Licensed games—perhaps especially Looney Tunes games—are known to be mediocre games best left forgotten. For the most part, that statement is correct. But in the case of Sylvester & Tweety (Or Looney Tunes: Twouble! in USA), it could be argued that this isn’t true at all. Judging from the cheap cartridge prices on this one, most people would disagree. Still, it’s perhaps worth it to take a closer look. Should we go on the run or run out to get the game?
Sylvester & Tweety starts as a boring conventional 2D action platformer that so many other Sunsoft Looney Tunes games fall victim to. But after the Sylvester-chases-Tweety scene is over, you’re suddenly transported into the house of Granny, and among with it, the gameplay changes completely. You still control Sylvester in the search of Tweety—to, of course, eat the bird—but these levels are much more “puzzly”, perhaps reminiscent of the Game Boy’s Monster Max.
The game is developed by Spanish studio Bit Managers. You might know them from the French/Belgian comic Game Boy games such as various Tintin and Asterix releases. Sylvester & Tweety is together with Turok 2—another one by Bit Managers—the first third party Game Boy Color game ever released.
In order to get to Tweety, you usually have to go through a set of simple but enjoyable puzzles. For instance, a balloon is getting in the way, and to pop it, you have to find a pencil, a sharpener, and press the “combine” button. Or create your own wind-up mouse and fireworks to shoot yourself to the next area over those deadly spikes. While collecting these items, Sylvester has to avoid enemies patrolling the area and static spikes. Each level has a unique look-and-feel but they all play out the same: whether it’s dogs or skunks patrolling, and spikes or broken glass lying on the ground blocking your way.
The game doesn’t control too fluently, but since the pacing isn’t the issue, I didn’t mind. After each puzzle level, a short chase sequence breaks up the gameplay and is a nice change of pace. Of course, in the end, Tweety escapes, resulting in yet another level (six in total that will keep you busy for a few hours, more than the average GB platformer).
The cartridge is a black one, being also compatible with the original Game Boy. Although you will be missing out: the colors make it much easier to discern object from background. The collect-and-combine-a-thon reminded me of Dizzy adventure games: in Breakfast on the Run, Sylvester can only hold two items. If you screw things up (e.g. light that firework in the wrong place), you’ll have to go all the way back and re-collect all components, which will respawn. If you happen to eat four tins of tuna among the way, the life counter will increase by one—great!
Every level has a unique challenge, albeit not too different: the toy factory levels have bouncing balls and shooting aliens, the cellar levels have broken pipes with loose steam, etc. Too bad that these changes are only cosmetic: the gameplay stays largely the same: avoid, collect, and press on. That said, the game isn’t too difficult, although a sloppy timed jump will inevitably end up in the spikes. The garden level with the large bushes made it troublesome to detect where I should land the jump, resulting in a lot of unnecessary lost lives.
In the end, I think Breakfast on the Run might be one of those underrated games that you might have passed up on precisely because it contained the words Looney Tunes on the box back in 1998. Don’t let that stop you from experiencing this game with unique gameplay mechanics—especially on the Game Boy Color, there’s not a lot out there besides conventional platforming. I even liked the music, even if it was quite simple: it never felt annoyingly repetitive like in the Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle games.
And you get to eat a tasty yellow bird while you’re at it.
Verdict:/5 I really liked it!