Gaming Flashback: Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure
For many years in the gaming industry, it was a universal constant that any game based on a licensed property was bad, however this was certainly not always the case. During the 8 and 16-bit eras, thanks to companies like Konami and Capcom we received a host of great licensed titles, some of which may even be considered among the greatest games to grace their respective consoles.
While Capcom had a lock on Disney titles during this era, Konami was busy producing games based on numerous licensed properties including The Simpsons, X-Men, and most famously, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While Konami was perhaps more well known for their arcade style beat-em-ups, they were also producing some of the best platforming games on the NES, Genesis, and Super Nintendo. Of course, when I think of licensed platformers from Konami, the first game that comes to mind for me is Tiny Toon Adventures. After two successful entries on both the NES and Gameboy, Konami released what I consider the best game under the Tiny Toons license, Buster's Hidden Treasure on the Genesis.
Buster's Hidden Treasure is a pretty standard 2D platformer along the lines of Super Mario World, which had been released two years earlier. In the game you play as Buster Bunny must track down Montana Max to find Buster's stolen treasure map and rescue the kidnapped Babs Bunny (no relation). Buster must make his way through six "worlds" in the overworld each with their own environments and gimmicks as he tracks down Max. Along the way, Buster will have to fight adversaries like Doctor Gene Splicer, who has kidnapped and brainwashed Buster's friends to turn them against him. Being a platformer from the nineties, you can't expect much from the story, and if you want to get to where the game truly shines, you need to look no further than its gameplay and presentation.
As mentioned above, the game plays as a standard 2D platform in the vein of Mario World with a dash of Sonic the Hedgehog for good measure. The platforming is great thanks to tight and responsive controls. Komani really shows its experience with the platforming genre with excellent level design. Every level has multiple paths for you to explore which can lead to shortcuts, power ups, extra lives, or bonus stages. As you progress through the game you'll even find levels with multiple exits to give you alternate levels to explore during your playthrough.
The package really comes together thanks to great visuals and a solid soundtrack. The sprites are bright and colorful and it's easy to recognize each of the characters from the show thanks to this. The background are equally well done and take full advantage of the power of the Genesis, allowing for a great looking game despite the fact that the Genesis hardware was five years old when this game was released. The beautiful sprite work is also complimented by a great sounds track from composers Tsuyoshi Sekito, who would go on to work with Square Soft on Brave Fencer Musashi, Hideto Inoue, who worked on Sunset Riders and TMNT: Hyperstone Heist, and Shinji Tasaka, who worked on Snatcher and TMNT: The Arcade Game.
With great gameplay, colorful graphics and a solid soundtrack it has all the right ingredients to earn its spot among the best platformers on the Genesis. The lack of battery back up is a bit of a downer, but thanks to the password system its easy to pick up where you left off. I consider Buster's Hidden Treasure a hidden gem on the Genesis. Athrough it isn't available on Virtual Console or Stream, a physical copy can be had for about five bucks on eBay, a steal for such a good game. Do yourself a favor and give the game a try, it may not be quite as good as some of the other games out there, but if you're a fan of Ninties platformers, you owe it to yourself to track this one down.