That box-art is too cute. Any child growing up when Tiny Toon Adventures was at it’s prime very much remembers this very colorful show, and high profile movie. Much like Animaniacs (which is yet another classic SNES platformer), Tiny Toon Adventures wasn’t afraid of parodying mature themes despite it’s childhood demographic. It was only a matter of time until a high profile developer picked up this property, and turned it into a classic.
Buster Busts Loose is not your average platformer; it plays approximately twice as fast as you’re used to. As you can imagine, you control Buster Bunny, who has an odd penchant for dashing at mach speeds. Imagine Sonic the Hedgehog, but without having to “sonic spin” before dashing (yea, he’s that fast).
One of the grandest mechanics in Buster Busts Loose was it’s child friendly easy mode (which was in fact called “Children’s Mode”). On this difficulty setting, every level was smaller in size, and some bosses were avoided entirely. On the other end of the spectrum, hard mode forced the player to start with only one bar of health, (!) challenging even the most veteran of platform gamers.
In between levels, you were given the chance to spin a mini-game wheel, and win a chance to earn extra lives. Buster Busts Loose’s mini-games were the biggest tease in retro history. They were all incredibly fun, but only allowed you to play them for a minute, tops. If you didn’t get your favorite mini-game, tough! In fact, you might make it through an entire playthrough without having the thrill of playing Furrball’s Squash. Now, on to some of the best bonus games of all time:
It may be one of the least exciting mini-games, but even with it’s simplistic gameplay, it can very much instill anxiety! Two see-saws are set up, and you have to select different Tiny Toons to put on your side, and hope that they outweigh the ones on your enemies’. It’s actually pretty exciting (albeit frustrating) to see if you’re going to win out, plus you get to see incredibly obscure Tiny Toons characters, which is a plus for fans.
Hamton’s Mini-Game: Apple-Pits:
If you’ve ever played one of those old-fashioned tile puzzles, you’ll instantly understand this game. Essentially, you have to move a hole around to give Hamton a path to walk along in order to eat apples and gain extra lives. In my younger days, I pooched this game every time; I just could never figure it out (but that’s what inspired me to keep playing the game over and over until I got it).
Only Tiny Toons could make bingo this much fun! This time, instead of playing for $5 at the local retirement home, you’re gaming for extra lives. You’ll always win at least one life, so it’s a very safe mini-game if you’re running low (which means you really can’t be mad at it).
Furrball’s Mini-Game: Squash (Raquet-Ball):
My personal favorite. It was the most simple of all the mini-games, but the most addicting. Every single time when I was a child, if I didn’t get this game, I threw my controller somewhere against the wall. All you have to do is swing a raquet at a ball that bounces against a wall (traditional squash), and occasionally characters would run in front of you to hit for extra points. (Fun Fact, Furrball was voiced by Frank Welker, who played Megatron’s voice in the original Transformers Animated Series).
Babs Bunny’s Mini-Game: Pac-Man:
Another classic game. In order to make the most out of this mini-game, Babs has to avoid Elmyra, Dizzy Devil, and Arnold the Pitbull in order to rescue her friends from a deadly maze of a house. Depending on the difficulty level, Babs is given a certain amount of time to rescue her friends, and the level ends immediately if she comes in contact with any enemy.
Buster Busts loose not only gave you exciting mini-games, but it also boasted diverse levels, including one stage that required you to win a football game. Using Buster’s dash mechanic, the player had to dodge, dip, duck, dive, (and dodge) the enemies’ defensive squad. Even with only six stages, their length and diversity will keep you entertained for quite some time.
My personal favorite level is “Buster Sky-jinks”, which as you can imagine, has you daring the skies in order to reach the last stage and rescue Babs Bunny once and for all. There are quite a few Mega Man influences found here, most notably rising bubbles (found in Burst Man and Splash Woman to name a few) that take you to a higher point in the level.
Konami had yet another hit on their hands with Buster Busts Loose, and I would strongly encourage any fan of the animated series to go out and look for a copy right away.