Blockbuster Video and SNES, Part 6

A licensed finish.
By Bro
August 17, 2015
This is it folks. We've reached the final chapter of a six part odyssey down my own personal memory lane. To briefly recap, I rented some classics such as Super Metroid, Yoshi's Island, and Mario RPG. I rented crap like Rise of the Robots and Power Piggs of the Dark Age. And I rented personal favorites like True Lies and Battletoads and Double Dragon. And now? I end this series with ten licensed games. Were they any good? Read on and find out!


If I were to make a list of my all time favorite things, you can be assured that Toy Story would be on it. I love these films dearly and for me Pixar has yet to top them for the position they hold in my heart. Toy Story was awesome. It came out when I was in 6th grade and my family went to see it twice. I loved the characters, I loved the humor, I loved the heart, and to this day I still wish Pizza Planet was a real place. Therefore it should come as no suprise that I was extremely excited to play this game. And while it's not perfect, Toy Story is one the best licensed games on the console.

Following the films story, players guided Woody through adventures in Andy's room, Pizza Planet, Sid's house, and more. Woody lassoed other toys with his pull-string to attack. Buzz was a boss on a couple of occasions. The first time, he was a nightmare Woody was having while sleeping in the toy box, and the second was at the Dinoco gas station, where you had to try to get a tire stuck around him to beat him. There were levels where you controlled RC, and even a first-person stage inside the claw machine. The variety here was pretty good. If there's anything that holds this game back, it's the control. It's not game-breaking by any means, but there's a slight floaty feel to Woody's movements and the hit detection requires some getting used to. But even with these minor flaws, Toy Story is still a great game for its time and I think it did a great job with its license. I even managed to beat it when I rented it. :)


I never watched the animated cartoon that this game was based on because it aired on FOX, which is a channel I never had. But like most kids, I thought Spider-Man was cool and this game looked fun. When I first played it though, I got stuck almost right away. Having no instruction booklet to tell me how to do any of his moves, I was stuck behind a grate at the very beginning of the game for a good 15 minutes or so. When I finally figured out how to break through it, I made progress fairly easily.

I don't remember the story, but it seemed as if every Spider-Man villian ever made put in an appearance. It was typical platforming, with Spidey swinging around fighting bad guys through different levels. I couldn't beat it though. The farthest I could get was an amusement park stage. There was a part on a roller-coaster where you had to fight the Hob-Goblin to progress and I couldn't figure out how to beat him. He kept flying around throwing bombs at me and nothing I did ever hurt or reached him. Other than that, I remember enjoying this game, though I haven't played it since.


This is a game I had seen and heard of in magazines and from some kids at school. I thought the idea sounded cool, but screenshots for the game never made it look like it was all that fun. I'm not even sure what made me decide to take a chance with it in the first place. I think it may have been something I read in Disney Adventures magazine, but I have no clue as to how accurate that is. Point is, I rented it and I'm sorry to say that all my hesitation was pretty much justified.

At first, it was kinda fun. The first level had you playing as Spider-Man. You had to collect all these bomb-ish things and get to the end of the stage. I didn't know that they had to be collected though and for a little while, I was stuck. Upon completion of this stage, you could play as an x-man(or woman in Storm's case) in seperate challenges. This is where the game began to fall apart. Spidey's levels were ok, and so were Wolverines, but not so much for everybody else. Gambit ran from a giant spiked ball, Storm was stuck in water, and Cyclops...I don't even remember. What I do remember is the rest of it was not fun. I didn't enjoy it playing it and I didn't even care about finishing it after a while. I don't follow comics so I don't know if this games story was originally a comic book or not. If it was, I can guarantee it was more entertaining than this game.


Looking back at Wizard of Oz, the thing I remember the most is that we rented this on Sunday. This was rare, since most rentals took place on Friday evenings in my household. Yet there we were, my family and I, at Blockbuster after church. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that my parents decided that we should rent something that we all agreed on. This was slightly unfair because not only was the SNES mine, but I also played it more than any of them. After a few minutes of looking around, I saw this game on the shelf and I was dumbfounded. How in the heck did they make a video game of Wizard of Oz? Sure, I watched the movie a lot as a kid and I think it's a classic and all, but I never thought anybody would make a video game out of it. I didn't see how it could be done. Being so shocked that such a thing actually existed, I grabbed the box and showed it to my family and it was met with a similar reaction. Naturally, it then became the game they all wanted to try.

