Name: Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
Year Released: 1990
As you may or may not have read, today is the birthday of one of my fellow Gamervision writers, 00.19. To celebrate, I grabbed the most birthday-riffic 8-bit game I had to review for today’s Throwback Thursday. That game, of course, is Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout, a 1990 platformer featuring the wacky rabbit and all of his so-called friends from the Warner Bros. cartoon. Of course, part of the reason I was so eager to play this game is because I loved it when I was younger, and it is one of the few 8-bit platformers I remember playing to completion. However, at 19 years old, Birthday Blowout is starting to show some growing pains.
Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout is a classic sidescrolling platformer that, at first glance, looks like a blatant ripoff of Super Mario Bros. 2 in terms of level design. There’s no denying that this game was inspired by the classic Nintendo franchise, but then again, so was almost every NES game in the genre. The player takes the role of famous rabbit Bugs Bunny as he attempts to make his way to his 50th birthday party. The only problem is, all of his WB friends (or should I say frienemies?) are jealous of his party, and are doing everything in their power to stop him. As such, the boss fights usually have Bugs facing off against the likes of Daffy Duck, Tweety, Pepe le Pew, and other famous faces from the Warner Bros. cartoon universe.
Gameplay-wise, Blowout is fairly simple, requiring Bugs to run and jump his way through levels, avoiding foes, falls, and spikes in order to make it to the area’s boss. Instead of jumping on enemies SMB-style, Bugs carries a large mallet that he uses to whack them, as well as breakable blocks that stand in his way. I’m not really sure why Bugs carries a hammer, but I guess that’s something Warner Bros. had to do to differentiate the game from every other platformer on the market at the time. Bugs also collects carrots that can be spent in a bonus round after every level in an attempt to gain extra lives.
While the controls work pretty well, they’re not quite as smooth as I would like them to be. Bugs sometimes overshoots platforms or slips right off of them; the jumping isn’t as tight as it needs to be in a platformer. It’s not a game-breaker, but will lead to losing more health (or lives) then necessary. Another annoyance is that the environments can get really repetitive. There are six different worlds, and four levels within each one, but the four boards within each larger area are not at all distinctive. You will be more than ready to move on after hammering away at the final boss in each world.
As an 8-bit platformer, Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout isn’t the best in the bunch, but it certainly isn’t the worst either. It’s solidly average, worthy of playing again, although I don’t know how I ever had the drive or the patience to beat it when I was younger. It may not be the most memorable game of the era, but if you love old-school platformers and have already memorized every nook and cranny of the first three Super Mario Bros. games, you can probably track a copy of this one down for a few bucks. Now, speaking of birthday blowouts, everyone be sure to go over to 00.19's profile page and wish him a happy birthday!