Saturday 26 December 2020

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle (NES review)

Developer: Kemco
Publisher: Seika
Released: 1989

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle is an action-puzzler that was also released on the Nintendo Game Boy (1990).

There's 60 stages and the objective in each is to collect all of the carrots while avoiding enemies. Bugs Bunny is unable to jump, but can utilise various items to outwit foes such as a Boxing Glove punch and crates that can be pushed off ledges to squash them. By far the biggest issue are the controls, as Bugs' momentum carries him forward after landing from a fall; this usually results in an unfair death, despite you furiously pressing the opposite direction in a futile attempt to avoid an incoming enemy. Similarly, trying to ascend or descend staircases is a nightmare as your inputs are occasionally ignored. Another annoyance is the fact that Bugs needs to be far towards the edge of the screen in order for it to scroll; this limits your visibility and can lead to some cheap deaths when foes suddenly appear from nowhere. Things do unintentionally even themselves up though, as the enemy A.I. is incredibly dumb and you can easily force them to an advantageous position for yourself; in fact, they'll often face you, only to turn around and walk straight off a platform edge! The changing locales after each handful of stages is welcomed, but the backgrounds are so drab and uninteresting that they create little in terms of visual stimulation. I do like the addition of travel-based pipes to add some gameplay variety though, as well as the inclusion of vertically scrolling stages, but they don't mix things up in any meaningful way. The music is also highly repetitious and the animation is poor; for example, it almost seems like the characters are sliding across the ground or levitating in mid-air when climbing staircases!

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle is a mediocre title that relies on repetition rather than slowly implementing new gameplay mechanics to push the action forward. The core mechanics are passable, but nothing changes, leaving you to endure 60 laborious stages and undoubtedly irked by the awkward, wonky controls.

Random trivia: In Japan, the game was released with Roger Rabbit as the main character (1989, Famicom Disk System).

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