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The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout (NES)

It's Bugs Bunny's 50th birthday (funny, he doesn't look a day over 45), and his fan club is throwing a celebration for him. Unfortunately, all of his Loony Tune "friends" are a bit jealous over this. No one ever threw them any parties. So, they're out to make Bugs' life a bit harder, and make it as difficult as they can for him to make it to this party. So, you'll have to make your way past a myriad of obstacles as you try to get to your celebration.

The game itself is fairly standard platformer type of style, with the main thing of note being that Bugs is equipped with a big hammer, which he can use to dispatch enemies. Aside from that, it's a matter of making your way over pits, between ledges, past spikes, on your way to the end of the level. As you make your way through the level, however, you'll encounter a number of carrots. These carrots can be used in bonus games at the end of the level to try to get more lives. Beyond just collecting the carrots, though, when you get the carrot, the space where it was turns into a little "WB" block, which you can now stand on. So, gameplay often involves getting carrots, and then using the new platform that is left behind to reach a new area.

Apparently, Bugs' fan club must be in some odd, out-of-the-way location, since, in order to get there, you'll find yourself traveling over deserts, mountains, caves, and all sorts of other fun places. While it might not necessarily make sense why you have to go through all of these places in order to reach your party, well, it's not like the story's really that big a part of the game or something. Really, it's just "make your way past all the levels, to the last one, and then you'll get there." So, try not to think too much about that. Once you get past wondering why exactly you need to be going through all of these places, the level variety really is very nice. There's a large variety of different landscapes you'll be going through, and, it's certainly much more interesting than just running through a grassy field a dozen times.

Level design is very good. It's not simply going left to right and past a bunch of enemies. There are a variety of ledges and overhangs to make your way over and under, and down different paths. As well, there are various holes you can go down, to make your way to side areas, and then back up in a different spot. It can be fun just to wander around a bit and explore the level. While you certainly don't need to get all the carrots in the level, it can be fun to try finding every little hidden spot.

Along with the level design, the graphics are also very nice. The stages are well designed overall, with a number of little intricacies here and there. There's not too much variety in the level music, basically just changing depending on what type of level you're in. Still, they fit the levels fairly well. One complaint, though, is that apparently all of the Loony Tunes characters have better things to be doing than acting as minor, inconveniencing enemies, so, you'll only actually run into any familiar characters as end of the stage bosses. Along the way, you'll be encountering clocks, floating flame faces, little running hammer things, and some other enemies that you really can't figure out exactly what they're supposed to be. Granted, there are only so many specific characters to go along, it wouldn't make much sense to run into Yosemite Sam every 3 screens or so. Still, it would've been nice to have a bit more in the field of familiar faces, and a bit less of the random, non-descript enemies.

On the down side, the control can be a bit unresponsive at times. While you do have the hammer to attack enemies, it's usually much easier to just avoid them, since, most any time an enemy gets near you, even if you hit it, it'll end up hitting you as well. This is particularly noticeable with bosses. When you get hit, stars will appear over Bugs' head for a few seconds, during which time you're unable to swing your hammer. So, often, encounters with the bosses (who must be hit a couple of times) usually involve hoping you made it there with enough hearts, so that you can exchange hitting them and getting hit enough times to kill them, since it's often near impossible to hit them without getting hit yourself as well. Still, while this is annoying at times, it's certainly manageable, and doesn't significantly detract from the enjoyment of the game.

Generally, progress through the game is fairly smooth. Not to say it's overly "easy," you will get hit and you will die from time to time. Just, you'll build up enough extra lives from the bonus games at the end of the levels, where running out of them isn't a particular concern. So, you don't really end up paying too much attention to how often you get hit either, since, even if you die, it's not really that much of a deterrence. Still, while it's not a significant problem, the game isn't without its challenges. Particularly as you get nearer the end of the game, things do start to get a bit more difficult.

Even once you do beat the game, it's still enjoyable to play through. The levels are well designed and are fun to explore. While you don't need to get all of the carrots, it's still a nice little adventure trying to find all the little hidden areas in the levels, with carrots tucked away in the corners. Although it is a Loony Tunes-themed game, many of the enemies aren't really particularly related to this theme, but, it's still a fun little game either way. Whether you're a fan of the characters or not, if you like platformers, it's definitely a game at least worth checking into.

Gameplay: 7/10
Graphics/Sound: 5/10
Length/Replay: 6/10
Overall: 6/10