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Looney Tunes: Variety in Tune Land

The name of the game, Looney Tunes, might confuse people, since it’s simply named after the popular cartoon show that began its highly successful renaissance in the late eighties. By the early nineties, there was no way to avoid Looney Tunes merchandising—including the obligatory Game Boy carts. While some games, such as Sylvester & Tweety, involve a specific character or two of the Looney Tunes cast, this game involves a more diverse set—albeit still a subset.

In Looney Tunes, you make your way though different stages as Daffy Duck, Tazmania, Speedy Gonzales, the Roadrunner, etc. What makes this game great is the sheer diversity of the gameplay—not only the spritework. The first stage starts innocent enough as a simple 2D platformer with wonky physics, but then the game throws a few surprises into the mix: a first-person run chase scene, a SCHMUP level that suddenly has you blasting planes out of the sky, and a destroy-and-collect-a-thon Taz scene. Coming from a 1992 Game Boy cartridge with only 1 memory bank (just 128 kB), I did not see this coming!

The first stage with Daffy Duck.
The first stage with Daffy Duck.

The sprite work is lovely too, and the game handles plenty of enemies on screen without problems. Each stage has several sub-bosses and a big boss that requires the obligatory (and multiple) head-pounce to defeat. At one point, Bugs Bunny and Daffy have Frisbee-like weapons that work wonders while jumping as they ricochet back towards the player. Every Looney Tunes stage even comes with its own catchy tune—of course, “tune”, get it? No? Silly jokes aside, this isn’t a given for the majority of the licensed Tunes games, to the point of obnoxiousness (take the 2000 GBC game Looney Tunes Racing for example).

There isn’t much else to tell, really. The game is, like most 1992 Game Boy games, very short, and has no save feature, nor a password system implemented. You’ll have to make your way through in one sitting, just like the first Super Mario Land. Except that this game was released three years later. The music and the graphics have arguably improved over the original SML, but in terms of length, Sunsoft could have gone the extra mile. I guess manufacturing a cart with only one memory bank PCB optimizes sales, and in lieu of the big nineties Looney Tunes merch machine, it makes sense. At least the game cart is still cheap now: about €10 on average.

Being chased by a black and white cat---again?
Being chased by a black and white cat---again?

I want to rate it 4/5 but the sometimes frustrating difficulty that drove me into save-state-scumming past a few slippery portions (controlling the protagonist invites cursing the physics) combined with the fact that it’s simply too short makes Looney Tunes overall a great but forgettable experience. It simply can’t match the other big boys also released in ‘92 such as Super Mario Land 2 and Kirby’s Dream Land, even though those games were also short. I don’t see myself visiting this game any time soon, although I did enjoy playing through it.

Still, it’s better than the first Super Mario Land. And that does say something.

That’s all folks! *insert tune here*.

Verdict: 3/5 —Good.

Categorized under: 2D Platformer


I'm Jefklak, a high-level Retro Gamer, and I love the sight of experience points on old and forgotten hardware. I sometimes convince others to join in on the nostalgic grind. Read more about The Codex here.

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