Le Pew (Fifi) and the abominable snowman (Elmyra).
You know the one. The character who’s all “I will love him and pet him and stroke his pretty fur and I will call him George” – they turned him into Elmyra. It is GENIUS and she is immensely irritating but they manage to capture her so perfectly in this game, as they manage to do with all of the characters.
See, here’s what they do totally right: THAT. If you watched the cartoon, you would understand that every character is lovingly and loyally portrayed in this game. Elmyra is a perfect case in point. Let me explain.
See, this isn’t your ordinary common-or-garden sports game. It’s a cartoon sports game so there has to be something unusual about it. There has to be a bit of gimmick to it.
You see the little yellow bars underneath the character portraits? They’re stamina bars and if you have enough stamina (i.e. up to half) then you can use your character’s signature move. It basically defeats goalkeepers in single hit or can be EPIC three-pointers in basketball. They’re tailored to each character for the most part. Buster and Babs are focussed on speed, as is Little Beeper, Hamton wraps himself around the ball and bounces his way to the goal/basket, Montana Max CHEATS by bringing out a car or plane and crashing into other characters, Elmyra SQUEEZES THE LIFE OUT EVERY OPPONENT (ahhhhhh – hug him and squeeze him and call him George!), while PLUCKY – oh my word, PLUCKY DUCK – the single best character in the entire show and thus this game – flies into the air with the ball in his beak as SLOWLY as possible and into the path of falling anvils. If an anvil hits him, his beak shoots off into the goal/basket.
Now if that isn’t staying loyal to the show, I don’t know what is. Plus, in the ensuing carnage, I managed to get one of the opposing team squashed under an anvil. Fucking ace. The way that Konami were able to capture the essence of the TV show and its characters into this game is actually pretty special. Plus, look at the damn sprites. They’re fucking terrific. They look amazing even now. There’s something so clean and crisp about them that they actually do hold up pretty nicely today. The amount of animation is reasonable, although that doesn’t hold up as well. They tend to skimp on that area a bit and reuse frames quite regularly, particularly in win/loss animations. I mean, they had to skimp SOMEWHERE and it’s not as though it makes the good look awful, it’s just in certain circumstances, watching a character kick a bowling ball instead of actually bowling it is a bit wince-inducing.
On the plus side though, you are technically playing a 90s cartoon, which is always nice. Konami did have a way of doing quite a lot with these types of licences. Animaniacs had a similarly loyal feel to it.
The way the story mode works is that essentially you’re given a match to play and you choose Plucky, Babs and Buster for basketball because YOU NEVER CHOOSE HAMTON BECAUSE HE FUCKING SUCKS and then you shove Hamton in goal ALWAYS for football matches because of course you do. If you win, you go through to the next match. So far, so ho-hum.
Oh and there’s bowling.
And an obstacle course.
And a whack-a-mole game.
FUCK YEAH THERE IS.
You know what you always wanted to do as a kid? Fucking smash that Montana Max in the fucking face for being such a giant dick. He always got his comeuppance, I will say that, but you actually get the chance to do it this time!
You can also hit Elmyra and Dizzy but that’ll cost you points so you don’t wanna do THAAAAAAAAAAT too often. Also, Gogo drops bombs across the field.
Yeah. He does that. He’s insane. He’s the ref. Be warned.
It’s a sweet enough little sideshow but to be honest, it’s a bit lacking. It lasts 30 seconds. On the plus side, you can have four players whacking Monty on the head and it’s fucking hilarious. But it’s 30 seconds. It feels a bit cheap and tacked on in comparison to anything else. Basketball and Football and pretty much where this game is at and that shows to be fair.
Whoop there’s an obstacle course which is a massive button bash mess. Move along. Nothing to see here.
And there’s bowling which a giant random mess of a game that requires some semblance of skill but Montana Max tends to cheat most of the time anyway so unless you’re bowling a perfect fucking game, you might as well password your way to the final level cos he’s fucking ruthless. He blows the pins up even if he doesn’t touch them. It’s RIDICULOUS.
OK, he doesn’t ALWAYS cheat but there’s no fucking way he’s doing it legit every time and you’ll have to score pretty highly yourself. It’s a bit mean and for a child of 8/9/10, you’d probably feel a bit hard done by. As an adult, you’ll be throwing the controller in rage at the screen hoping it hits Montana Max in his SMUG FACE THE BASTARD WE ALL HATE YOU, SOD OFF MONTANA MAX, STOP BEING A MASSIVE MASSIVE DICK.
So yeah, the fun is centred around the football and basketball events and in story mode, the other three games actually work because they’re neat little sideshows. Them on their own are not worth the price of admission though, as fun and diverting as they are.
Within the game, there are five different courts/pitches you can play on and some of them have little foibles and quirks that help them stand out, rather than just be nice to look at. The stadium on its own is basic and has nothing to hinder your players as they traverse the length of it.
On the other hand, the other four places have something potentially game changing.
In the Western stadium, there are horses at the corners of the court/pitch and if you get to close, they will kick you HARD and it does a lot of damage. There are also barrels bouncing across the screen that will crush you and stop you dead in your tracks if you get caught. The Forest has hidden weed in the grass that trip you up, the Downtown stage has oil slicks across the court to trip you up as well… and then there’s Montana Max’s room.
Yeah, if you hated him before now, you’re going to fucking detest the kid after this place.
I mean, aside from having Scalectrix-style cars racing out snapping your legs off, there’s a train track with toy train in the middle of the whole court/pitch that is GOING to trip you up regardless of where you are… and here’s the MASSIVE game-changer. The scores are generated RANDOMLY via spinning wheel.
You see that circle with Monty’s face on it? Yeah. That generates the score for a basket or a goal. It can go from 2,3 or 5 to 0 if you land on Max’s face WHICH IS ANOTHER REASON TO PUNCH IT BECAUSE HE’S A MASSIVE MASSIVE DICK. PUNCH HIM IN HIS DICK FACE.
See, it’s a mechanic you NEED to be aware of in case you play in the final match and score three goals and still only get two points, when Monty’s team scores one goal and gets 3 points for it.
And then you lose.
AND THEN YOU PUNCH MONTANA MAX IN HIS DICK FACE.
Now, technically it’s not unfair because it’s randomly generated towards both of you. And if you score a goal using a special move, you automatically score SOMETHING, which lessens the blow somewhat. If you’re playing a two-player game, this is something you obviously both need to be aware of and if you lose, despite scoring a few more goals/baskets than your opponent, then you can’t complain.
But there’s something offputting about shoving this stadium in as the final level. You have to be REALLY good to make sure you don’t fuck yourself over or get fucked over by the opposing team. It’s not a BAD mechanic, per se, but if you are going to choose to use it, just don’t punch your brother in the balls afterwards if he beats you.
Essentially though, what you have is a really nifty little sports game. It’s not amazing. It’s not trying to be the most amazing game in the world and it certainly isn’t trying to be the best sports game in the world. It’s Tiny Toons playing sports with each other and chucking balls into each others’ faces with cars and anvils and ESP and all that shit.
And that’s the beauty of it. It’s not trying to be anything it’s not. It’s a bare-bones sports game that keeps things simple. You don’t need to know all of the rules to either sport and they don’t follow the offside rule in football thank fuck for that and you’ll realise that the 24-second rule in basketball is enforced RIGIDLY so there’s no need to worry about it. Just fucking hurry up and pass the ball and SHOOT IT, you moron, that’s two points you just cost me.
It’s Tiny Toon Adventures. Come on. Join the fun.
And now my review is done.
If you’re scratching your head to that reference, I hate you. So much.