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Xbox Review - 'Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2'

by Geson Hatchett on Nov. 11, 2004 @ 12:57 a.m. PST

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2 picks up where the original popular action platform game left off. The cast of characters from Down Under has grown, and so has the action! Evil Boss Cass has broken out of Currawong Jail and hatched a plan to take over the world with an army of Uber Reptiles. It's up to our boomerang-wielding hero, TY, and his newly formed team of Burramudgee Bush Rescue mates to stop him!

Genre: Action
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Krome Studios
Release Date: October 11, 2004

Buy 'TY THE TASMANIAN TIGER 2: Bush Rescue':
Xbox | GameCube | GBA | PlayStation 2

It’s not easy being a hero.

Especially when everyone knows you are.

It means that people are always asking you for odd jobs, random favors, and sometimes to just dance around for them.

Also, heaven forbid your arch-rival should start wreaking havoc again—then everyone thinks of your name first and starts running for your house. It’s just not convenient, you know?

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue starts off with one of the coolest action sequences I’ve seen in a video game. Ty’s homeland is under attack, and Ty himself is asked to help out, what with him being “the only one who can do it,” and all. What follows is a jumping, gliding, boomerang-throwing romp through a war zone, complete with debris, explosions, overturned cars, enemy troops, vehicles, and the main guard doing the best they can to provide background support. You get to use vehicles, stationary cannons, and your own innate skills, as well as beat tons of stuff up while doing some mild platforming. The whole thing’s a prequel to the game proper, and, after a knock-down-drag-out fight with an enemy air force and giant robots of death, it ends with the game’s antagonist, Boss Cass, being broken out of prison by a piece of furry fanservice who goes on to be Ty’s long-running rival.

Okay. See that paragraph up there?

That’s arguably the game’s finest moment. Sad, but true.

From then on, the game spirals into tedium. In fact, that’s the sole word needed to describe Ty 2 once the intro sequence is over and done with. It’s not really a bad game. it’s just… tedious.

From the intro onward, the game plays almost like a kiddie-version of Grand Theft Auto. You walk and run around the game’s world, in search of a loose collection of minigames, quests, platform sequences, and boss fights. All of these are loosely connected by cutscenes, and only half of these quests have anything to do with the game’s main story or characters, yet are considered mandatory by the game anyway. The game passes off the reason for all of these minigames as the fact that you’ve become a part of a “bush rescue” task force, which does odd jobs and rescue work for the outback… and then leaves that as the sole excuse to send you on missions that will leave you scratching your head as to why they’re even there, and why you’re even there, except to collect more money. Still, with your trusty boomerangs and power vehicles (as well as a set of chomping teeth), you bravely forge ahead.

All this minigame- and mission-hopping, however, would be a lot more bearabale if it getting between them were more convenient. Some missions offer an easy way out after you complete them—others force you to go back the way you came; to completely backtrack through entire level you just defeated. Then you have to deal with the hub/map world itself on top of all of that. There’s a menu option that will bring you back to the main town; unfortunately, the main town is quite far from most mission destinations. Even worse, some missions require you to buy a special vehicle to use, which would be fine if you didn’t invariably find this out after taking a long trip into the country to attempt the mission, only to find out that you can’t yet until you go back into town, buy your vehicle, and then come all the way back. Argh. So much argh.

Transit between all of the different places is split between vehicles and your own two feet; and unfortunately, the vehicles aren’t much faster than you are. The world, however, is quite expansive, meaning that, much like in The Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker, you’ll be doing just as much wandering as you will actual gaming, if not more so. Let’s face it, the only sort of characters who can really get away with this sort of shuttling around all over the place are Sonic the Hedgehog (for obvious reasons) and the Grand Theft Auto protagonists (because their vehicles actually go faster than 20 miles per hour). Maybe any given Final Fantasy crew as well, once they get their airship.

But Ty? Heck, no.

When you do get to actually play the game instead of just walking around in it, though, the game’s quality shines through. Control is rock-solid, for both platforming and attacking. Ty’s controls (including the auto-targeting, which is a welcome surprise for such games) are simple, intuitive, and get the job done. The difficulty ranges from brain-dead-easy to fairly challenging, and takes place in a diverse variety of locales—water, deserts, grasslands, vines and treetops, what have you. When you’re finally given a chance to play the game, it’s a total blast. The same goes for the story—when the game finally allows it to progress, it’s fairly engaging, if not all that original, and the tension between Ty and his female rival is a nice touch.

As a bonus, a cart racing game is included. There’s little to set it apart from all the umpteen billion kart racing games out there; it’s mainly a diversion for the younger crowd, much like the bulk of the game itself. You’ve got your standard weapons which allow you to play dirty, outback-style, as you race. It’s passable, but it’s no Mario Kart.

The whole of the game looks quite nice, actually. You’re not going to find super-realistic water or anything like that, but the game’s world is far from ugly. It’s bright, colorful, and has an identity all its own, from the characters, to the enemies, to the many-themed boomerangs that Ty throws around. There’s also no slowdown that I noticed, even though there can be quite a few enemies on the screen at once, and the town itself is pretty heavily populated.

Most of the background music is subtle, but adequate; the best parts of the soundtrack take place during the action sequences—mainly, the introductory sequence, and the bosses. Those really get you in the mood to fight it out. However, I have to give respect to the voices, the voice acting, and the writers behind them. Ty 2 is full of witty, sarcastic, and downright ironic dialogue that will leave players in stitches. If one can stand the thick Australian accents give off by 90% of the cast (I know there’s an Australian Outback theme, but yikes) you may actually find yourself taking time out to talk to people—provided they don’t talk to you first when they see you, which is another nice touch all in itself.

Ty 2 is a shining example of an above average game mired in its own ambition. It has a great many strengths going for it, and at the core, there’s a good game in here. Unfortunately, due to its scope, and more importantly, few ways to deal with that scope, few people will actually want to finish the bloody thing. When a game feels like a collection of mini-sequences ten to fifteen minutes apart instead of a cohesive experience; when a game leaves you lost in both its story and its world; when a game makes you stop paying attention because you know it’s stopped paying attention and gone off on a tangent, then the sound, graphics, story and gameplay—or lack thereof--starts mattering less and less. Nobody’s going to want to stick around to see them through.

Interesting game. Nice, even.

Worst pacing ever.

Score: 7.0/10

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