Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Random Retro Round Up #1: The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout (NES)


Welcome to the first in a brand new series of articles - the Random Retro Round Up.  This first "season" will be covering games on the 8-bit consoles, so the NES, Master System, Game Boy, Lynx, Game Gear and TurboGrafx-16 will each have their time in the spotlight.  I may even extend this to include computers as well, I haven't quite decided yet.

Anyway, the format is this: every week I will play a game from a particular format chosen at random with the help of random.org and a list of all the games that were released for that system. First up is the NES, a console that I am not all that familiar with due to the fact that when it was at its height of popularity I was into the Commodore 64 for my gaming needs.  I played the obvious titles like the Super Mario trilogy and a few others such as Duck Tales at a friends house after school, but there are hundreds of games that I literally know nothing about.  As such I am really looking forward to unearthing some classic games (or perhaps the complete opposite).  So without further ado, let's take a look at the first game...

Title: The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
Developer: Kemco
Year Released: 1990

Upon first firing up this game my initial thoughts were "oh no, not another platformer".  After all these were all over the place during the 8 and 16 bit eras, and many of them were of questionable quality.  Everybody was desperate to get a piece of Mario's action, yet most developers lack the skill to design something that even approaches the brilliance of a Miyamoto game. Thankfully though, B4 (as I'm going to refer to it) isn't too far off the mark.

Taking control of WB's famous rabbit, you hop your way across many different worlds, each made up of around 4 levels.  Scattered around these levels are carrots, which can be spent on playing a bonus game between the levels (basically bingo).  When these carrots are collected, they become WB blocks and can then be walked on. Many of the level layouts involve collecting carrots first and then using said blocks to accesss higher areas.  This game has its own equivalent of warp pipes too, the form of which changes from world to world (in world 1 they are tree stumps).  A typical stage is made up of multiple areas and some of them end with a boss fight against another famous Looney Toons character (who are all pissed off that they didn't get an invite to Bug's 50th birthday party).  Most of these fights are fairly trivial except for Tweety Pie who hides in a bush and can't be it until he pops out, the little bastard.

As well as the standard jump, Bugs has a mallet that he can use against the weird and wonderful enemies that roam the stages.  I'm not even sure what some of these things are supposed to be - I can definitely recognise a sentient alarm clock when I see one, but what the hell are some of the other things supposed to be? Walking luggage?  There is no duck in this game (well, apart from Daffy) which is a bit jarring at first but you get used to it after a few levels. Overall the difficulty is pretty good, it does spike a bit during level 1-2 but once I got past that I made fairly easy progress up to 2-4.  When you use all your lives you are given the option to continue which allows you to carry on from the level you got to.  That means with a little perserverence it should be possible to get to the end without too many problems.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised just how well designed and fun B4 turned out to be.  A very good start to my little random retro experiment to be sure.  Hopefully I will continue to get good games to play!

Verdict: Check it out

For more information on this game, check out the gameplay video below and be sure to visit www.nes-bit.com, an excellent resource for all things NES!

1 comment:

HDSnoopy said...

Great post! I look forward to the next installment.

PS: I thought it was hilarious how the carrots tuned into WB logos.

PPS: I was annoyed at how e.blogger had me sign in with my google account after I clicked publish and then lost what I had originally typed in the comments.