My grandparents came over after church so we couldn't play it right away, but I told them how we found a Wizard of Oz game, and they were just as dumbfounded as I was. When we finally gave it a shot, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it was still...strange. You controlled Dorothy and the rest of gang through a quest through Oz to get Dorothy home. No surprise there. There were bonus stages that had you controlling Toto to spell out messages. I'm not sure why though. Just like Speed Racer, I would input random passwords to see if I could find one that worked. More often than not, much to my surprise, I struck paydirt. I went all over the place. There were swamps, giant cornfields, and levels that took place in the clouds. I haven't played it since. It's funny though. There were other oddball licensed games on the SNES, like Waynes World and Home Improvement. But this game more than any other made me realize that game designers would look to anything for source material. Such an odd little game...


I watched a ton of Tom and Jerry as a kid, but I don't remember much about this game because I only got the chance to play it once. I remember looking for something to rent, picking this and taking it home, but then I wasn't allowed to play it right away. The next day was Saturday, and my family decided to do some spring cleaning or something, and I still wasn't allowed to play it because I had to help. I must have griped about it because I got grounded from it for the rest of the evening. When everything was all done, I remember trying everything I could to get my folks to change their minds. I remember saying since they game would go back after church the next day, the would just be losing money. This probably just annoyed them further, but they decided to let me play it.

Since that was the only time I played it, there's not a whole lot I remember. You played as Jerry, and you started out at a movie theater. After making your way across the roof, you went inside and skated on a movie ticket. There was some other platforming after that, which led to an encounter with Tom. Pretty much everything showed in the screenshots. That's as far as I remember getting, and that's all I remember playing of Tom and Jerry.


I also watched a lot of Pink Panther as a kid but when I first saw this game, it didn't look all that interesting. I ignored it for several trips until one day I was hanging out with a friend who suggested I give the game a try. I asked if he played it and he said no but he thought it looked cool. Somehow this swayed me. Next time we rent to Blockbuster, I grabbed it. Turns out it wasn't a terrible game, but it was nothing special either.

Guiding Pink Panther through a Hollywood set, you went through different themed areas like a Robin Hood and western stage. Pink had a hat to match each theme. It was ok, but I found myself getting bored rataher quickly. There were also strange level designs such as Pink navigating through giant martini glasses. It didn't suck but I look back on this as mediocrity. I informed my friend of this and he seemed disappointed. Oh well.


Tiny Toons is one of my favorite NES games and I always thought Buster Busts Loose looked similar to it. While the two weren't clones by any stretch, they both had the same feel to it. But that's Konami for you. They were one of the best developers during the 8 and 16 bit eras, and this game is no exception. Buster Busts Loose was cool. I don't remember the story, but knowing Tiny Toons I'd be willing to bet Montana Max was up to something. What I do remember is solid platforming action, guiding Buster through different themed stages.

I also remember the game glitching on me in the Western area. I had reached the end of a section and instead of exiting the screen, Buster just kept on walking in place. I waited for about 10 minutes before resetting the game and that was the only time I had that problem. My little cousin was visiting when I rented this, and he and I took turns playing it. While I can't remember specifics, I seem to recall there being a decent amount of variety in this game. One stage involved football, another had a speeding Buster running up walls, there was something involving a train...and then it gets fuzzy. I haven't played it in years, but I remember really enjoying this one.


If you were a 80's or 90's kid, odds are you played with Micro Machines. I had a few of the interlocking Highways and Byways playsets but I can't remember specific vehicles. I know for Christmas one year, I got a set that included a bunch of tiny monster trucks. They were a different brand though so they were slightly bigger than actual Micro Machines but they were a blast to play with nonetheless. One night at church, somebody I knew started talking about this game. I had no idea a Micro Machines video game existed until then and it sounded like a cool idea. I kept picturing how it would look in my head and made a point to look for it next time I was at Blockbuster. While I was able to find it, I wish I could say it was as cool as I thought it would be.

