Genre: Platformer Developer: Psionic Systems Publisher: Sega Europe Players: 1 Released: 1995
It seems that our fellow gamers in Europe seem to get some of the best games the Genesis (Or should I say Mega Drive?) has to offer: Mega Man: The Wily Wars, Alien Soldier, Zero Wing, and… Daffy Duck in Hollywood? OK, so maybe it’s NOT as critically acclaimed as those games, but hey, fellow cartoon duck Donald was in the rather good Donald Duck in Maui Mallard, which was also only released in PAL regions, so who’s to say this one won’t be good?
We start off with Yosemite Sam finding his safe robbed by one Professor Duckbrain, who has stolen his golden movie awards (I guess they couldn’t use the word “Oscar”) and has left a million dollar ransom note. So Sam calls up Daffy and tells him to go find them in Hollywood. Not the best plot, but apparently it’s based off of an actual Looney Toons cartoon.
So off you go playing as Daffy Duck running around different scenes in Hollywood, such as “The Duxorcist” to find the awards, armed only with a bubble gun to shoot any enemies that get in your way. While progressing through the levels, you have to locate packs of dynamite scattered across the level to break down walls to advance through different parts of the stages. This is a little confusing at times, since the layout of the stages takes you up, down, left, and right, and there’s no indicator of where exactly you have to go. The walls also don’t do anything to really distinguish themselves from other walls that are simply there to serve as the boundaries of the level either. Thankfully, simply walking up to the breakable wall with the dynamite will automatically open up to you, so enough running around and you’ll figure out where to go eventually.
You can also collect power-ups to upgrade your gun to shoot other things such as fireballs and double bubbles, as well as invincibility. The gameplay is unfortunately as generic as it sounds. It’s not terrible, but it’s nothing special either. But wait! It seems the programmers have thrown us a little extra something! The bonus stages on the “Assault and Peppered” levels of the game are bugged, so that when you enter them you’re trapped in them for good. I guess Time Warner Interactive didn’t play test this one to well. Well, at least you don’t need to visit them to beat the game.
But as simple as this game sounds, there are tons (and I mean TONS) of obstacles that get in the way of completing your goal of retrieving all of the trophies. You run into enemies that have some of the most erratic patters since the Medusa heads of Castlevania, and most of the objects that hurt you are rather hard to distinguish from the background, like cacti and tumbleweeds (?!) that are put on the map as if they were part of the background. The controls are good however, so after you’ve managed to master what’s actually going on in front of you, Daffy can react quickly and dodge or shoot at whatever is coming at him. You can only take three hits before you’re dead though, so expect to die quickly and frequently. And with only three lives, this game is one heck of a challenge! Fortunately, the programmers seem to have realized that this game was hard and have included an arcade-style high score screen for when you lose as well as multiple levels to choose from. Now why they would go do this in a platformer is beyond me, as the game doesn’t even seem to have any sort of relevant points system that I can even attempt to calculate. But it doesn’t detract from the gameplay.
The graphics, on the other hand, are highly primitive. I must say that when booting up this game, judging from the SEGA logo alone, I thought it had been ported from the Sega Master System. The graphics are extremely simplistic and lacking in color and detail. There’s just nothing special about these visuals at all, I think even the earliest Genesis games looked better than this. They are only detrimental to the gameplay in that they affect the difficulty by making it hard to distinguish between what walls are destroyable and what will or will not harm you, and this is downright annoying. I mean, why should there be a cow’s skull that’s part of the background be right next to a cactus of the same size by itself that will hurt me? It doesn’t make sense.
An interesting point of the game is the music. Composed by Matt Furniss, the games tunes are wacky, zany cartoony tunes that will get your nerves with their ridiculous pacing, but they sound really well-done. One minute the score will be to a marching beat and the next minute it will sound like your average hoedown banjo music – oddly fitting yet distracting at the same time. Ironically, one of the best songs from the game is on the options screen and was meant for a scrapped level. The sound effects are decent as well.
Overall, Daffy Duck in Hollywood is your average platformer. It’s extremely difficult, so if you happen to have a lot of patience, this might be for you. But from all angles, this is your average licensed cartoon platformer starring Daffy Duck. Nothing more, and nothing less.
SCORE: 6 out of 10