Blast from the Past: Tiny Toon Adventures (NES)



In the early 90s Warner Bros. brought the Looney Tunes universe back from the dead with the introduction of a new set of characters, very much based off the original successful shows of a bygone era. The witty and slapstick comedy had a resounding success with younger audiences and before long the expected tied-in platformer appeared on a video game console – Tiny Toon Adventures.

Mad Max

If there is one genre that had no shortage of in the 8-Bit era, it was platformers. Any movie or popular culture received a video game tie-in and Tiny Toon Adventures is just another example of this, it’s just that the game ended up being better than your average licensed game. Tiny Toon Adventures fell into the right hands in 1991 and as a result, it saw Konami showing off just why they were so revered at the time. As soon as you hear that classic Tiny Toons Adventures jingle in the menu system it brings forth a form of nostalgia that reminds you of good times in the early 90s video game era. Tying in with any good video game at the time, you had to save a damsel in distress, in this case, it’s Babs Bunny who had been kidnapped by that evil Montana Max. Buster Bunny was the one who would save the day and, along with several friends to help him, get her back in his hands.

Tiny Toon Adventures is cute and loveable on the surface, but it’s a game, though marketed at kids, that doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to difficulty.

Tiny Toon Adventures is cute and loveable on the surface, but it’s a game, though marketed at kids, that doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to difficulty. Should Buster run into his first foe he meets he’ll lose a life. Unless he collects a heart to fill up the single heart tank available, anything that touches him results in him losing a life. It’s a very unforgiving system and finding hearts is nowhere near as common as discovering a mushroom in Super Mario games. It’s not even as if changing up to one of the alternate characters will replenish the missing heart. Therefore it’s of the utmost importance that those who return to this game take it slowly. Unfortunately, you do have a timer counting down, so you can’t move along at snail pace, but there is enough time to consider everything in your surroundings before making a move that could have you returning all the way to the start of the level.

The alternate characters are made up of Dizzy Devil, Furrball and Lucky Duck – generally younger versions of Taz, Sylvester and Daffy Duck. While Buster has the ability to jump much higher than any other character, Dizzy can spin through obstacles, Lucky can glide through the air and Furrball, which comes with the best addition by far, can climb up vertical surfaces. Once you’ve mastered the first world (6 worlds in total) the difficulty spikes quite rapidly and becomes something only veteran platform players will enjoy. Threats can come from any direction and you’re constantly dealing with puzzle-like levels in your effort to find the exit door. This is where Furball’s ability comes into play. Thanks to his climbing ability you’ll discover many short-cuts. Whether these short-cuts were purposely included, or if it a developers oversight, he makes the experience far more enjoyable. Where Lucky Duck comes into play are the underwater levels. He swims with ease and makes the rest look and play like complete amateurs.

There is a mid-level boss in each world that’ll have your heart beating with anxiety.

Vegetables and fruit, like carrots or apples, can be collected and does nothing to replenish your life. However, find your buddy Hamton, (the Porky kid) and he’ll grant you a life for every 30 vegetables or fruit that you collect. Where the developers were super sneaky was with their limit of 99 items. Get to that number and your effort to collect more items to gain extra lives will be, well, fruitless. In other words – you can gain a maximum of three extra lives at a time at most. It’s a little annoying, but then this game is not for the faint at heart. At the end of each world, you’ll face off against a boss, which is generally a ‘jump on his or her head three times to win’ scenario. The first few are quite easy but things get much tougher later on. There is a mid-level boss in each world that’ll have your heart beating with anxiety.

Hugs and kisses

Elmyra, who is obsessed with hugging little furry animals, will be chasing after you. Your aim is simple – get to the exit door (or wait for it to appear) before she catches you. She merely has to touch you, for you to be caught. Your reward? Back to the beginning of that world. It’s a cruel inclusion by the developers, but it does place emphasis on just how obsessed she is. I would say that her battle is way worse than the end-level boss. Should you fail you’ll simply retry the battle right away.

8-bit platformers have a reputation for being difficult for a reason and Tiny Toon Adventures drives that fact home. Other than the first world, this game is not for kids. It requires pinpoint platforming accuracy and patience. Hardcore platform fans will find lots to enjoy here, but it’s an adventure that more casual players should avoid.


  • Alternate characters are fun to use
  • Level design is quite impressive
  • Soundtrack is awesome


  • Difficulty spikes
  • Unforgiving mid-level bosses
  • Can get a little repetitive


If you can get past the difficulty spikes you'll find a platformer that's aged very well. Fans of the series is likely humming the Tiny Toon Adventures theme song to themselves and, for you, it'll be tough to ignore this Konami classic.


Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.

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