- A story mode, two full sports games, and three mini-games. Pretty feature-rich for a Genesis game!
- Can be played two-player for some sports fun
- Controls are tight and characters have unique powerups
- Graphics look fantastic
- Bulk of the mini-games are just bland copies of popular games
- AI can be a little stupid
- While playing against friends is quite fun, the longevity of it is debatable
I have a certain affinity for Tiny Toon games (as evidenced by previous reviews), going so far is to personally attempt to seek out and buy every Tiny Toon game in existence (there aren’t a lot, but I’m getting there). In my quest for retro Tiny Toon stuff, I stumbled upon this game: ACME All-Stars. When I popped it in to discover it was a sports game, I was a bit…disappointed. I mean, considering how the previous Tiny Toon game on the Genesis was a pretty dang good platformer, I was hoping this would have been more of the same. Besides…sports games? On the Genesis? Um…we have plenty, thanks.
In Konami we trust, I suppose (well, not anymore), because ACME All-Stars is not only a great sports game, but the Tiny Toons flare only goes to make it one of the best cartoon sports games until Mario does every sport ever in the Gamecube era. Read on for the breakdown.
ACME All-Stars has five games in total, with a story mode that basically just strings them all together and isn’t getting mention aside from this sentence. It has two “main event” sports (soccer and basketball) and three minigames (obstacle course, whack-a-mole, and bowling). Similar to my 4 Quattro Sports review, let’s just hit ’em all up individually (and hope things go better than in that review).
Soccer is…well, soccer. You get to draft a team of three ‘toons and a goalie (whom you have minimal control over; you play primarily offence and defense players). Using the three Genesis buttons you can pass, shoot, or do a slide/steal attack to nab the ball from somebody else. What makes the game special (beside the fantastic and responsive controls) is each character has their own power-up that you can use once you fill the meter at the bottom of their portrait. Each is wholly unique: Roadrunner (obviously) goes fast, Dizzy spins and becomes invincible, and so on. Anvils fall, some characters even don robot suits for wanton destruction; it’s all fantastic fun. The game, as mentioned before, controls great and the character power-ups are a hoot. Two-player, in particular, is a fantastic video game soccer experience, and I’d go so far as to compare it to Super Mario Strikers on the Gamecube (though, obviously, toned down due to system hardware).
Basketball is, frankly, fundamentally the same. See…when you distill down most sports into video game form, you don’t see much difference between stuff like basketball/soccer/hockey. But it doesn’t really matter; the control is essentially the same and the game functions similarly. You assemble a team (based on superpowers, I’d imagine) and duke it out to see who is the best b-baller this side of the tiny toons tracks. I should probably also mention here that both the soccer and the basketball games have a plethora of stages (I swear over nine each), and while they don’t change the game up any it is cool to go different places. Basketball is, as you guessed, pretty fun. It’s like Konami was good at making sports games on the NES or something.
The trio of minigames are…well…not great. Obstacle Course is similar to the button-mashy type of games in Track and Field, with a little more control as you dodge crap on the course. It’s stupidly simple and exceptionally bland; avoid it.
Whack-a-mole is…just that. You run around as a character smacking down toons popping out of holes. It’s tedious. Pass.
Bowling is the only minigame worth playing, and even then it’s basically just your traditional top-down 16-bit bowling game. It’s decent and totally functional (and you get to play as Buster so…bonus points?) but aside from that…it’s just bowling. Good for a few rounds (and the pins explode if you get a strike, which I enjoyed) but not much beyond that.
As you can probably see, the graphics in the game are quite good. They’re certainly on par with Buster’s Hidden Treasure, and the animations are extremely fluid and the game is bright and colorful. I usually prefer SNES graphics to Genesis graphics (it does depend on the game, but the Genesis seems to have a lot of muddy-colored games), but this game breaks the rule wonderfully. It’s vibrant and really eye-catching, with each of the toons looking nearly as good as they do in the TV show. It’s something else.
Sound is also decent, though the music isn’t exactly anything to write home about. You get the usual Tiny Toons theme song on the title screen and the rest is just unmemorable. Still, sound effects are decent, and I particularly enjoy the sounds of many of the power-ups.
So…is ACME All-Stars worth grabbing? Well, if you like 16-bit sports games and the Tiny Toons (or recent Mario style sports games), I’d say…absolutely! While it isn’t going to be super memorable (and let’s be honest, few sports games stand the test of time with a few exceptions [*coughKingsoftheBeachcoughBladesofSteelcough*]), the power-ups and easy controls make it a fun two-player diversion. If you have friends that enjoy cartoony sports games, its certainly worth the $5 or whatever absurdly cheap price you can find cartridges for these days.
My only complaint (aside from the bad minigames and the fact basketball and soccer are like…the same game in video game form) is the longevity of it all. While I enjoy sports games (particularly when playing with a friend), playing this one against AI is pretty bland, and even with a person you’ll probably tire of it after a few rounds. It’s a fun game to pop in, play for a while with a friend, and then put away for a few months until you do it again. Which, truth be told, is the best you can say for most retro-style sports games.
For what it does, it does it reasonably well. But you have to be in the mood for something particular (read: a sports game), so just be aware of that going in.