Be Sure to Try It Soon-y! – Nintendo Entertainment System – Tiny Toon Adventures – 1991

Tiny Toon Adventures (U)_001
Tiny Toon Adventures

Nintendo Entertainment System
Konami
Genre: Platformer
1991

I grew up with the Looney Tunes among other cartoons and television.  It might be more apt to say that my parents grew up with the Looney Tunes since most of the shorts I watched with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the crew were created well before my time.  There were still cartoons being produced starring those ink and pen anthropomorphic comedians but while they were teaching me the fundamentals of well-timed jokes, they were clearly having a bit of an issue reaching a younger generation.

Cut to 1990 when Warner Brothers, the company that produced Looney Tunes and the Merrie Melodies cartoons, decided that they wanted to “inject new life” into their animation department by creating a show that featured younger versions of the characters the public had come to know and love.  Alongside plenty of other shows that turned classic characters into children and babies at the time, Tiny Toon Adventures, a cartoon about the next generation of Warner Brothers’ stars in training, came to life.

As was the way at the time, once the show had proven to be remotely successful, the market was flooded with merchandise.  Stuffed dolls, lunchboxes, coloring books and, of course, video games. The first of these to hit the shelves was for the Nintendo Entertainment System a year after the cartoon had its first episodes on the air.  Given the mild phenomenon, the game arrived to mostly great reviews across the board. I had some fond memories of playing this game with my babysitter as a kid, but I know some of my other favorite games growing up have let me down as I’ve gone back to them now.

As usual, I had to figure out if Tiny Toon Adventures was one of those games that would fold under the weight of time.
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No Kick to This Routine – Super Nintendo – 3 Ninjas Kick Back – 1994

3 Ninjas Kick Back0013 Ninjas Kick Back
Super Nintendo
Malibu Interactive/Sony Imagesoft
Genre: Action Platformer
1994

Movies aimed at kids can do a multitude of things.  When you’re young, they can inspire you to try out new hobbies or interests you might not have before.  I can still remember when Rookie of the Year came out and I immediately wanted to join a T-ball league.  That’s a positive, right?

When you’re older, you tend to look back on them with fondness- even if it’s a cringe-inducing fondness that makes you realize that maybe you shouldn’t have quoted everything those kids said at recess, and now you understand why you were kept inside that one time you quoted Mouth from The Goonies.

They can also spawn a wide range of merchandise, the most important of which in the 1990s was the video game.  Films have been the basis for video games for as long as most can remember. If there’s an opportunity to turn a few extra bucks by using interactive electronic media- well, why not?  I still vividly remember the feeling that the 3 Ninjas movies left me with.  I wanted to get out there and try karate.  I wanted to fight off thugs and save the day with some friends; I’m an only child so I didn’t have two brothers to team up with.  Honestly, though, I can’t say I remember too much about the actual movies.

While I never played 3 Ninjas Kick Back growing up, I figured I could give it a swing now.  Of course with it being a licensed game, my reservations were high.  In the back of my mind, I just kept thinking that there had to be some design ideas in there that could be interesting.  At no point did I try to convince myself that it would be a good game, though.

Allow me to share my experience with you, o fellow game fan.


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A Fun and Rockey Ride – Super Nintendo – DinoCity – 1992

Dino City (U) [t1]002

DinoCity
Super Nintendo
Irem
Genre: Action Platformer
1992

During the days of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, a number of games thrived on the idea of normal people- usually kids to identify with the target audience- being transported into fantasy worlds and situations.  In a meta-sense, this doubles down on the purpose of the game itself and proved to be effective in games like Comix Zone, Monster Party, and a variety of other works.  DinoCity was a lesser known work that hasn’t garnered the same cult status as the previous two titles, but it is a game I remember vividly from my personal collection.

Heading up the dinosaur craze set forth in the 1990s, DinoCity is based on the made-for-television movie, Adventures in Dinosaur City, another lesser known film that you may have run across on a cereal fueled Saturday morning.  As a rarely referenced video game based off of an obscure kids’ film, DinoCity doesn’t seem to have left the same impression as a number of other film adaptations, but that could be for the best given the reputation of games based on movies.  How does the game stand up in the general spectrum of the Super Nintendo’s library of adaptations and platforming innovators?

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Let’s Mix It Up! – Nintendo Entertainment System – Monster Party – 1989

Monster Party (U)_001

Monster Party
Nintendo Entertainment System
Bandai
Genre: Action Platformer
1989

Early Nintendo games are not known for being horrific, at least not in the States.  Sure, some of them are dark- you don’t have to look much further than Castlevania to see that.  Where Nintendo’s prime market was located, though, was squarely in heroic fantasy.  While titles like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda were made accessible to all ages, games like Uninvited were made more accessible to a higher age bracket by way of design before the ESRB came into play.

When you find a game like Monster Party, you can be sure that some parents were a little more surprised by what they had purchased.  Yes, the box of the game shows a variety of classic looking monsters like a vampire and a fishman.  It still looks more like a budding monster movie fan’s dream title than a disturbing romp through a bizarre world of terror and blood.  Those who played the game, though, may have found otherwise.

So just how well did this game fare in the sterile land of Nintendo’s early library?

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Slick, Shiny, and Speedy – Sega Genesis – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 1992

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sega Genesis
Sega
(c) 1992
Genre: Adventure Platformer

In most cases, sequels are no contest for the original source. Plenty of game series can attest to this, and I’m sure plenty of you are thinking of a million examples as you read this. In rare cases, though, a sequel outshines its source, bringing new life to an already promising title. While this is an obvious boon to any game publisher, it doesn’t happen often enough. On that, I have to give kudos to Sega for making Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with this thought in mind.

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