Sunday, May 25, 2014

Retro Sunday - May 24, 2014 - Looney Tunes B-Ball (SNES)

The weekend is almost over, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to look forward to. Yes, it's time for another Retro Sunday. This week, we'll take a look at my favorite SNES game of all time.

The SNES era was full of great basketball games. NBA Jam, Tecmo Super NBA Basketball, College Slam, and more. (There was also very terrible basketball game, but we don't talk about it on Sundays). But the best basketball game on SNES was the one and only Looney Tunes B-Ball.

Whoever thought of this game was an absolute genius. You take everything that's great about NBA Jam, add Looney Tunes, and you get the best sports game of all time. So, it has basketball, it has pushing and shoving, it has wacky items, and most of all, it has fun in spades.

The gameplay is simple: pick a character and a teammate (human or otherwise), and then go up against two other Looney Tunes. You have your standard rules of basketball (dunks, three-pointers, steals), but then you have items. For example, turn the ball into a cream pie and throw it at someone. Or turn the ball into a bomb and play a little hot potato. Or, my personal favorite, turn the scoreboard into a slot machine and go for up to 5x the point value of your next shot.

Naturally, these items are not unlimited. You must gather gems that appear randomly on the court and then use a certain number of them for certain items. Or, if you prefer, you can use a special defensive move to go for a turnover. Playing as Bugs Bunny? Dress up as a woman to distract the other players. Or if you're Daffy Duck, pull out a jackhammer and cause a mini-earthquake.

You've probably realized by now that this game sounds awesome. But wait, there's more! The game also features cheat codes which can be entered at any time. Some of these are lame (moonball, for example, just reduces gravity and makes it really hard to make any shots). But some of them are epic. For example, you can extend the clock by 30 seconds if you need just a little more time to win. Or if the ball gets loose (and turns into a dog; no foolin') you can whistle to make it come to you. Plus, there are codes to change into any character in the game, so if you want to confuse another player by becoming a clone of them, or if you want to the use the special move a character you're not using, you can do that. The game even features a Code Hunt mode to let you try and figure out what some of the codes are. I spent many an hour working through button combos to figure out certain moves.

Most of these codes are known to the public. However, there are two codes that have so far, never been discovered. They are Free For All (unlimited gems, therefore unlimited items) and Free Turbo. So either these codes are insanely complex and difficult to find, or only CPU players have the ability to activate them. Perhaps one day we will find out for sure.

Funny story about cheat codes: so, my younger brother and I are very, very good at this game. We haven't been beaten at this game (by human or CPU) for several years. Well, my older brother and my cousin thought they could beat me and my younger brother. So we plugged in the multi-tap (yes, this game supports four human players; awesome) and we got down to business. Well, they did not know that there is a code that allows you to disable goaltending, meaning you can block any shot, even if it's right about to go in. So, when we had the ball, we would enable goaltending. When they had the ball, we would disable. This allowed us to block nearly every one of their shots. I don't think I've heard that much swearing since the Great Swear Contest of '57. Good times.

One thing that still amazes is how polished this game is. There are subtle things you may never notice, such as how the angle of the floor moves in pseudo-3D as the players move around. Or how starting with each quarter, the music begins only with the drumbeat, and more instruments are added as points are scored. It's little things like this that make me appreciate all the work that went into this game.

Well, there you have it. If you've never played this game, you owe it to yourself to find it and play it. It's some of the most fun you can have in a video game. Even people who don't generally enjoy sports or sports games can enjoy it. Just don't play against me, because I will beat you. I take that back. DO play against me. It'll be fun. I promise. Smiley face. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to have Wile E. Coyote murder all the other players. And then beat them in basketball.

(Looney Tunes B-Ball is not available on Virtual Console. Feel free to email Nintendo and Sunsoft every day to ask them to bring it back to life.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Haha, such a great game. I'm terrible at it, but watching you and D play it was always fun :)