Showing posts with label Looney Tunes Space Race. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Looney Tunes Space Race. Show all posts

A Quick Look At Looney Tunes Space Race

When it comes to cartoons, I’d choose Warner Bros’ Looney Tunes over their Disney counterparts any day of the week. The characters and the humour just appeal to me in a much broader sense than anything old Walt could conjure up. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the talent and the genius of Walt Disney and the countless classic cartoons and world famous characters the studio has given to the world (and of course, mainstream animation in the first place); but the slightly more adult-themed humour and overtly violent nature of the Warner Bros stable strikes more of a chord with me.
Hello? Is this thing on? Reminds me of the average DreamPod recording session...
That said, I don’t consider all of the Looney Tunes to be palatable by default. For instance, I can’t stand the Sylvester and Tweety Pie stuff (although that’s more down to the latter character than the former), and Bugs Bunny’s wisecracking does my head in; but for the most part Warner’s cartoons just hit the right balance of ‘entertainment for the kids’ and ‘there’s something here for the adults too.’ For a prime example of this, see the Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian cartoons. In more recent times though, stuff like Animaniacs, Tiny Toons and (shudder) Space Jam have also become synonymous with Warner Bros, but in 2000 the original gang got back together and hit the Dreamcast in pretty spectacular fashion with Looney Tunes Space Race.


Carrying on from yesterday’s meandering insight into my recent purchase activity, I thought today would be as good a time as any to pour scorn onto the other glittering jewels/polished turds that I have inducted into the Junkyard.

Dragon Riders: Chronicles Of Pern

Anyone seen Eragon? You know, that shit Lord of the Rings wannabe? I have – and it’s poo. Malkovich – you know where the door is. Anyway, Eragon and Dragon Riders could quite easily been separated at birth. I realize that they’re both based on books by totally different authors before some green-toothed librarian comes on here to engage in some pathetic argument, but the fact remains. But back to Dragon Riders. You play a titular Dragon Rider who lives in a magical noddy-land type place called – you guessed it! – Pern. The world is under threat from some enigmatic evil thing called Thread and it’s down to you, with the help of your dragon, t’ save t’ world, laddy. Quite how you will achieve this by wondering around sparsely populated Kokiri Village knock-offs is unclear, but that’s the aim anyhow. Dragon Riders is essentially your bog standard westernized RPG. You build up stats for your character; you get different outfits; you engage in very poorly done hand to hand combat; you go on sub-quests that involve finding things for lazy NPCs. For me though, the biggest disappointment in Dragon Riders is that YOU DON’T GET TO RIDE ON A DRAGON! 

There I was expecting some Panzer Dragoon style action – you know, blasting shit with snazzy lasers and opening up family sized cans of WHUP-ASS on terrified villagers – when all the Dragons act as are portals for getting around the map! You walk up to your Dragon, tell it where you want to go…and Whoosh! One black screen later and you’re at your destination. Pah! RUBBISH. Graphically it’s pretty good – the outside environments are quite impressive and the animation is decent although the Dragons look like they’re made out of balls of playdough. The voice acting is really rather good too – much better than in, say, Shenmue. Loading times are horrific however, so be warned. Best bit though? Have a look in the booklet. It’s got PC installation instructions in it! The lazy cunts couldn’t even be arsed to make a proper Dreamcast manual. Tsk. 6/10

Note: It would’ve been 9/10 if I could fly the Dragon and shoot flames and all kinds of crazy shit out of its mouth.

Iron Aces

Another plane based shoot ‘em up for the Dreamcast, Iron Aces differs from the rest of the pack (Aerowings 2, Deadly Skies, Incoming et al) in that it’s set during WWII. Sort of. You see, even though at its heart it is for all intents and purposes a game set during the height of the Second World War, all of the theatres are totally fictitious. Therefore, instead of fighting the Hun over the English Channel or the fields of Southern England, you shoot down Messerschmitts and attack enemy naval convoys around a made-up archipelago consisting of bizarrely named islands that are meant to represent real countries. 