The appeal of driving on top of pool tables and countertops was great. You could even race tiny boats in a bathtub. But the racing itself was really dumb. Rather than actually racing for first place, when a racer got to a certain distance ahead, they were given a point, then all the racers lined up again and the process repeated. You had to get the most points to win the race. It was really stupid. I remember checking to see if I was playing on the wrong game mode or something but nothing I did changed it. If it was actual racing, I would have really enjoyed this game. What's weird is that when I told my friend at church about how stupid I thought that was, he had no idea what I was talking about. Needless to say, I was very disappointed by this. Eventually a sequel was released, but I never had the chance to try it out.


Once again, we find a game based on a cartoon most of us watched. And once again this is a game that I never saw an ad or commercial for, I just happened to see it one day, said to myself "Cool," showed it to my mom who thought it was neat as well, and that was that. I think may have been an overcast day as well. It came with the instruction booklet, so I was able to wet my appetite a little during the short drive home.

Sadly, this is another one I don't remember too much about this game. I think Penny was kidnapped so Inspector Gagdget went on a quest to stop Dr. C.L.A.W. and save her. Gameplay was usual 16-bit platforming, albeit this time you were armed with plenty of go-go-gadget doohickeys to aid you. I remember enjoying this game, but I know I didn't finish it, and I know that after renting it I never played it again. Wish I could tell you a little more, but it is what it is. So for the grand finale...


Even though this is the last game on my list, I believe Rabbit Rampage was actually one the earliest SNES games I rented. At that point Bugs Bunny was still my favorite Looney Tunes character. I thought it looked pretty cool and captured the cartoon feel really well. I also liked how the story broke the 4th dimension. An artist has started drawing Bugs in difficult situations, which was the reason why he was trying to get through these levels in the first place. I thought it was hard though and never came close to beating it. I read in a magazine later that the culprit turned out to be Daffy.

The thing I can recall most though while playing this game is that the night I rented it, I ended up waking up at around 5 in the morning for whatever reason and try as I might, I couldn't go back to sleep. Since I couldn't sleep, I wasn't sure what to do with myself until I thought hey why not play some Super Nintendo? Since I wouldn't have a tv in my room until owning a playstation, I had to venture out into the living room. And I remember it being kind of exciting to go out and turn the tv on, quickly turn the volume down, and switch the display over to play the game. It was the first of what became many times I would do this and I've never forgotten that first rush and sense of freedom that came from doing something while my parents were asleep. :)

And...that's all. To the best of my knowledge, these past six articles include every game I ever rented while I owned my Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It does not include games I borrowed from friends and family, and it is by no means every SNES I ever played. So with this being the end of the list, it's time for me to get sentimental.
I miss it. When I started this series, it was initially a fun attempt on my part to remember a story to go with each game. But as the articles were completed, it became, to me at least, a time machine into my childhood. I started to remember what my hometown looked like through those Blockbuster windows, and all the times my family and I went out to eat at Sizzler and how I created legendary desserts at the dessert bar when our meals were through. I remembered waiting for our pizza with my dad at Little Caesers and always wishing I had a quarter to play the Street Fighter 2 arcade that was there for a little while. And yes, I remember the games. I remember the game aisle at Toys R' Us, where you paid for your game with a ticket and picked up the actual cartridge at a seperate counter away from the checkstands. I remember Play It Loud, and how much I was looking forward to the games that were coming out. During this time, the thing I wanted to do more than anything in the world was make video games. I use to shoot hoops in my backyard and think up game ideas. I'd draw levels on notebook paper in class when we had downtime. When I got the Donkey Kong Country promo video, I watched it over and over again, just to see the inside of Nintendo of America and I'd picture myself working there. I poured over new issues of Nintendo Power, and even took out some sections such as the Mario Kart strategies and Super Punch-Out guide, punched holes in them, and put them in my Trapper Keeper. Please don't misunderstand me and think I spent every free moment of that time in front of the tv with a controller in my hand. I did plenty of other things too. I guess looking back on all this made me realize why I loved this console, its games, and the era they all came from so much. It's hard to put into words, but I also think you just had to be there. My appreciation to all who found these article worthy of their time.
Stay retro folks. Thanks for reading.
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