Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster’s Hidden Treasure (Genesis) Review

The Short

Pros

– Fun platformer on the Genesis with all the Tiny Toons dudes

– And by “all” I mean “you only play as Buster”

– A weird mix between Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World

– Game is challenging but fair, making for an entertaining experience

– Graphics look great, and the music is top notch

– Bosses are fun and the game is just the right length

– Tons of secrets to find

– Passwords! At least they are short!

Cons

– Sometimes wants to be Sonic a bit too much, without conveying the whole “speed” thing

– Buster’s default walking speed is “not very quick”

– A few cheap jumps

– Game can get pretty difficult near the end

– The “slide” move is pretty much useless

– Still has the stupid Tiny Toons theme on a loop on the first level

Yep, it’s another Tiny Toons game

The Long

I don’t know what is is, but for some reason I’m gravitationally pulled towards any Tiny Toons games I find when out game shopping. I have no idea why this is; maybe it’s because I really enjoyed the first Tiny Toons Adventures game despite its flaws? The point being: whenever I find a Tiny Toons game, even if I’ve never played or even heard of it before, I usually end up buying it. Good thing there aren’t very many of these (two on the NES, two on the Genesis, and one on the SNES).

Anyway, Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster’s Hidden Treasure was the Genesis offering from Konami, continuing the franchise’s core design idea of “rip off a more popular game and just don’t quite do it as well.” For Tiny Toons Adventures on the NES it was Mario 3. For Buster’s Hidden Treasure, it was Sonic the Hedgehog…sort of.

Hey, a world map! This looks familiar!

The “plot” is…nonexistant. It doesn’t tell you what is going on. After digging around I found out Buster’s buddies have all been kidnapped on this island, and you’ve got to bust (ha ha! PUNS) them all loose. Well, except Gogo Dodo, that weird plant guy with an umbrella for a hat. He’s just the guy who is at the end of the level, so I guess he didn’t get caught. Alrighty then.

You pretty much just fight your way through nine worlds, each with one to six levels on them. Simple enough. We don’t need no plot in our Tiny Toons games!

This game looks pretty stinkin’ good.

As mentioned, Buster’s Hidden Treasure takes a few nods from Sonic the Hedgehog, though while I was playing it I also got some weird Jazz Jackrabbit vibes. Basically Buster accelerates the more he moves, before sprinting forward at super speeds (completely with the “spinning feet” look that Sonic’s feet turn into when he’s running fast). Some parts of the game require you to push back on springs to go up ramps, others have springboards that send you sailing. There’s secret underground areas where you can backtrack for more carrots or hearts, and while there is a focus on going fast there’s also a lot of platforming and several ways through the level. See, totally a Sonic game.

The difference is that Buster’s Hidden Treasure isn’t…fast. It isn’t a speedy game like Sonic is. While you do get some speed at some points that isn’t the goal of the game, and there aren’t any sections where you just zoom ahead and watch what is going on like it’s a cutscene (which Sonic has plenty of). The game is a bit slower and much more platform focused, with tricky jumps and tons of enemies you have to jump on to kill. It’s actually more like a fusion between Sonic and Super Mario World, only without the powerups. Or Yoshi. Or coins. Or Tails.

I see where you get your inspiration, Konami.

Despite Konami apparently making it a trend to ape aspects from the hit games of the consoles it’s on, Buster’s Hidden Treasure is actually…pretty dang good. The mix of speed and platforming (as well as optional paths) is just the right balance, there are tons of secrets, and the game is never too difficult or too easy. Unlike Tiny Toons Adventures on NES, you have three lives this time, and hearts are reasonably plentiful if you screw up. Though, like Sonic, if you fall on spikes its an instant kill.

Platforming feels great, and there are even a few options. You can go into a slide (which is useless; I never used it), and you can also find hidden objects that you can use to bomb everything on the screen. I honestly never really used these “nukes,” but it’s neat they are there.

What’s weird is this game doesn’t give you lives for picking up carrots. Instead, every fifty you get gives you one of those nukes. At the end of a level, you get to keep the nukes but the number you have stockpiled gives you more points (die and you lose all your bombs). Get enough points, and then you’ll get an extra life. It’s weird and not normal for these kinds of games, but it still works.

This game is very colorful and – dare I say it – toony.

The solid gameplay is complimented by it’s fantastic graphics. Bright cartoony sprites mixed with some downright beautiful backdrops make for a very appealing game to look at. Animations are fluid and enemies all look fantastic as well. They did good with the colors in this game, making it visually impressive throughout.

The music is also great, though for some reason it did the thing where the first handful of levels is just the Tiny Toons theme song over and over. Which is fine (and fun to compare the Genesis rendition to that on the NES), but man it gets annoying.

You have found the ultimate secret.

Buster’s Hidden Treasure isn’t perfect. It borrows heavily from better games, making a product that really isn’t better than the sum of its parts. Despite this, the parts are fantastic, and the fair difficulty, good graphics, and mesh of multiple genre ideas result in a game that is quite a bit of fun. I’m willing to bet plenty of people overlook this game on the Genesis simply because it’s just another licensed game, but if you can find it for cheap (I got my copy for $3) it’s absolutely worth picking up.

If only they’d taken it a bit further, it could easily be ranked amongst Mario and Sonic. Four out of five stars. 

And they all lived something after something. Until they played the SNES Tiny Toons game.

Author: Nathan Major

Spirit Shark: Hammerhead. Retro game collector, true ginger, and SNES fanatic. Goal in life is to become Karnov from the NES game Karnov.

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