Two crappy Taz-Mania games
Popular TV shows, especially cartoons, usually get a videogame based off them at one time or another. Taz-Mania was one of those shows. And anyone who knows me should know I love Taz-Mania.
Taz is a violent character, so it's no wonder he got numerous games to kill things, but the fact a majority of them are based off Taz-Mania and not simply Taz is odd. I mean, the shows basically a big ol' parody of various things, namely family life TV shows. It'd be like making a game about The Brady Bunch. oh wait
Regardless, the show managed to get seven video games; a Mega Drive game, a Game Gear game, one for the Master System, another for the SNES, and three for the Game Boy; one a Game Boy Color game.
To be honest, they're nothing out of the ordinary for cartoon-based games. The SNES one does have some pretty graphics, and the Game Boy Color game features a whopping twelve main characters from the show, but I'll really only be talking about the ones worth talking about (i.e. the crappy ones).
Taz-Mania - Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
This is the only Taz-Mania game I owned. =0
Hugh tells the family about a race of giant birds that laid eggs big enough to feed them all for a year, and Taz sets out on a quest around the country in search of them.
This is the only one of the four platforming games that seems to get Taz's workings right. His spin is unlimited, doesn't make him
Taz hate hog noobs. I'LL SEE YOU IN BUNGIE-CTF-6 THEN
fly, and actually hurts things. A shame the rest of the game is so uneven and frustrating.
Taz starts off in the middle of nowhere. I think it's meant to be the outback, his usual territory, but it looks more like some nightmarish land than any outback I've ever seen. Not just because of the abstract rocks, but also because it's inhabited by CREEPY SPIDERS AND ROCK MONSTERS. Those certainly never appeared on the show, unless I'm mistaken. The first level is nothing much, other than some water spouts that bring you to higher ledges and occasionally instant death into some spikes. The next level is a frustrating jumping level, which you'll see more of in Search for the Lost Seabirds. The boss is against a discoloured Bull Gator and Axle in a truck. Stomping on their roof sorts them out.
Taz then ends up in an Acme factory, which has plenty of machinery to crush your ass flat. The first level suggests that it manufactures cars, bombs, or roast turkeys, but the second level reveals a more sinister purpose: IT'S MANUFACTURING TANK BATTLE ROBOTS. It doesn't help any that they have laser turrets randomly firing around. So much for security.
Instead of fighting a boss, you're then sent straight to the arctic, where you fight bow-tied penguins and Bushrats, of all things. It's a pretty plain level, really. There's lots of platforming with icebergs that either move or sink, and landing in the water turns Taz into an ice cube. He can break out if you do a spin, where you're shot into the air, but it takes chunks of health out the longer you're in ice. This level is notable for having the only secret area in the entire game; on the last iceberg before the goal sign, it's actually a secret passage to a cave with a penguin, not one fish but two fish (red fish blue fish), an extra life and a continue. Then there are steps leading back to the goal with another fish.
Back off, penguin.
After that inexplicable change of scenery, it happens again, as you're dumped into the depths of a jungle! There's even more platforming here, only without the ice cubes giving you extra chances, and you can't even see where you're supposed to jump to. These are real pits. You also fight bushrats and walking venus fly traps here. Not very fun. It does have, however, one of the rare appearances of a mid-level checkpoint.
The next level is yet another jumping one where you need to reach the top of a really weird tree. It's pretty ho-hum, except for
Francis X Bushlad appearing as a boss who needs his Beatles haircut stomped on.
After that is quite easily the most enjoyable level in the game: Going down a river on logs. Taz has to leap from log to log, all which begin sinking when he sets foot on them, while also avoiding killer plants on the solid ground. Thankfully, the water doesn't kill him, but merely takes a little health off and shoots him back into the air like a spooked cat. Not that there's any real danger of dying, there's plenty of turkeys lying about, and lives too. If only the level lasted a little longer, then the rest of the game wouldn't have been so bad.
What's the best way to follow up the most enjoyable level in the game? Put the worst level in the game immediately after it.
