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March 28, 2014

Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time

Hello everyone! Let's start with these little questions: What happens when you combine cartoon characters, time travel, and comic mischief? What happens when a rabbit goes back and forth in time so that he can go home? Most of all, what happens when a Nintendo fan decides to review a PlayStation game?

Chaos, that's what happens!

April Fools! Today, in celebration of the day of mischief (even if I'm ahead of time, no need to remind me), I decided I'd post something that has absolutely nothing to do with what I usually review. I am a Nintendo fan, but once in a while I got the chance to test out other consoles when I'm visiting friends. As such, I was introduced to today's game when I was very young. Much later on, I actually bought this game as a gift for another friend, who also owned a PlayStation console. I always liked this Looney Tunes game, it's so zany and crazy. I might not have ever seen it completed, but I'm sure it's awesome. This is why, today, I review a game on a console other than Nintendo, for the first time ever, and probably the last!

This is Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time. Cue the Back to the Future theme, we're gonna go time traveling with Bugs and his enemies!

Nowhere seems like not such a
bad place, huh? Carrots!
Bugs was digging underground, looking for Pismo Beach, when he realized he should have turned left at Albuquerque. He pops up in a science lab with a machine that, according to Bugs, looks like a carrot juice dispenser. He uses it, but it's actually a time machine that brings him outside of time, literally, as he ends up in a place called Nowhere. He is greeted by Merlin Monroe (Get it?), who explains that Bugs has to recover clocks through the many eras of time if he wants to go back to his own time period. He forces Bugs to go through a Tutorial level, thanks to which Bugs learns all the basics to the game. He also gets more explanation about the things he's going to be looking for through this adventure.

In all levels, Bugs can collect regular carrots, which replenish his life points. He can also hunt down golden carrots, collectible items that are kind of rare and well-hidden. Finally, whenever he completes a level or a mission, Bugs wins a clock. He can also find some around the eras he visits. There's a total of 134 clocks in this game and 120 are needed to actually beat the game. Last but not least, in the main levels, if Bugs smashes all ACME crates, he gains another clock.

Maybe the time machine is carrot-juice powered...???

A wabbit lost in the cwazy ewas of
time? I'm-a go hunt the wascal!
The first area Merlin unlocks for Bugs is the Stone Age. There, he meets up with retarded versions of Daffy and Elmer. ...Especially Elmer. For every era, Bugs accesses a small area that contain multiple rabbit holes. He selects the level by jumping into a rabbit hole. Just like how some eras are unlocked by having an amount of clocks, you also need an amount of clocks to unlock most levels beyond the main one in each era. However, most "levels" after the first in each era are actually mini-games.

So, Bugs jumps into the rabbit hole bringing him to the first official level, “Wabbit on the Run”. No points for guessing who the enemy is. There, he's facing enormous dinosaurs, natural traps and angry cavemen wearing eggshells for helmets. Luckily, Bugs can get rid of the latter by kicking their posterior. One thing you'll notice right away: The main level is each area is horribly LONG! I mean, marathon levels. If you took less than five minutes to finish the level, then you were really good or you didn't waste time on the way. I think the levels here are longer than those in Rayman: Hoodlum's Revenge! (Funny comparison, as Bugs can also float for a bit with his ears...)

Luckily, once the level is completed, Bugs unlocks a new part of the prehistoric era, called “Who Needs a Kick Start”. There, he fights Elmer, by hiding into a rabbit hole (which the moron hunter goes to inspect), coming out by another hole and kicking Elmer's butt. Kind of helps that the dumb hunter looks long enough that you can come out and attack him from behind, by kicking his... behind. You know, for a video game, it sure captured the spirit of mischief and comedy the Looney Tunes have, especially the Bugs Bunny shorts.

Can we "kick"-start a sequel to this game?

