Written: 1.27.11 Acquired: 1.30.06 Status: Cart only Price: $4.99
Dev: Sculptured Software
In the mid 1990s, NBA Jam thrilled and amazed game players across the nation. It was basketball like never before. Previous to Jam, many basketball games were serious and more simulation-based. NBA Jam really broke the ceiling and JAM appealed to even non-basketball fans, with its wild acrobatic dunks and frenetic gameplay. And then came Looney Tunes B-Ball, which can best be described as Looney Tunes meets NBA Jam. Quite a combo, eh? TOON-SHAKA-LAKA! [HE'S ON FI -- I mean, you're fired -Ed.]
TINY TOONS -- BIG FUN!
Growing up in the early '90s I was very blessed to own both the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo. And I dearly loved both. However, by '94 the SNES had pulled (way) ahead for me. Both systems were evenly matched until then. In spite of all this, one weekend in '94 I rented Tiny Toons Adventures: ACME All-Stars. In this multi-sporting package there was a basketball mode that my brother and I absolutely ate up. It was colorful, zany, different and totally fun. And even though my allegiance in '94 had gone over to the SNES side, this game reminded me that my old buddy, the Sega Genesis, wasn't going down without a fight. Ole Genny still had a little something left in her. I admired her grit and perseverance. And man, did my bro and I play the crap outta that basketball mode that weekend! I remember thinking someone could make a full game out of it, and I'd buy it. I also wished for an SNES version. Little did I know... my wish would soon come true some months later when a 2-on-2 basketball game came out on the SNES named Looney Tunes B-Ball. But was it as good as the Genesis one? We rented it to find out for ourselves...
When I got back into the SNES January 17, 2006, Looney Tunes B-Ball was right at the top of my want list. The day my SNES package arrived, January 30, 2006 -- right after the package came and right before I dashed off to my college class, I sniped Looney Tunes B-Ball on eBay and came to class 10 minutes late because of such. Crazy times -- those days! Crazy days
Loved this game back in the day -- does it hold up to memories?
After this I sniped Looney Tunes B-Ball and came to class late!
THE STORY GOES...
DD: Another day, another ARTISTIC triumph
BB: Not bad. Think you can keep up in a game o' hoops?
DD: Surely YOU JEST!
DD: Lead the way, rabbit. I've got more dunks than a donut shop
Of course. Makes perfect sense, right?
Sadly, Aero is NOT a hidden character. What a tease!
SLAM IT HOME BUGS!
I love games that allow you to customize. It's the case here. You can play a versus game or partake in a tournament. Up to four can play. The wacky meter determines how crazy your game will be (more on this later). The difficulty is adjustable from levels 1-10 and the quarter length ranges from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 minutes (I prefer the default 2). If you're playing with a CPU player, put Follow Mode ON if you want to control whoever has the ball
Ah, a credits option too. What GLORY HOGGERS =P
There's even a code hunt option. Remember the code craze that games like Mortal Kombat II and NBA Jam created? LTBB got hit with that same flu!
It's like an egg hunt except it's a, er, code hunt
Bugs is my favorite baller. Sure, he ain't much of a defender, but boy, can that rabbit shoot. He's lights out anywhere below the 3 point arc. Although his 3 point rating is only halfway, I find him to be a fairly reliable 3 point hand as well. Plus, he's Bugs Bunny. He's the man, er, rabbit. You get the pic
See kids, better eat your carrots. You can ball like Bugs too!
Poor Daffy can't shoot 3 pointers to save his life, but the duck is the best defender in town. He can also outlast every other player. Must be all that cardio he does in-between takes. Smart bloke, huh?
His 3 point shot is DETH-PICABLE!
There is only one man (almost quite literally) that can match Bugs Bunny shot for shot, and it's Elmer Fudd. When you factor in the 3 point shot as well, he is the better shooter. It's a shame though the guy is as slow as molasses in January. No wonder he can never catch that bloody rabbit!
He's a vewy good pwayer -- ha-ha-ha-hah!
Like Daffy, Wile E. Coyote can't shoot 3's for squat, but like the duck again, Wile can run on for days. He also possesses above average defense and speed. You'll want to pair him up with a shooter
Road Runner is nowhere to be seen. Smart bird
Taz is what you would call a "scrub." The poor git can't shoot a lick and is only above average in defense and speed. He's the only player to NOT have at least one stat speciality. We've all seen this type of player at the local YMCA/playground. No real skills, but, bless his heart, always gives 100% effort [That's all they can give! -Ed.] Use him for his cool looks, but don't expect much else
Not even one full bar, sadness. Taz fans are OUTRAGED! =P
Arguably the best shooter in the game, Yosemite Sam is quite a fine talent. But just like Elmer, dude can't outrun a turtle, or any of these animals in the silly Looney Tunes universe. Great facial hair!