So England becomes ‘Trincer,’ Germany becomes ‘Blocken,’ Japan is ‘Yamato,’ and the US is renamed ‘Valiant.’ WHY? Surely just setting the game in 1940s Europe would have been sufficient – why go to all the trouble of making up some half-arsed, contrived story to go along with a WWII game? Surely the REAL War is good enough as a backdrop? The mind well and truly boggles. Anyway, you play an unnamed young pilot in – as ever – the US Airforce. And it’s up to you to save the poor old defenseless British from the ever advancing Axis of Evil. So you hop into your fighter plane, take to the skies and dish out some pain. This being WWII and all, there are no magic homing missiles – just machine guns and bombs, so shooting down enemy planes relies more on your own skill than in Deadly Skies where you have fire and forget missiles at your behest. The thing about Iron Aces is that it’s totally unremarkable. The pace is sedentary, the graphics completely average (and very bargain basement), the sound totally pathetic. And why you have to press TWO buttons at the same time to drop a bomb is a question only the developers can answer. Also – why does the camera need to switch to a 3rd person, spinning-around-your-plane view when you do manage to drop a bomb? Where you can still control the plane? So you can inadvertently smash your plane into the sea/floor because you couldn’t see where you were going? Genius that. So to sum up: Iron Aces – weird. 5/10

Wacky Races

I was never really a fan of the Wacky Races cartoons to be honest, although Dastardly and Muttley are truly legendary creations. As far as licensed games go though, Wacky Races has got to be one of the best ever. It’s about as close as you’re gonna get to something like Diddy Kong Racing on the DC, in that you start the game by driving around a small ‘hub’ level and must drive into the different areas of the map to access races on tracks in that particular theme. I suppose the most striking thing about Wacky Races though, are the superb cell-shaded graphics. Oh, and the brilliant voice samples and sound effects deserve a mention, too. When you strip all the aesthetics away, Wacky Races is a ‘kart’ game, with loose handling, loads of suitably wacky characters (all from the cartoon series) and weapons dotted about the track that you can use to hinder the progress of your enemies. Wacky Races is a marvel to look at and all of the environs are suitably garish – although the dreaded slowdown does rear its ugly head every now and then, but it’s nowhere near as bad as that seen in Exhibition of Speed. So Wacky Races then. Amazing graphics, lots of challenge, loads of longevity. A bit of a corker really. 8/10

Looney Tunes Space Race

Cell shade overload alert! Coming from the same Infogrammes/Warner Bros stable as Wacky Races, Looney Tunes Space Race is another cell shaded racer that – dare I say it – features even better graphics! Seriously, at times you could be forgiven for thinking you were playing an actual cartoon. LTSR differs from Wacky Races in that eschews the familiar hub style setup in favour of a more traditional menu-driven system. You win races, you get tokens. Tokens are then used to ‘buy’ other cool things like challenge races or view gallery items like character models etc. What sets LTSR apart though, is that it a genuinely funny game. The voice samples are superb, and the humour is very clever – even though it is at its core a kiddies game. 

All of the old Warner Bros characters are involved, so you can ‘be’ Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosamite Sam, Bugs Bunny and Wil E. Coyote as you speed around the futuristic tracks on your stylized ACME rocket bike. Weapons play a major part in LTSR and the same love has been lavished upon them as the rest of the game, so not only do you get the bog standard homing missiles and lasers, but you can drop elephants, pianos and anvils on foes’ heads, zap them with lightening from their own personal storm cloud, or boff them in the kisser with a comedy boxing glove on a spring. Superb stuff. Gets a bit easy once you get the hang of the boost system, but LOOK AT THE FUCKING GRAPHICS! Astounding stuff. 9/10

