Genre: Sports Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami Players: 1-2 Released: 1994
First there was Looney Tunes, then Tiny Toons, which was first a show, then a movie, then a bunch of video games, and then another game. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a small compilation of sports games called ACME All-Stars. Inside the cart you will find Basketball, Soccer, Bowling, Montana Hitting (think whack-a-mole), an obstacle course, and a story mode that loosely ties the events together with a shallow story. You probably would not expect much from a game based on a kid’s show, but luckily Konami happened to own the license at the time, and they managed to knock together a pretty decent game.
As I mentioned earlier, the game has five events. You will soon learn, however, that only basketball and soccer seem like full-fledged games. Bowling and Montana Hitting seem more like mini games, and the obstacle course is so short and dull that I’m not sure why the developers even bothered with it. You will probably be spending most of your time playing soccer and basketball, which are somewhat similar. Both feature basically the same aged opponent AI that most people will be quick to figure out. Once you do that, it is all a matter of running the same three or four plays over and over with no obstruction.
There are about five arenas for each event with their own themed obstacles (rolling barrels for the western level, oil slick for downtown, etc.). There are twelve playable characters, but the only difference between them are unique special moves, which usually guarantee a score. These additions, however, fail to override a sense of tediousness that arises after just a few matches. At this point I recommend raising the difficulty level, playing against another human, or moving on to the other games. Playing this game with another person can be fun; Not NBA Jam fun, but it has its moments.
But maybe you don’t have any friends (hey, it’s okay, I’m here), or maybe you just want to try out the other games. Montana Hitting involves you and three comps on a large whack-a-mole-esque level that fills the entire screen. Earn points by hitting the various Montana Max’s that pop up and lose points for hitting any other character that pops up. Also expect a few glitches, such as occasionally getting stuck on the edge of the holes and around other players. Bowling allows you to choose your position and speed , and then a little indicator starts waggling up and down. It’s your job to “let ‘er rip” (meaning “press A”) at just the right time. Neither of these games has any major design flaw. They are just too shallow to warrant much play time. The obstacle course has you racing around a course dodging obstacles (hence the name) while continuously pressing the B button to move forward. It controls poorly, there’s only one track, and the game always pulls you forward when you start to fall behind, which makes this mini game pretty useless.
Visually, this game shines. The environments, while lacking a bit in detail, are bright and colorful, and the character animation is superb. Not only are the animations very fluid, but you will also be impressed by the sheer amount of movement of these characters. If you used to watch the show, you will surely be greeted with a rush of nostalgia when you play this game. The music is peppy and upbeat, but I came very close to hitting the mute button more than once. Note to developer: if you are going to repeat the same minute long song over and over, at least make sure it is not annoying.
ACME All-Stars is not the greatest game, but I found it to be a great time-waster, easily rivaling those addictive flash game we’ve all gotten involved with at some point. And like those infamous flash games, it doesn’t even have to be that good. What keeps you coming back? I believe it’s about intriguing and time-consuming gameplay. ACME All-Stars is repetitive, but it’s still a good deal of fun.
SCORE: 6 out of 10