As yet another licensed platformer and watered-down port from the Genesis/MegaDrive original, I was a bit skeptic. Even though Looney Tunes was okay, it wasn’t great, and my low expectations turned out to be right: this game downright stinks. The review could end here, but since I already spent
€12 too much on the game, I might just as well have a bit of fun by ranting here.
As soon as you boot up the game, you’re greeted with a cheerful 8-bit interpretation of the Tom & Jerry main theme, which is pleasant enough. That is only there to fool the player: during the rest of the game, you’re force-fed an amalgam of annoying to downright awful tunes that just don’t make any sense. Of course, these are recycled. Of course. Okay, turn the music off and start playing?
This is an uninspiring 2D platformer, so the first thing that—okay, okay, the second thing then—immediately becomes apparent is how bad Tom or Jerry handles. Jumps are super high, making it difficult to time your fall with the reduced resolution of the Game Boy. Furthermore, Tom or Jerry have the tendency to move mid-air and float off-direction. In levels where the house is on fire and the moving camera urges you to press on, this is not a lot of fun.
As in Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry on the Game Boy uses only an MBC1 chip, meaning ROM space is very limited. It makes me a bit upset to be honest, especially considering the game was released in 1993, four years after the Game Boy appeared on the market. It gives the impression that the devs (or the publisher) didn’t want to put in a lot of effort—and judging by the end result, indeed they didn’t. The game uses a password system, but I’ve only had to write down two, and before I knew it, the game was over. There were exactly three bosses that were quickly dealt with by… rolling against them, which can only be done by a weird combination of running and pressing down.
The sprite work is abysmal, as you can see in the above screenshots. It looks like Beam Software forgot to think about checkerboard patterns and backgrounds to give the game a much needed dynamic look. Instead, everything is either white or black, with lots of jagged edges. It doesn’t help that there are only a couple of enemy types. Why are juggling clowns dangerous—and why do they also appear in a lot of levels before the actual carnival one?
The game is more or less a (very poor) port of a mediocre Genesis/MegaDrive game and contains the same levels, but without any of the neater animations, sprite work, and even abilities, as Tom can throw stuff in there. If you’re set on trying a Tom & Jerry game, go for the 16-bit one instead:
I don’t know why the Game Boy version is called Frantic Antics! The Chaos Continues—it’s the same game, although you have to look very hard to see it. For those who are content with awful jumps, bland level design, and irritating music, there’s at least one thing to look forward to: in each Tom & Jerry level, you can hunt down 4 pieces of a cookie that is usually accessible by walking through walls. Don’t expect “the thrill of the hunt” like discovering secrets behind breakable Castlevania-esque walls, though.
To conclude, this isn’t worth anyone’s time, even though it only takes an hour.