It's the dreaded mine cart level! Your mine cart has the ability to extend itself above the ground, which you have to do to avoid barriers; but there are also low ceilings that kill Taz if your cart is extended. And then there are pits, where you must either speed up or slow down to avoid getting killed over them. And then there's the fact that no matter what speed you go at, you're never truly safe, as sometimes you still die at pits when you speed up or slow down. Truly miserable level. You can't even avoid it on Practise mode, as even though it takes out a majority of the levels, it still makes you go through this torture. Not fun
Taz hate water!
And it gets worse. Now you're in a maze. A maze with ELEVATORS. I've never liked lifts, and this only fuels my hatred, as some lifts are operated by Taz, some move on their own, some need your weight to spring them upwards, and some merely fall apart and drop you into a chasm of instant-death spikes. Nasty. It makes things worse with jumping segments involving horizontal lifts above spikes, jumping across falling platforms above spikes, and simply combinations of spikes and elevators..
After that one-two-punch of absolute misery, you're given another river level with the logs. It's not quite as fun, as there are now rocks in the river which stop certain logs from going further, and just about no solid ground. And all the turkeys and lives are gone. Not very fun.
The next level is a boss stage: An even bigger version of the killer plants. It also introduces an item, which is a bag labelled "NO-WEED". Taz spits and loses health upon eating it, and it doesn't seem to effect the plant monster at all. It doesn't show up in any other levels, either. MYSTERY
Alas, poor Yorrick I knew him BMFBLUGBSBSGJKJS CHOKE
Up next is a maze of ancient architecture or something. It's got lots of eye patch wearing Bushrats and bats and fire-breathing stone dragon heads. It's really pretty bland, and more like breather space from the hectic atmosphere of the previous stages. And thankfully it's nowhere near as frustrating as the cave maze. It's then followed by another maze level which is similarly unexciting.
And then it's followed by another maze level, that seems almost exactly the same as the first maze here. About the only distinguishing feature is that the boss is an evil stone Taz, who can be defeated by sitting in a corner and spinning.
And you're finally out of the maze, and on the final stretch. It's not much of a final stretch. There's one or two fire breathing heads, and the return of one of them rock monsters, but nothing's really stopping you from reaching the egg.
It's not a terribly tough battle, as with all the other fights. It attacks by swiping it's wings downwards, and sometimes poking in a claw from the sides of the screen, but simply spinning protects you from any of them. Bashing into it's eye with a spin hurts it, and a number of times more and it gives up and dies or something.
And that's it. Roll credits, receive brief congratulation, and then to the title screen.
Despite the anti-climatic ending, the general obnoxiousness of the difficulty and all those other nags, I almost like the game, but it's more for how unfinished it feels than how well it plays. Most notably, after the first world, checkpoints only seem to appear very rarely; the water bottles in the first world merely restore your health, and disappear for the rest of the game. And then there's how the scenery gets so repetitive late in the game. It strangely intrigues me.
[Summary: It's an amusing look at drastic licenses taken with cartoon-based games, and maybe a semi-decent time killer; and if your patience levels are high (or standards are low), may be considering a good game. Also, has eight characters from the TV show.]
[Additional screenshots: Intro | Acme factory (1) | jungle (1) | jungle (2) | cave (1) | cave (2) | jungle (4) | jungle (5) | maze (2) | maze (3) |
Taz-Mania: Search for the Lost Seabirds - Game Gear
Taz-Mania: Search for the Lost Seabirds is a nine level romp through various situations, and one horrible mess of a game. The game uses the storyline and graphics of the Mega Drive Taz-Mania, and proceeds to turn them and everything else into an even sloppier shit. I mean, at least for the beginning of the Mega Drive game, the difficulty is at least tolerable.
Taz can't stop the rock.
You start off Search for the Lost Seabirds by being chased by a big rock (difficulty curve in action), where Taz's plodding pace is too slow to get away from it, so you must use his spinning to stay ahead. But horrors upon horrors!, spinning lowers his health, so you have to pick up turkeys and water bottles to refill it. And if you collide into them while spinning, they're destroyed. Lovely. If you live, you jump across a chasm and go into a cave.
