A popular cartoon character gets a platformer video game on the Megadrive/Genesis, will the originality never stop? Sarcasm aside many cartoons have received this treatment and some are pretty darn good. How does Taz measure up? Lets find out…
The basic premise of this game is a bit different from the usual fare in the sense that Taz isn’t on a quest to save a princess/the world etc. Taz has the more self indulgent task of finding an egg that will feed him for a year (granted this also includes feeding his family but that doesn’t fit into the “Taz is so selfish” spin I am giving this paragraph, so on we push) the game seems to have been well received upon release Mean machines giving it a healthy 81% after seeing this review I was confused as I have played Taz mania on the Gamegear and it is quite possibly the worst game in existence, no not just the worst game on the Gamegear, not just the worst Sega game, THE WORST GAME IN EXISTENCE EVER… Or so I thought, but I’m racing ahead here. Lets sort the wheat from the chaff and go through the separate sections.
Graphics: Sega’s Megadrive/Genesis has never had the greatest graphics in the 16-bit realm but what it does well is cartoon graphics and this is no exception. Looking like and episode from the Taz Mania series it is a visual treat to the eyes (as opposed to a visual treat to the ears?). Taz’s animation is great and the levels look interesting and pleasing (Don’t tell me, to the eyes? Yes, Please stop butting in!).
Sound: Now this is a tricky one, each stage (of which there are 5… 5! are you kidding me!) has its own theme which sounds like the background music of a cartoon. Now these themes are brilliant and make you feel like you are in a cartoon but… and its a big ‘but’ (lol big butts… ahem, excuse me) it just doesn’t work. As great as the songs are and as well made as they were, they just don’t fit in this game. Platformers need a bouncy and driving soundtrack to keep you trucking along, this just falls short. Another bad idea brilliantly executed is when Taz jumps and lands there is a cartoony sound effect (much as you would get in a cartoon, clever!) sounds great huh? Wrong! in a platformer (even one as short as this) you jump and land hundreds of times and having this sound effect go off EVERY SINGLE TIME will drive you to the point of having your own mini Tazmanian Freakout.
Gameplay: If you thought I was being harsh before stop reading because its not going to get any better in fact its going to get a hell of a lot worse. The gameplay is terrible, absolutely atrocious. Hit detection has a mind of its own. When jumping to a platform you have to be hitman accurate and I mean halo head shot accurate. If you are a millimetre off you will fall down and some of these levels are non-linear so that means falling to the start of the stage to once again fail at what seem to be easy jumps. The polar opposite to this are the enemy’s who could be halfway across the screen and still take your life bar down. What the coders have done to combat this is make your health slow to drain and they also give you 3 lives and a handful of continues but instead of this levelling out the difficulty it makes the game too easy yet impossibly frustrating. How this is possible is a mystery to me and the lazy coders should be congratulated for achieving such an unobtainable task… I say “should” but it doesn’t, it just makes you mad.
In closing I will say that there are some good parts to this game, visuals are great, song writing is intelligent, animation enjoyable (I especially like the fact that if you leave your controller alone for a while, Taz will get miffed and growl his annoyance at you.) but this is another of those games that is less than the sum of its parts. So much of this game gangs up against the good bits to leave a nasty taste in your mouth. Whereas it is better than the Gamegear version, syphilis is better than Ebola. If you want to play this game do by all means. I’m not ‘yo baby’s moma’ but don’t come running to me when you realise (and you will, probably 30 seconds into the game) that this abomination will crap on you at every opportunity. The worst thing is when you scrutinise certain aspects you think “wow that’s cool” but this only makes the failings stand out more and hit you unashamedly in the face like and elephant with a rocket strapped to its midsection (very hard) and because of that I can give this game no more than 2 out of 5 and that’s being kind because of the great visuals. In short look at the game but what ever you do never, ever, ever, ever play it.
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