Even as the popularity of the NES was severely waning in favour of the more powerful brutes, the SNES and the Sega Genesis, the Tiny Toons phenomenon continued to roll on. The series had stopped production in 1992, just two years after its premiere, but syndication kept the toons very much alive in the following years. So Konami kept cranking out those Tiny Toons games, and the world kept gobbling them up. The Game Boy got some, the SNES and Sega Genesis earned their own games, and, for the millions of bright-eyed children out there still tapping away at their aging NES decks, they received one more Tiny Toon Adventure before the gray box was put out to pasture the following year.
Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Trouble in Wackyland has a terrible title because this game isn't really about Wackyland. The story goes that there's a new amusement park in Acme Acres, and all the toons are invited to check it out by a mysterious "secret admirer". Little do they realize, it's just another one of Montana Max's schemes to lure in his rivals and cause bodily harm unto them. But the only reference to Wackyland is in the banner overlooking the amusement park. Otherwise, this isn't the Wackyland from the cartoons, nor is it the Wackyland from the previous game. Gogo Dodo, the transfer student and main representative of Wackyland, doesn't even appear in this game. Why name your product this if it does not actually represent what's inside? Now THAT'S wacky.
Instead of functioning like a standard platformer, Tiny Toon Adventures 2 pits you against four different amusement rides, all of which have enough hazards among them to fail any safety inspection they may undergo. By spending tickets, you can hop on these rides. Babs Bunny is unlucky enough to have to ride a rollercoaster of doom; Plucky Duck gets a nasty experience on the bumper cars; Hamton J. Pig has a train ride that is mostly platforming; and Furrball, despite his strong disdain for water, has to endure the log flumes. Successful completion of each ride will earn you a golden ticket. Collecting all four gives Buster Bunny access to the Funhouse, where Montana Max is hiding out behind a house of traps and upside-down door trickery.
Now here's the thing: not all of these mini-games are fun, and without significant practice, they're quite difficult. Bumper car games have never been remotely amusing due to ill controls, and the rollercoaster stage is full of quickly moving enemies that are tough to dodge without being on some sort of magical dug (though you can actually rotate the coaster cart around on the track to dodge if so needed). Unfortunately, there is no midway point for any of these games, so if you fail at ANY time, you start back at the beginning. This leaves the log ride and the train excursion. The train trip is by far the easiest park attraction to deal with, as enemies are fairly scarce and you just need to watch out for the occasional uncoupling of train cars. No big deal.
Not available for play: cotton candy vendor.
Luckily, Konami decided, in their infinite wisdom, to allow you to enter the final level, the Funhouse, by exchanging EITHER four golden tickets or fifty regular ones. How do you earn extra tickets? By cashing in the score points earned from doing pretty much anything in a level, you get regular tickets back from the ticket booth. That's how you earn more tickets to participate in any attraction. So, we can cheat the system by continually playing the (by far) easiest level in the game, Hamton's train ride, over and over again until you can redeem enough points for fifty tickets. It actually shouldn't take too long. Then it's off to the Funhouse!
The Funhouse is Buster Bunny's time to shine, and it's basically a platformer with some nasty shenanigans going on, whether they be turning the lights on and off, rotating platforms that require your weight to move in either direction, soccer hooligan rats tossing their balls at you, or the dreaded door maze! Ooooo! It may take a few tries, but once you understand how to navigate, this stage isn't such a bust. Losing lives is not an issue because this game doesn't actually have any! The only issue comes with having to cover the entire terrain over and over again if you die at any time, but that's far more acceptable than losing all lives and having the consequences of a Game Over screen. (Thankfully, Tiny Toon Adventures 2 equips you with three hearts, rather than the one-hit deaths of the previous NES title.) Then it's a final showdown with Montana Max... in a blimp. Just kick his bombs back at him, and he'll succumb faster than me at a pancake breakfast.
The graphics are pleasant with large sprites and colourful fairground backdrops. I like how well-animated each playable character is. When Hamton jumps, his sprite takes a purposeful squashing for a few frames upon landing, a nice little touch that may go unnoticed by some. The game was released near the end of the NES' lifespan, so there would be little excuse not to get as much juice out of the console as possible now that all the programming tricks should have been known at this point. The soundtrack is average, but the game still boasts some tunes that reflect the wackiness exuded by the game's overall eccentric flavour.
Although I recommended the first Tiny Toons game as a must-have for any NES game collector, I can't say the same for Tiny Toon Adventures 2. It definitely has its moments, and for fans of the franchise it's indeed a novelty, but the game relies more on gimmicks while falling short on offering a fully entertaining experience. Tiny Toon Adventures 2 isn't a terrible game, but it tries to cover all sorts of gameplay ground without truly excelling at any of them. It's average and only worth a try if you love Tiny Toons with a passion and want to smack the smirk off of Montana Max. I'm sure there are people like that.