ROCK THAT FU MANCHU, SAM! [Better you than me! -Ed.]
His 'D' and 3's are just about nonexistent, but good thing he's fast and he can stay fast for a good length of time. He's also not a bad shooter at all -- as long as it's below the 3 point arc that is
Another smart bird is that Tweety Bird, also absent
Marvin is a strange player. He can't really hit squat anywhere on the court unless it's behind the 3 point arc -- where he then transforms into Larry Bird. Only Marvin and Sam have their 3 point rating to the max. He's also fast as a cheetah, so if you don't watch out, Marvin will be bombing 3 pointers on ya left and right before you even know it!
YO MARVIN -- THIS AIN'T FOOTBALL, FOO!
Each quarter begins with the ball dropping from above. Randomly, it could be an anvil instead, to keep players on their toes. When you use your turbo, slowly your character's mug will go from happy to exasperated. How long their turbo can last depends on their stamina rating. Some expire too fast, but that makes the stamina kings more valuable
Of course, you can score by standard jump shooting. Release the ball at the highest peak of your jump for best results. I love the net swishes in this game. Lovely stuff
Being a game inspired by NBA Jam and featuring these zany characters, you can expect a lot of on court craziness you'd never find in a regular basketball sim
Each character has their own unique lay-up's
And of course, impossible silly slam dunks. Though oddly, I'd say the dunks in NBA Jam are more wild than the ones you will find here. Sure you have some nutty 720° dunks, but most are of the "jump really high in the air and come slamming down" variety. I was slightly disappointed by this, but eh, what 'cha gonna do?
Yeah remember that old SNES game? [Ohhh yeeeah -Ed.]
It's really neat how you get a big fat REJECTED sign whenever you block a shot. It helps add to the taunting and teasing of your opponent(s). Few things are as satisfying as timing your foe's shot as to rise up at JUST the right time (not a second late, not a second early) and SWAT that ball back in their face!
You shouldn't be shooting anyway, Taz!
At the end, your final stats are shown. Sadly, assists never show up. See, it truly is an arcade-like b-ball title. Bugs Bunny, the two point extraordinaire, proves it here with 21 makes. Also told ya his 3 point touch is solid as well, with 10 treys nailed. He's basically the Kobe Bryant of this game, or Michael Jordan for folks moreso in my generation
WHAT A MASSACRE!
SPECIAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS
If you play with the Wacky Meter anywhere from 2 to 5, then you'll see gems randomly appear on the court throughout your game. Grab these gems so you have money to use special offensive plays that may aid you in victory. The Long special will cost players 10 cents (good deal!) and with this, players launch the ball beyond halfcourt. Of course, it's not automatic and it depends on how good your guy is from 3 point land, but with Long, the chances are pretty good that it goes in, even from full court! Each character has his own unique Long shot. Taz chews up the ball and spits it out, for example. Fun stuff
Feeling lucky? Then for 50 cents (you can only carry a max of 99¢), pull the lever. If you make the shot and match three icons, you will score more points than normal. However, beware the 3 bombs, which will TAKE AWAY 10 points! VEGAS! can completely change the outcome of a tight game in the closing seconds. Hey, you're playin' with house money
It just wouldn't be Looney Tunes if you didn't have a cream pie somehow involved. For 10¢ you can throw a cream pie straight ahead. If it hits your opponent he is momentarily stunned -- allowing you a clear pathway to the basket. Is there a downside? Well...
OH THE EMBARRASSMENT! But yummy
The evil bomb causes a panick-y game of HOT POTATO!
"THAT'S ALL FOLKS!"
Remember how in NBA Jam players could be "HEATING UP!" and then "HE'S ON FIRE!" Well, the same here. After three baskets in a row, YOU'RE IN THE ZONE! Now every stat gets a super boost. It lasts until either the quarter expires or the opposition scores
Poor Elmer. That wabbit always gets the last laugh eh?
Sure you will, playa. Sure ya will!