Bust A Move 4

Fire different coloured balls up the screen. Get 3 together and they pop. If your screen fills up, it’s “GAME OVER MAN!” Cough. It’s a very simple game, with very simple graphics, but it still kicks 28 tonnes of ASS in multiplayer. Not the game to rival Chu Chu Rocket (what can?), but top fun nonetheless. The single player ‘story’ is unnecessary, as are the vomit-inducingly twee characters (please God, no more vomit), but Bust A Move 4 is a pleasant little puzzle game. And I don’t think there’s much point putting anything else. So I won’t. 6/10

Silent Scope

Oh to be a police sniper. The fame, the money, the women. Well now you can have it all! That’s right – just whack a copy of Silent Scope into your Dreamcast, and your life will be transformed! No longer will you have ‘kick me’ sellotaped to your back; or have to give the school bully your dinner money! No – you can pop a cap in his fat face from seven miles away! Well, that’s what it says in the manual anyway. Silent Scope, then. Have you seen that cool-as-fuck looking arcade machine with the big rifle and scope on it? That’s Silent Scope, that is! And here’s the Dreamcast conversion – in all it’s arcade perfect glory. It would’ve been better if they’d packaged a sniper rifle peripheral with it, but I’m pretty certain – no I AM certain – it’d never work. Basically, it’s an on-rails shoot ‘em up, but instead of using a lightgun (which could’ve worked, maybe), you have a little curser that you move around. Press the button and it zooms in, sniper style. Leaving you free to fill any passing terrorist or ne’er do well with hot lead. It’s quite good fun in small blasts, but the longevity is tainted by the fact that it’s just an arcade game. That you’re only meant to play for about 5 minutes in a bowling alley whilst you wait for your lane to free up. And at that it excels, but Silent Scope is about as deep as a supermodel’s belly button, so you’ll get bored very quickly. Like I did. And go and make a cup of tea, or a Cuppa Soup depending on your preference. 5/10

Note 2: neither of these screenshots is from the DC version. But fuck it.

On a different note, I saw a film called Kung Fu Hustle yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, go now and get it. They’ve got it in Tesco for 3 quid. It’s a ridiculous martial arts ‘comedy’ (that isn’t remotely funny), but the fight scenes are amazing. Nothing to do with the Dreamcast, I know – but just thought I’d mention it.

Also, who can beat this: whilst trying to post this update, I was confronted with the message "Safari can't connect to the server..." about 500 times. This resulted in me nearly putting my fist through a router and my laptop's moniter. Can you beat that? Entries on a postcard!

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like Its 1999...

Whilst browsing the Planet Dreamcast Forum (which I do on a worryingly regular basis), the subject of 'Dreamcast parties' came up. Now for me a party usually involves me drinking copious amounts of alcohol, until I...

a.) Throw up
b.) Get naked
c.) Soil myself (or a combination of all three...)

So as you can imagine I don't get invited out much! However, it would seem that more sober minded types actually invite large groups of friends round then crank up the old Dreamcast.

So, what games could be played at a Dreamcast party? Let's have a look at some party friendly games shall we? (Oh and I'm not suggesting you play these games sober, Fuck no!)

Samba De Amigo: OK! The obvious choice, perhaps. Before the Wii came out, the Dreamcast had taken rhythm based games to a new level. Using a pair of motion sensor maracas and a grinning, on screen dancing monkey, players could shake along to a number of tunes including the Chumbawumba classic "Tub Thumping" or my own favourite, the theme from Rocky. A series of coloured dots fly out from the middle of the screen toward points at the right or left of the screen, based at the top, bottom or middle. The object of the game involves shaking the maracas in sync with the dots and occasionally striking a pose, which matches that of an, on screen, maraca holding, stick man.

Largely heralded as an innovative and definitive Dreamcast game, Samba De Amigo saw a brief re-emergence on the PS2 as part of the Sega Superstars package. And our very own Gagaman(n) has brought a lot of traffic to the 'Yard, by postulating that this could be a perfect game for re-release on the Wii.

Watching your mates wiggling their maracas after a few shandies is very funny! For a comprehensive analysis of this particular title look here... And if you want to have a go yourself, you can buy the game and some third party maracas here...

