*Please note that the following review is based upon a 1 player experience only.
How hard is it to make a well loved movie or very popular cartoon characters into a playable platformer game? A simple question to answer surely and one that Australian game developers Redtribe have haphazardly tried to answer across three platforms at the same time.
Going by Acme Arsenal on the Nintendo Wii, it seems that this console has been neglected.
Going into this I knew that I would at least get some enjoyment from seeing a multitude of Looney Tune characters in action. The case looks great with Bugs Bunny, Taz and Daffy Duck in a menacing pose.
The first disappointment came with the instruction manual. It is flimsy and with no concise details of a one player game or the characters that you get to use. There are pages in here that have no explanation such as 'looney tune ancestors'. Maybe they show up in the game at some point. Who knows? Not I. It also lists 'playable tunes' characters, and from this list I just naturally expected that I could play as any of these guys. Hell, it even says on the back of the case that you can play as bugs, daffy, taz, marvin and more, so I assumed I would get more than I got.
Main menu: -
I was confusing myself the more I looked at the instruction leaflet, so I thought I'd jump into the tutorial. To play at all, you need to have a wrist controller with a nunchuk attached to the back. The first surprise came as at this stage I could only interchange between two characters, being Bugs Bunny and Marvin the Martian. Marvin is tiny and really fast (quite funny at first to watch in action with his whizzing legs spinning round), whereas bugs is big and cumbersome and hits out at baddies with an array of musical instruments at first. The graphics are great; there is no denying this point. However, if there ever was a more annoying tutorial to complete, I have yet to witness it. It's a simple idea to get through to the end of the maze, knocking down the bad guys with an array of moves to unlock wire fences each time one is killed. I found Bugs/Marvin really hard to control at first and it doesn't get easier. Every bad guy takes an eternity to die, sometimes I found you had to bounce back to the start of the maze, past fences already unlocked until it even flagged up that you were one hit away from killing them. Sometimes you face a soldier firing arrows, and sometimes there are more in number. It never gets less tedious and I just prayed for it to be over.
Surely, I thought I have the worst of this out of the way, and could begin a quest to complete the game. Going by the instruction booklet, I have to start on a quest to defeat the Evil Mad Scientist and save the 'Tunes. None of the levels are mentioned here, but there appears to be four different stages. There is a couple to be unlocked as you go along, and you can also unlock different types of arsenal. Yet again I was only given the option of interchanging between Bugs and Marvin, and had to guide them through a labyrinthine maze avoiding pitfalls and foot soldiers. There are crates that you can spin open to earn coins. You do this the same as when fighting a bad guy, by turning your wrist controller from side to side. As ever, the bad guys cause you a lot of trouble by taking a lot of effort to kill. There is not one enemy on this that will get out of your way with a single shot. The setup of the game does not allow for too much movement either, you can even lose sight of your character as he disappears behind a pillar. This is terribly annoying especially when you're about to seal victory over an opponent with one final blow.
There are checkpoints as you continue, which saves the game from that mark. Thank goodness there's some relief you don't have to go from the beginning again. Secret doors or steps are revealed by jumping on slabs which carry the evil scientists face, and there are glass cases where you can pick up new arsenal, or life bars. The martian ray gun is fun to use but features too rarely. The biggest drawback of the game play is that it is all too easy too fall down crevices to platforms below, meaning that you need to pull yourself back up levels of nothing, to do what you were originally trying. For example there are spinning blocks and disappearing floors to jump or run over. Sometimes you need to a double jump and a spin round to reach the next block, which can be ridiculously hard to pull off. Maybe if there was some kind of puzzle to complete, or clues to pick up on the way, it would have enhanced the enjoyment for me. Instead it just seemed like a waste of time. I would be surprised if you don't pull some hair out.
There is a split screen option for 2 players through the same levels, though why you would want to put somebody that you like through the same agony, I really do not know.
The battle mode can not be played as a one player.
I would recommend having this turned off. It is a thoroughly repetitive noise that will infuriate you even further. The wisecracks that Bugs and Marvin make are fun at first, but you only need to really hear them once.
There are much better games for the Wii. I would put this towards the bottom of a wish list, even though it is currently one at a better price.
I think that as this game is catered more towards a younger element of gamer, it is all too confusing. I can imagine kids screaming at their box because the looney tune universe is not open to them as promised. Certain games that have items to unlock in later stages can be thoroughly rewarding, but I can only see it serving as a major frustration here. I don't think any thought has been given to the level of patience that a 10 year old for example, would have. I can see it being a game they would pick up to play once, and throw it away pretty soon after, and then ask mum and dad to get them something better.
The overriding feeling from having played this is that the game developers have felt that the characters are enough to sell the product and that the release has been rushed with the finer details being sadly overlooked. It is a truly disappointing affair. I hope that if I ever pick it up for a multiplayer battle mode, it will show me at least something that I've been missing.
Love the Looney Tunes, just hate this game
Currently available on Amazon for £21.96
*This review may also be posted on ciao