Have your parents ever told you to not play in traffic? If so, then Taz-Mania is the Super Nintendo game for your inner rebel. You play as Taz, the infamous spinning semi-star of Looney Tunes, and later star of his own cartoon, Taz-Mania (on which this title is based). As Taz, you run on foot through the busy streets of the Tasmanian outback, scarfing up a set number of tiny yellow grounded birds in each of the game’s fifteen levels. After you’ve eaten your assigned number of birds (ranging from 3-20), Taz passes out in the middle of the road and vomits all he has eaten as your score is totaled.
These fifteen levels of kiwi (as the diminutive birds are called)-munchin’ fun are divided into five stages. At the end of each stage is a bonus level in which you try to devour the most of any given creature (either kiwis, small flying blue birds, or spear-toting rats) as you can in one minute’s time. People who watched the cartoon in its heyday (or in present time on video cassette) will recognize such characters as Digeri Dingo, Wendel T. Wolf, and Francis X. Bushlad, but to anyone else, they will be nothing more than anonymous enemies. They, along with other enemies, and geographical detriments like bottomless holes, are all that impede Taz from getting his dinner. Unfortunately for the player who wants a run in the easy lane, they’ll do more damage than you’d expect. Take this scenario as an example:
You’re running merrily along a dirt path, not a care in the world except for a burning desire to fill up your empty tummy with the delectable kiwis, when you hear the screech of a pterodactyl overhead. You, overflowing with confidence due to having a full health meter, think nothing of it; the only way he can reach you is if you jump into the air, because the pterodactyl can only grab devils at a specific elevation. The ground beneath you suddenly rises, and before you even notice, the pre-historic bird-wannabe snatches you up and carries you backwards in the level. You attempt to wiggle free, but see the female Tasmanian devil below you, and think better of it.
You go a little further back and, thinking you’re safe, wiggle free. You fall to the ground and are immediately assaulted by Wendel T. Wolf, who jumps on your back and throws his hands over your eyes. You do a spin move and throw him off, but by that time, the she-devil is upon you, kissing Taz on the cheek. This kiss of death ends the level for you, despite that you still have a full health meter.
A girl’s kiss ends the level for you.
A metaphor for life? Yeah, I think so.
Anyway, this example (besides providing Earth-shattering evidence to support that girls are pure evil adorned with boobs) shows that the enemies by themselves might not be so harmful, but if you don’t pay attention, you’ll have more trouble with this game than you really should.
Graphically and audio-ly speaking, this game is behind most other Super Nintendo titles. The sound effects are petty and bland, and the music is overly simplified. Also, the soundtrack on some levels is not consistent with the pace at which you must play this game in order to succeed—i.e., it’s too slow. In addition, the graphics can be aptly described with the phrase “helluva primitive”; all of the levels look virtually the same, except that some have white blotches plastered all over them to represent snow, and others have MS Paint-inspired straight black lines to represent rain. The levels seem to be randomly generated, so that could explain the lack of graphical diversity, but even so, it ain’t pretty.
Also of concern for Taz-Mania are the controls. When Taz gets knocked silly by an oncoming truck or stationary sign, the player must wiggle the d-pad around to bring him back to reality. This is a trifle annoying (why can’t he get up on his own…?), but it’s not so much a problem as the unresponsive jump button. When you’re playing a game that requires split-second timing, it generally helps if the button you need to push works 100% of the time, not the 65% or so that exists in Taz-Mania. Also, this is more of a personal preference than an actual fault, games should be paused using the start button, not select. It goes against the grain of virtually every other video game for the NES and up.
Despite its numerous shortcomings, I can assure you that you’ll have a grand time playing Super Nintendo’s Taz-Mania. There’s something unexplainably addicting about munching up those pesky birds, and the game can easily be completed in one sitting. All of the faults I’ve mentioned, with the exception of the controls, are purely aesthetic, and thus do not detract from the game’s fun at all. I nabbed this sucker at GameStop for eight bucks, and if you have the opportunity to do the same, I definitely recommend that you do. It’s a fun way to kill an hour or two.