Re(?)Considered: Bonkers

Capcom once again fail to make a bad game

The Disney Afternoon's favourite son, Bonkers, got himself kind of a raw deal. Despite being beautifully animated, its confused premise (He's a cartoon star! Who's also a cop! Uh, the car radio talks? And his partner is depressed or something!) and troubled production led to a show that lacked identity, didn't catch on and couldn't really compete with the likes of the fresher, edgier Animaniacs.

Nonetheless, it was a Disney cartoon so Capcom were forced - by law - to do a Super Nintendo game of it. And, by their standards, it was very much under the radar. Nobody really talks about Bonkers for SNES, just like nobody talks about the TV show. But they should, because it's really good! Not the TV show, christ. The game.

If it can reasonably be faulted on anything, it's certainly something of a subdued experience. Inauspicious. It's like Capcom are going, of course, here's another very good platformer. Right off the production line with Aladdin and the Magical Quest series. It's almost boring how predictably good it is. You're rolling your eyes waiting for Capcom to screw it up, and they're shrugging their shoulders going "sorry folks, we really can do no wrong at this point in our history." 

Interestingly, Bonkers has essentially lifted the dashing mechanic from Konami's Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose wholesale, basing the whole game around Bonkers' ability to run like hell when his little reacharging dash bar is full. He can use this to break open balloons filled with power-ups, gain speed for a bigger jump, or combine it with pushing "down" for a Sonic the Hedgehog-esque rolling attack. Unlike the Tiny Toon Adventures game, though, you can't run up walls. That would be a little too bare-faced.

You've also got a pile of bombs you can throw as a projectile attack, which are much easier to use than the occasionally finicky dash. You can bolster your bomb sack by collecting tiny little police badges, every ten of which grant you an extra bomb slot. This means that as you progress through the game you "level up" to the point that while the stages get more challenging, you always feel like you're getting stronger, too. It's a satisfying dynamic.

It's difficult to talk about the level design because it's just, um, reliably strong. It doesn't blow your mind but everything just works. It's a short game and I was able to play through it on my first attempt in about, er, forty minutes. Not much different from Aladdin, but that game did have the hidden red gems for replay value. Bonkers doesn't seem to have anything of the sort, though I didn't see every inch of every level. I died a few times but never saw a Game Over screen. It was a simple, fun time, and I know I'll be going back to it - probably soon, because I love simple, fun platformers (see: everything I've ever written for this site).

Honestly, Bonkers feels like it was made by committee on an assembly line, but because it was 16-bit era Capcom, the committee were all brilliant geniuses and the assembly line was made of Rainbow Drops and faerie piss, or something. It's another cracker of a Disney game for SNES and you should give it a go.