Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters (PS) (2000)
Developer: Artificial Mind and Motion
Review by Faididi and Co.
"Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time 2"
Bugs Bunny's time-travelling days are far from over. Not long after returning home from his previous outing, our witty, long-eared hero is tasked by Granny with cleaning up the damage caused by Daffy Duck's catastrophic destruction of a time regulating machine. Trying her best to help, Granny also sends Taz along with Bugs, even though the two normally don't get along together. The story is of typical zany Looney Toons fare, with the classic jokes we all come to expect.
Developed by Artificial Mind and Motion, Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters is the sequel to the Looney Toons series' first 3D action adventure, Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time. Our heroes will explore 5 expansive worlds (one of which is a hub that connects to the other four), collecting the scattered parts of the broken time regulator. However, this isn't just another Mario 64 clone; it's a 2-Player thrill ride.
You've read that right. Time Busters features simultaneous 2-Player support. Not utilizing any splitscreen view, it focuses the camera on just one hero at a time, but you can switch the camera between Bugs and Taz whenever you want. Although this setup may seem strange at first, keeping both heroes on the screen isn't difficult, thanks to the free teleporting ability that the offscreen hero can use to regroup with his partner. What would've been cheesy in another game makes perfect sense in this Looney Toons setting, and it preserves a full-screen view that makes taking in the breadth of the colorful worlds that much easier.
As for Bugs and Taz themselves, their contrasting traits translate surprisingly well into such a team-oriented adventure. Bugs excels at movement, being able to spin his ears like helicopter blades to extend his jumps, and he can sneak silently past certain enemies. Taz is the brute force of the pair, having his trademark whirlwind attack that can beat up enemies more quickly, and he can push objects that are too heavy for Bugs to move. The best part is when the two need to combine their skills to overcome obstacles. For example, Taz can dig a hole through some tough dirt, allowing Bugs to burrow underground, from where he can push a platform up from beneath, letting the two reach a high ledge. The heroes also earn more abilities as they progress, such as a carrot-shooting attack for Bugs and a special throwing maneuver for Taz. Blending Looney Toons humor into the new multiplayer realities, Bugs and Taz don't lose a "life" until they both get wasted, and a defeated hero can be playfully brought back if his partner finds the Acme delivery crates. (But, what ever happened to Mr. Coyote?)
The level and enemy designs are inspired, bringing new interactive life to the beloved show's classic material. The worlds are set at a pleasant mountain valley, an Aztec city, a viking village, an Arabian marketplace, and a Transylvanian town, while the bosses include favorites like Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, and Count Bloodcount. The minigames are simple yet varied, including ball games, memory games, plate-balancing acts, monkey-hunting challenges, and even rides on a fire-breathing dragon.
The controls, including those for the camera, are responsive and intuitive. Walking, running, jumping, climbing, swimming, attacking, and using the special skills are all a breeze to do.
Graphics: Above Average
Except for some stiff-looking walking animations, the visuals are worthy of its source inspiration. Bugs, Taz, Daffy, Granny, Tweety, and the rest of the characters are brightly rendered, and the environments are richly textured. The flowing landscapes' vastness is enhanced by the impressive draw distance.
Audio: Above Average
The dialogue is plentiful and delivered well, and the immediately recognizable sound effects are taken straight out from the cartoon series. Strange then is the music bearing so little of the Looney Toons style. While the tunes for the worlds are inspired at times, they tend to lie on the quiet and serious side, instead of opting for the lighthearted, goofy tones associated with the show.
Despite the stigma of being a sequel as well as a cartoon-based game, Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters is a noteworthy step in the genre of 3D action adventures. Its friendly 2-Player mode, varied level and enemy designs, and engaging puzzles make it perfect for those wanting an adventure that can be enjoyed together with friends and family.