Unlike the other six licensed 8-bit games I played for Racketboy's January Together Retro, Tiny Toon Adventures is one that I did have a kid and played a good bit but never actually got around to beating. I was always a big fan of Tiny Toons as a kid, but with platformers like the three Super Mario Bros games, this one just kind of fell by the wayside. Playing back through it and actually beating it this month, then was a great experience and a chance for me to reconnect to the past me that was basically raised by Nintendo's little grey toaster.
Tiny Toon Adventures is, like so many licensed games on the NES, at platformer, and while there are some better platformers on the system, Tiny Toon Adventures is a lot better than the typical licensed game. You default to playing as Blue Rabbit (I don't remember their names and am too lazy to Google them, so I'm going to make them up), but you also pick a secondary character to whom you can switch if you find the right powerup. You get to choose between Green Bird, Stupid Cat, and Gay Tasmanian Devil. Each of these three secondary character have abilities that Blue Rabbit doesn't, but my hands down favorite was Green Bird with his hover ability. The game plays like a pretty traditional platformer complete with bonus stages between levels; if you end a stage with an amount of carrots divisible by 11, you enter a bonus stage in which you fight Duck Vader. If you can beat him without dying, you're rewarded with three extra lives.
The visuals are, overall, nice, and they're certainly colorful, but there's one specific stylistic choice that puzzled me and never stopped bothering me. In most games, your characters and sprites have a black outline, right? That's, for the most part, kind of the norm. Blue Rabbit's outline is this jarring bright red instead of the traditional black. It doesn't affect gameplay at all, obviously, and the sprite itself looks fine and well designed, but that red outline just stuck out like a sore thumb to me the entire time I was playing. Fortunately the gameplay is fun enough and the music is composed well enough that, while it never stopped bugging me, I did eventually get over it and enjoy the game.
Tiny Toon Adventures is, bizarre sprite outline coloration aside, a charming and well designed game. It doesn't revolutionize the genre - it's really just a "me too" platformer - but it does the genre well, and if you're a fan of the IP on which it's based, there's a lot to love here. I thoroughly enjoyed my playthrough of Tiny Toon Adventures, and if you're a fan of 8-bit platformers or of the Tiny Toons themselves, then I'm definitely going to suggest you take a look at this one. As far as I'm aware, it never got re-released digitally or otherwise, but I don't think the NES cartridge is too terribly expensive - $10, maybe? Give it a go. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.