In both my The Simpsons: Bart vs the World and Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse reviews I have made frequent mention of how in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras there was a torrent of uninspired platform games that only sold because it starred a licensed character. With Disney’s Bonkers it could have very easily followed suit but I am one for believing that credit is where credit is due as Disney Software tried something different this time.
Bonkers was released on the Mega Drive (Genesis for you who hail from North America) in 1994 when the show was still running on TV. The plot of the game follows cartoon cop Bonkers D. Bobcat as he tries to win the “Officer of the Month” award by nabbing four of the biggest crooks in town. Each crook can be found in their own unique area of the city which has its own dangers and the player can choose who they want to go after first.
This is not one game but is in fact four mini games. In the first game “Harry the Handbag’s” raccoon goons are stealing Toon Treasures (including Mickey Mouse’s wizard hat from Fantasia and Aladdin’s lamp) from a museum. To stop them you must throw donuts at them (I thought cops carried guns?). Then you have to face “The Rat” in the junkyard where a robot is trying to stop you. In order to catch “The Rat” you have to brick up a wall to block the robot. The third villain is “Mr Big” who can be defeated by finding all the pieces of the fall-apart rabbit from the show. The final villain is “Ma Tow Truck” who is blocking the freeway and you have to race around in your police car stopping her by throwing giant bubble gum bombs.
OK – as I said I have to give them credit for trying something different when they could have easily made just another uninspired platformer with their trademark character but the truth is I would rather one average game than four small terrible games. This game infuriated me but it’s not the variety of the mini games that was the problem. It was the fact that in order to make the game last they designed it so you had to play four rounds of each mini game with the difficulty increasing each time. The frustration comes from the fact you don’t feel like you are achieving anything or progressing at all except that it gets more difficult.
The junkyard and museum levels suffered from appalling hit detection with the bricks/doughnuts and I ended up throwing large numbers of them at the same spot despite repositioning Bonkers. The control of the car was terrible and it felt more like a pinball at times than a squad car as it would bounce off the sidewalk and other cars.
On the whole this was a bad game. It feels like one of those titles thrown out there just to make a quick buck. The worst kind of game. It’s a shame because I have fond memories of the show but alas it does seem to be one of those Disney shows that had its one run and then was forgotten about.