Taz knows he's in for some hell.
You're then dumped into a mine cart, emulating the same part of the Mega Drive game, minus the need for speed and adding a maze element. This is less frustrating than the Mega Drive version, thanks to the fact that cart is a lot slower and there are no jumps to go over, but nobody likes mazes, especially when colliding with barriers and low ceilings causes instant death. Destroying the mine cart on a stone launches Taz out of the cave ...
... where he then lands in a snowboarding stage. It manages to be less painful, as the instant deaths are only caused by pits, and all other dangers (the Bushrats, rocks, and trees that look no different than trees from the foreground and background) only lower health. There's fish you can eat, but there's really no need to spin here.
After crashing through a pile of snow, Taz is then blown across icebergs by a wind machine, having to dodge penguins and jump from platform to platform or else falling into the freezing waters. This would be simple if it weren't for the fact Taz jumps like a pile of bricks, and instead of jumping in a natural arc, jumps in a perfect upside-down V shape. To make matters worse, he only has two jumping heights, which you can't alternate between at will; Taz willing decides to use a short jump to miss a platform and freeze his ass.
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT KILL IT KILL IT
Inside another cave is a boss battle against something. It lumbers after you with all the grace of a man dancing The Robot, and you must kill it with fire. If this were the cartoon, surely something zany would provide Taz with fire, like a hot pepper or Arthur Brown, but here, jumping and spinning at the ceiling next to an icicle causes fire to erupt from holes in the ground. Easier said than done, considering the something likes to walk back and forth in the same spot, outside of the fire's reach. If you torch it three times, it shrinks and scurries off.
Taz then proceeds to fly across a river with the help of the totally out-of-proportion kiwi bird's feathers. The Bushrats attack Taz in bubbles, and just like the first stage, Taz's health decreases, and needs refilled by yellow clouds, of all things. At the end, if you land on the platform wrong, you fall off into the water and die, meaning you have to do everything again. Brilliant!
Taz hate game.
Reaching the other side brings you to a copy of the log riding scene from the Mega Drive game. It loses any scent of fun that existed in the original, naturally, thanks not only to the fact that there's a single log throughout the whole level, but also to the fact that Taz still can't jump to save his life, and those disturbing plant monsters whack off a quarter of his health upon contact. Or non-contact, due to sloppy collision detection. Upon reaching the end, Francis X Bushlad shoots arrows at you, which is sure to be endlessly frustrating if you lost most of your health. A single bounce on his head takes care of him. Did I mention dying in this game boots you back to the beginning of the stage? Fun!
And where next? An Egyptian pyramid of sorts. In a shocking twist of gameplay, you have to go upwards here, being attacked by more bats, rats, and spiders, having to use their spin attack to fly to higher platforms and eating bread to refill it, where a mistake can dump your ass to the very bottom, minus the bread you just ate. Guess how enjoyable this is.
The final stage involves the same gameplay as the previous level, only the platforms are microscopic, and the seabird now attacks you constantly. Reaching the nest rewards you with the same ending as the Mega Drive, sans comedic timing or any kind of reward. After a few seconds of the single screen of credits, you're dumped to a Game Over screen, where all you can do is return to the title screen. Not even a level select as a consolation prize.
At least we know who to kill.
[Summary: Stealing a phrase from this GameFAQs review that is actually good, it's the Plan 9 From Outer Space of video games. Also has a whopping three characters from the TV show.]
[Additional screenshots: Mine cart stage | snowboard stage | flying stage | river stage | ever-so-boring pyramid stage]
And there you have it: Two crappy Taz-Mania games. I wanted to cover the rest, but they're really pretty plain.
There are also some Taz games not based off Taz-Mania; I haven't played them at all, but from what I've heard, they're pretty low-quality, too. Taz: Escape from Mars, Taz Express and Taz Wanted, as well as a PlayStation game sharing the name of the Game Boy Color one, Munching Madness, although there seems to be absolutely no information on it anywhere.
Maybe I'll get a look at them sometime.
Maybe I'll DIE sometime.