NBA Jam sure didn't have this though eh? Imagine how cool it would have been to seen Muggsy Bogues' mug plastered at mid-court. Or maybe not
Talk about one major ego boost
SPECIAL DEFENSIVE PLAYS
Each character has a unique special defensive play that will cost 25¢ (only available on Wacky Meter Level 2 or higher). These unique defensive plays don't guarantee that you'll get the ball, but it sure increases your odds -- particularly since there are no stinkin' foul calls to be found here! Daffy's special sees him busting out the jackhammer -- vibrating the ground causing the player to drop the ball (unless he's already shooting, d'oh!). Taz breaks into a tornado spin and knocks down anyone he touches
Wile E. Coyote really gets a BANG out of ACME products. The Detonator Defense blows up the person with the ball, leaving it up for grabs. NBA Jam sure didn't have this!
Just another day at the office
Why is Elmer sporting some opera garb there? And what sort of foul manner is he conjuring?
Yes, Taz got ball.... FOR NOW...
OUCH! Being struck by lightning will ruin anyone's day. Doesn't Elmer look like a WILD THING there? I think so ^_^
Elmer's mug says it all, and so too will yours
Marvin gets into the act with his Disintegrator Defense zapping what unlucky soul stands before him
Er, wait. I see Taz. I see Sam. Um, where's Sly?
Sam's Dance Defense can only be done at close range
Bugs' Disguise Defense is trickery at its best. It all adds to the zany fun
Hmmm, maybe he's more Dennis Rodman than Kobe Bryant!
Sly gets the final laugh with his Remote Control Defense. When activated, a 16 TON weight will be dropped on whoever has the ball. Talk about a massive headache!
But the same can't be said for egos and friendships!
THE FINALE HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD!
Thanksgiving 2010 was a memorable one for me. It was a simple family night where I got to catch up and spend some quality time with my nieces and nephew. At the end of the night, my brother and cousins were planning Black Friday. Having done that last year, I didn't care to do it again. So I went home and fired up Looney Tunes B-Ball around the witching hour. I put the difficulty level at 10. And it turned out to be the most epic game ever. It came down to the final closing seconds. I was leading 37 to 36. The computer had the ball with about five seconds to go. Elmer Fudd got the ball and began dribbling down the court. Knowing that he had to heave a half court prayer, I timed my leap of faith with Daffy Duck. If Elmer and Sly want this game, they're going to have to earn it. Next thing I know, sure enough, Elmer rises up for the half court prayer shot. And at JUST the same time, I also rose. And here's what happened...
OOOH! DENIED AND REJECTED! CLUTCHNESS!!
However, the ball came right back to Elmer with a second left on the clock. OH CRAP! I desperately jumped back up as Elmer gave it one last heave. Look at Daffy trying his damnedest there, heh. Unfortunately, I jumped too early and Elmer managed to release the ball with 0.1 left on the clock! This would be a TOUGH loss to swallow. The ball flew through the air as time froze and the buzzer sounded...
Was this a BLACK Friday or a Good Friday?
NO GOOD! The ball bounced hard off the left side of the rim!WHAT A FINALE -- the best in ages. I was nearly literally shaking. What a thrilling closer. It was now 12:10 AM and I had the rest of the peaceful night to relax and play games while my crazy cousins and brother immersed themselves in Black Friday madness. Been there, done that. I much rather prefer staying at home cozy and warm, playing my lovely Super Nintendo instead. It was just a fantastic night. After this amazin' victory in Looney Tunes B-Ball, what an insane improbable finale, I decided with the night still plenty young, it was time to start up on the grand adventure known as TERRANIGMA. First time ever. Played through the first hour and called it a night around 1:30 AM. As I crawled into my warm bed, I couldn't help but smile. A great Thanksgiving meal with my family, playing with my little nieces and nephew, staying out of Black Friday (there's something very satisfying about bowing out of something you don't want to do and spend that time doing something you DO want to do), and closing the night with two great games. A hot finish with one, a promising start with another. It was one of those 'real life plus gaming session right after' experiences that stay with you for a lifetime. Ever have one of those? They're the ones you always remember ^_^
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Sadly, Looney Tunes B-Ball didn't receive much pub back in the day. GameFan featured it in a lovely two page preview in January 1995, but oddly they never reviewed it. LTBB is one of those games that never got much time in the spotlight when it came out... but is well liked throughout the retro gaming slash SNES community. Just ask anybody. Somebody's sure to let you know!
