The thing I love most about the Game Boy library is how many amazing games can be had at a great price. I know that’s sort of the general idea with Yokoi Kids, but I think it’s worth repeating. There are certainly more than a few duds, and playing some games on the original system is nothing more than a lesson in headache management, but the number of times I’ve picked up a $5-$10 game and been blown away happens much more often for the portable brick than any other system. Sunsoft’s Looney Tunes is one of these cases. It’s affordable, offers up a fair challenge, and has plenty of varied gameplay.
For those of a certain age, you’ll remember that Looney Tunes were incredibly popular in the 90s. Perhaps reaching its fever-pitch by 1996 with the theatrical release of Space Jam, they had regular syndication on TV and were featured on anything marketable. If you didn’t own a baggy t-shirt of Bugs and Taz wearing a baggy t-shirt, you had a friend who did. I think a lot of this pre-millennium fanfare can equally be dedicated to the number of shows paying a sort of homage to the brand. The Simpsons hit primetime in 1989, emphasizing the ‘radical “don’t have a cow, man” dudeness’ of Bart Simpson, a character surely owing at least a portion of his inspiration to Bugs Bunny. Tiny Toon Adventures, a show that served almost as an update or continuation of Looney Tunes, debuted in 1990. Even Animaniacs, hitting screens in 1993, was a direct inspiration to the success of Tiny Toons and its parent material. With the popularity of the me-centric surfer attitude of the 80s and 90s, it only seems natural that we would see Looney Tunes make a comeback during this time.
Looney Tunes for the original Game Boy was developed and published by Sunsoft and saw release in 1992. Though a version for the Game Boy Color (it takes everything within my Canadian fingers not to add the ‘u’) was released in 1999, we’re sticking to the original here. I’ve never played the colour version, but as far as I know the only change to gameplay is the addition of a few mini-games with the core experience remaining the same.
It’s a pretty basic experience when all is said and done. Get from the start of the level while avoiding or killing enemies to get to the end. The cool part is that each level is sort of shaped as its own mini-episode, with unique mechanics, characters, and more. Daffy Duck’s stages are platformers where you can attack enemies with a returning disc, Tweety’s stages are platformers where you are flying and being chased, Porky Pig’s are a freakin’ side-scrolling shooter. While most of the stages are platformers, they’ve all got a unique look and feel that make this a fantastic game in terms of variety. While certainly not the easiest platformer, you aren’t playing with instant death and the stages are pretty simple to memorize after a few tries. It’s one of those games that might take a while to beat the first time through but has that same ‘Mario 1-1’ feeling after a bit. The presentation for the game is fantastic. Graphics are simple but stylized and cartoony. The sound effects are solid, and there are some great tunes on here. Seriously, Porky’s music slaps.
All in all, I really think you need to give this game a try. While games like Gremlins 2 and even Speedy Gonzales can give you pause on licensed platformers on Gameboy, this one is incredibly solid and shows that it can be done right.
D’Arcy is an educator and gamer from BC, Canada. He’s been gaming his entire life and enjoys both new and retro games. His consoles of choice are Game Boy, PS3, and Switch.You can follow his gaming online @darcyska_gaming