After Bugs has collected about five clocks, he unlocks the Pirate Years, where his enemy is, as you probably guessed, Yosemite Sam. The first level in that zone, titled “What's Up, Dock?”, has Bugs traveling through docks over the sea, in a very long level once more, eventually reaching Sam's ship. This time, the boss fight is at the end of the level. Bugs has to stand on a set of 3X3 platforms while Sam shoots from the cannon on his ship. He'll target the platforms Bugs is standing on, so Bugs has to jump from one to the other. After a few cannonballs, Sam will instead toss a TNT barrel, which Bugs must then kick back at him. Ka-Boom! You know, this really feels like something Bugs could do. After Sam is defeated, Bugs gets another clock, and can then move on to other levels of the Pirate Years. Among them, one has Bugs and Sam battling on pirate ships.

Explosives? thrown back at Sam? Oh, damn...
This is gonna suck. Or rather, this is gonna blow. Literally.

By the way, remember when I said earlier that the main level of each era was the longest? Well, for many eras, you'll also unlock, much later, another rather long level, which is much harder than the original. Most of those levels are unlocked after you collected a LOT of clocks, so you'll see them near the end. Also, another little thing I feel like mentioning: While our favorite rabbit has many abilities, there are some others that he must unlock. However, most of those unlockable abilities are located in the second-to-last era of the game. Some levels, at least one in every time period, require that Bugs has one of those abilities. Therefore, many levels are inaccessible until much later, which is kind of sad...

Since this is mafia we're talking about here, I'd do an
impression of Marlon Brando... Nah, it's been overdone.
Anyway, the next era Bugs visits is the Thirties, in the middle of gangster wars and criminal affairs. Poor Bugs, going from an island to a creepy neighborhood of a big city. ...That's the one thing I never quite understood about time travel: In some cases, how the Hell does the time traveler goes from one place to the other? It's as if their time travel machine also teleported them to the location of interest in that era... Which makes no freaking sense! I mean, I kind of get it in games like this one, after all we don't have time to waste on Bugs walking or digging from a part of the world to the other... But in most time travel stories, this makes no sense. Well, at least Back to the Future got that part right.

"C'm'on, Mugsy. Catch that dastardly rabbit!"
Anyway, the major level in the Thirties has Bugs stumbling upon a bank robbery caused by none other than Rocky and Mugsy. Remember those two? I think I do. Anyway, first Bugs gets stuck in the bank, which means he has to break out. As for the thugs, they head to the higher floors of the building, towards the roof, which is kinda stupid. Bugs follows the robbers through the many floors of the building, until he reaches the roof... where Rocky and Mugsy are waiting for him. Mugsy tries to catch Bugs, but the rabbit keeps running away, so Mugsy tires out. Bugs kicks the fat guy's butt, and Rocky gets angry at his bumbling underling. All Bugs has to do now is jump on Rocky to shove him in his tall hat, and then hide from the lowly little guy, because he'll shoot around madly at our hero. This has to be done a few times, and then Rocky is finally defeated.

Admit it, you smiled as you imagined the scene I just described. Okay, here is the second part of the level. This video belongs to Youtube user maxpkfreerunning.

Among other levels in this time era, there's also a race against the mafiosi, and a fight against the bull from the famous bullfight episode. Gotta love comedic cruelty against dangerous animals. Cute, harmless, weak animals getting hit, I don't like, but dangerous animals, now that's a bit more acceptable.

Once Bugs collects 30 clocks, he unlocks the next time period, which is the Medieval Ages. Who's the villain, this time around? Witch Hazel, of course! Remember her?

...Yeah, me neither.

Did they build their freaking castle over a volcano???
Anyway, this level takes place around a castle and a medieval town. There's everything you'd expect in such a zone, even Daffy Robin Hood. And dragons. And knights who will somehow be harmed from Bugs Bunny's kicks... Wait a second, dragons? Oh, yeah. And lava. Within the freaking castle. Oh yeah, there's also a zone in this level where you are hunting down Hazel, and she keeps attacking with magic spells and all sorts of traps. Gosh, I hated seeing that part.

Also, you cannot get all clocks and golden carrots in this level unless you get the Magic Melody ability. Oh, and ANOTHER special ability is required to reach MORE clocks and golden carrots. You know, I think it would have been a better idea for this game if it gave each new ability at each next era; one in the Pirate Years, one in the Thirties, one in the Medieval Age... It would have been a whole lot better instead of getting them all in this world, the fourth one, far into the game. It's kind of a pain.