STREET BALL MEMORIES
From playing hoops in my backyard as a youth, to ballin' on the blacktops as a teenager, I have fond memories of the game. And I remember, growing up, wanting to always prove myself to my older bro. He used to ball a lot and I picked up on that
My favorite thing about the game is that it possesses a certain purity. At the heart of the game lies a bigger message. Case in point: 1997. I was in the 8th grade. At lunch one day, I was playing one-on-one with my friend, Simon. Then we noticed these four 7th graders walking nearby. Three of them were bullying this one hapless shrimpy kid. Seeing the three of them pushing the defenseless kid around rose my ire. I looked at Simon and without saying a word I knew he knew what we both knew [Wait, what? -Ed.]
I challenged the three 7th graders to a little classic game of "21" -- three-on-three basketball. Simon and I, of course, would take the helpless kid. He was not much of a baller, but I had overwhelming confidence in Simon and myself that we could take these cocky sumbitches. Simon was the ole Daffy Duck of the team, and I was Yosemite Sam. Man, nobody could hit the glass like Simon. Dude was a *BEAST* on the boards. He cleaned up like Dennis Rodman used to. And as for me -- I was the three point specialist. And that cloudy afternoon, I drained three pointer after three pointer. Hand in my face -- it didn't matter. I was a man on a mission. Not only did I want to beat those losers, but I had to defend the honor of that kid. Because, if there's one thing I can't stand, that's seeing a couple lowlives gang up on the small and weak. Pick on someone your own size -- be a man. Anyone could match up against someone much smaller. I guess that's why they're bullies, but as long as I'm around, that injustice / cowardice just won't fly in this town [Look at 'chu, Batman -Ed.]
I was in the proverbial ZONE that idyllic, cloudy afternoon, swishing three after three
It was one of those afternoons I wished would last forever. The sky was blue with puffy clouds standing still overhead. Amid the usual lunch playground chatter of 7th and 8th graders jocking for social position and status on the hierarchy that is junior high, I was locked into my own world. Bombing three after three, the opposition had no answer
My team won going away. The three bullies bitched at each other in disbelief before slagging off, disappearing around the corner moments later. Simon and I smiled at each other. The little 7th grade kid came over to us, and he said four words to me that to this day I still remember, with great fondness. He said, with an appreciative smile:
"Thanks for the help"
Simon and I watched in silence as he walked away, his head held high. Through basketball, in a way, we saved him. It was just one more reason for me to love the game as much as I did, and I still do to this day. You could be big, small, black, purple, it don't matter. It's a game that brings people together. It can even heal some wounds, as it did that idyllic cloudy afternoon of '97 ^_^
Looney Tunes B-Ball is just a fun zany game. It's very customizable -- you can play a serious straight up game, or flip to the other extreme. With 16 ton heavy ACME weights dropping out of the sky everywhere, Vegas slots, crossdressing, throwing cream pies and turning folks into a pile of dust, it really is NBA Jam meets Looney Tunes. OK so the basketball isn't the best around. You can't expect that though from this type of game. If you want a pure basketball sim, look elsewhere. But if you're looking for a fast, crazy, fun street ball type basketball game, this is the second best on the SNES behind the NBA Jam series. It's not a deep game by any means. There's no stat-tracking, no 82-game seasons -- just a simple versus mode and a tournament. And that's enough when the game is as fun as Looney Tunes B-Ball is. If you can round up three buddies, it becomes a completely different game, as it's meant to be played with your pals. Be prepared though for a many bruised egos
From all the cool special defensive moves to all the wacky and silly offensive techniques, Looney Tunes B-Ball comes quite highly recommended to any and all basketball fans. Even if you don't particularly care for the sport, but you like your bit of Looney Tunes, chances are, you'll dig this game, too. Its appeal goes beyond basketball. It is a perfect example of what I like to call a sleeper hit. It never got much press and praise back in the day, but y'kno, behind closed doors everyone I knew LOVED it and no one ever had a bad thing to say about it. If you missed out on LTBB, don't hesitate to give it a chance. It's not the greatest game around, but there's something about it. Simple, competitive, looney. It also stands the test of time featuring those timeless and iconic cartoon characters. Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing are now outdated on my NBA Jam games, but Bugs Bunny will never go out of style. It's now almost been 16 years since Looney Tunes B-Ball came out, and when I bought it nearly five years ago, I was very happy to see it played as well as I remembered it back in 1995. Sometimes memories cloud your judgment of these old games. Not so here. I could be 50 one day, and LeBron James' son could be dominating the NBA, but I'll still be plenty content using ol' Bugs Bunny and friends in Looney Tunes B-Ball