Space Channel 5: Who could resist the gorgeous Ulala, roving reporter for the orbiting Space Channel 5? And news just in, the planet has been invaded by a fleet of funky (but evil) aliens who are hypnotising and kidnapping its inhabitants, through the medium of dance!Another rhythm game, Space Channel 5 demands you mash buttons and the D pad in the right sequence, as Ulala dances. Ulala shouts out instructions that you have to follow... ("Up, down, up, down, shoot, shoot, shoot!") The pace starts off slow, but as you progress through the levels of the game, the sequence of instructions gets more complicated and frantic.

The real party element comes from trying to remember these sequences whilst your brain becomes slowly more sozzled. The graphics and stylisation of this game are fabulous, but the music is what makes it for me. A soundtrack that could perhaps be described as "Retro-Futuristic Lounge music", plays throughout the game. If you successfully follow Ulala's directions you rescue people, if not, the aliens capture them and the music begins to distort out of tune and tempo... absolutely brilliant! Play through the levels and Michael Jackson turns up as Space Michael, but don't let that put you off...

Soul Calibur: This classic weapon based fighter has oft been celebrated on these hallowed pages, so no need to describe its game-play (See Fideo Friday). Suffice to say, that anyone can pick it up and play like an ass kicking ninja on steroids. And your friends will be so blown away by the graphics that you'll have an immediate conversation starter, about how seriously fucking great the Dreamcast is and how it never should have been beaten in the last gen console wars, by an over-hyped black DVD player from those corporate whores at Sony (Ahem!)

Chu Chu Rocket!: Four controllers, a cacophony of colours and a load of manic mice. Chu Chu Rocket! was developed by Sonic Team as the first Online game for the Dreamcast.

"ChuChu Rocket!'s multiplayer mode revolves around up to four players placing arrows on the level at once, trying to direct mice into their own rockets and cats into other players' rockets. Each player can only have three arrows on-screen at a time and cannot place them on other players' arrows or their own arrows. Although a simple concept, this quickly becomes frantic with the relentless speed of the mice and four players fighting over them." (Says Wikipedia)

What's great about this particular title, is that it's quality, but also the cheapest Dreamcast game you can buy... You'll usually be able to snag it for 99p at Gamestation. I think Sega gave it away with the Dreamcast, but as I was too stupid to get one back then you'll have to confirm that for me...

Who Want's To Be A Millionaire?: If you've seen the show, you'll know what this is, a general knowledge multiple choice quiz, where the player (up to four) can gamble ever increasing amounts of cash as questions get harder... Drinking and quizzes go great together, and it's particularly gratifying to see your mates crash and burn at £500,000 by making a cocky assertion when they could have used a life-line.
Speaking of the lifelines, "Ask the audience" gives you a graph showing the most likely answer, "50:50" cuts the multiple choice answers down from four to two. But the "phone a friend" life line is the funniest part of the game. Eidos picked the most rediculous voice actors ever to pose as your fictional chums, and their voices and accents are unintentionally hilarious. The 'dramatic' pauses intended to build up tension are a pain in the arse though, and the voice of host Chris Tarrant, can really get on your tits after a bit...

Loony Tunes Space Race: I could have chosen Wacky Races, Disney's Magical Racing or South Park Rally for this post, as all three games are based on the Mario Kart model of weapons based racing.

The thing that makes this particular game a little bit better than the rest, however, is that rather than driving a vehicle you fly a rocket! This gives the game a feeling of Wipeout, as you defy gravity around the circuit... In four player mode the game becomes hilarious as you use picked up "Acme Brand" weapons to sabotage your mate's progress. I've played this a few times with friends and its a riot if you've knocked a couple of beers back (are you noticing a recurrent theme here??)

This is just a sample of games that are party friendly... I'm sure you know loads more!

Oh! And as I've mentioned before, the Dreamcast can DJ at your party with its MP3 peripheral and a stereo hook up. Top banana!