Once our favorite bunny gets 40 clocks, he unlocks Dimension X, the final world. Guess where it takes place? IN SPAAAAAAAAACE! On Mars, in Marvin the Martian's lair! ...This further proves my theory that time travel also transports you to the location of interest in that era. Wait, if Bugs was transported to Mars, that's because in the future, there's nowhere to go on Earth... I think Earth has vanished in that future... Guess Marvin can finally see Venus without any problem... *gulp*.

Anyway, this level is the most annoying one, as Bugs has to travel around many level parts that are linked together by tubes. It's a real maze in there, which makes it difficult to find everything. Then again, maze levels can be fun, when you have an idea of where you're going... At the end, Bugs doesn't quite kill Marvin by himself; instead, he pulls a trick on him. Marvin's hiding on a platform that cannot hold much weight, so Bugs directs a few green aliens on Marvin's platform to make it fall. Simple, but kind of a lame, lame final battle.

Though arguably, it IS one of the most visually interesting levels in the game.

After that point, Bugs must still go around, find all the clocks, all the ACME crates and all the golden carrots. Once he's collected 120 clocks, he can finally go back home. At last! And if he finds absolutely everything, you get the true ending. Bugs arrives in his time period, walks by a farmer talking to a hat-wearing horse called Merlin... and for a second, thought that his troubles weren't over.

What. The. Hell.

This was kind of lame. I mean, I wasn't expecting high art (this is a Looney Tunes game for the PlayStation 1, after all). But I was expecting something funnier than that.

Kind of a downer for such a... Not great, not exactly “good”, somewhere between good and okay... Yeah, is there was a term between good and okay, this game would correspond to it. It's a fine one if you want to play a PlayStation game from the time when it looked barely better than Nintendo 64 graphics. In fact, for the time, this game looked just okay (I mean, it's based on a cartoon, so of course the characters aren't too detailed). Yeah, when we compare it to the visual prowess the newer PlayStation systems give to us, it's kind of a downer... The environments are relatively detailed, though. The music is maybe a tad forgettable.

For its plot and gameplay, call it a good time-waster.
The story is “meh” at best, forgettable at worst. Again, this is Looney Tunes we're talking about, the realm of predominant slapstick comedy and nonsense. There's just so many places you can go with concepts like Bugs getting lost in time. As a result, you won't play this game for the plot, you'll play it for the comedy. And damn is there a lot of comedy in this game.

The many missions seem designed to benefit the use of slapstick and cartoony antics. Kicking Elmer's posterior, tossing a barrel of explosives back at Sam, shoving Rocky into his own tall hat... by jumping on him... Yeah, this game wanted to use as much comedy as possible. And it shows, as many missions are mini-games based on cartoon antics from the Looney Tunes shorts. One even mimics the whole “Rabbit Season/Duck Season” joke. The choice of missions is very varied, though it's kind of annoying that many of them take a while before being unlocked. Then there's the special abilities slowing down your progress, the regular levels which are way too freaking long... Those are two major problems with the game.

See, when I read other reviews for this, I hear that it gets compared to Super Mario 64. I can see the resemblance. Two games, SM64 released in 1996, Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time in 1999 I think. Both require the character to collect a kind of special item (stars and clocks/golden carrots) in order to unlock more levels, more zones. And then there are some special abilities to be unlocked for the character to progress further. Yeah, there's definitely a resemblance. But let's face it, Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time doesn't do things just as well as they were done in Super Mario 64. Less worlds to explore, levels much harder to unlock, abilities more difficult to master. Or too many abilities, making it a mess.

There's also some puzzles if you can't stand action for too long.

Should you buy this game? Um... Only if you're a major Looney Tunes fan. If you're not, I recommend you don't buy it, though I still recommend you give it a try someday. Rent it, have fun. The comedic possibilities of the Looney Tunes have opened for you, so enjoy them. Just don't look too deep for a plot or for any logic... You know it's the Toons, there's no logic there.

Unless you count the fact that Marvin might very well have achieved his world destruction plan...

Talking about mad men, next week is a big review that starts. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This will be so epic, I Zant wait! Er, I meant, I can't wait!