The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle
I recently decided to go back into my old game systems. I wanted to try out some of the games I just couldn’t beat as a kid and explore some I had wanted through the magic of “vintage game buying” these days.
It seemed to make sense to contribute articles on these games as I go through some games – good or bad – through the years.
For me, it makes sense to start with the 1989 Game Boy release of Bugs Bunny and the Crazy Castle. While most are familiar with the signature Looney Tunes star, this isn’t really a landmark game for many – but this was actually my family’s first video game.
Children of the late 80s and early 90s remember what a big deal it was when all of the different contests were on Nickelodeon. My older sister, who once won a prize pack during the ever-popular Nick or Treat Halloween contest had won twice on Nickelodeon.
Nickelodeon was upping their Looney Tunes coverage and did a contest where you could win prizes if you were the first caller when a character from the show appeared across the screen on any Nick show.
My sister called all weekend and in one of the final appearances, got through. She won a GameBoy copy of The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle.
After my sister won, my parents took us to Sears to get GameBoys. Our first game systems. My sister would have her game but along with the Tetris cartridge that came with each system, I also got Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan.
But without The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, I may have been waiting even longer to get my first game system.
Below is the COMPLETE game play (credit to Youtuber BLSoldier00)
On my initial attempts to play, I breezed through the first seven stages without bothering to pause. Seeing Yosemite Sam and Sylvester chase after me ad the soundtrack of the same basic songs brought back several memories of playing the game in my early childhood.
The original GameBoy screen is definitely an experience I have not experienced in some time. Phone games are much more robust than this now. The colors were not as bright as the video above. It was hard to see at points and I got cocky running around stage eight with Bugs’ invisibility potion before one of the multiple Sylvester of the level mowed me down. Killed by a pussy’s touch.
To experience the boxing glove weapon where you pick it up and launch it at the right time, is to experience love. Before I know it, I am making my way to the eighth level in no time. That is 10% of the game.
Battletoads in Rare Replay is probably the closest I came to playing a game like this in some time. And that was when it was released on the Xbox One in late 2015. I’m not quite counting that as it was still on the kind of controller I’ve adapted to. At first, it can be a little trippy getting used to the sensitivity needed in reaction time.
I did love the old touch of the simplistic games giving me a code to bypass back to that level. Sure save files are nice now but the reminder of bygone days is here. Bragging to your friends how to skip ahead is pretty nice too. Go ahead… use XHO2 to get to the final stage.
By Level 11, the simple tricks no longer work. Multiple enemies at every turn and are upping the level of the difficulty. It is all about timing. I had a nice moment where I got partway to a staircase and annihilated the second Sylvester while the other one moved ahead for me to escape.
I swear I am only mentioning That Darn Cat when there are appearances of Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote and Daffy Duck. I remember it taking so long to see Daffy as a kid, I had assumed he was like a Bowser level boss.
Future editions for these should be a little more lighthearted and talk about the game more. This game, while fun, is simply Bugs just running around dodging the same couple characters – some of them running side by side with doppelgangers.
The crazy thing I think I will discover looking at some of these games will be their development which will be interesting. The backstory on Crazy Castle is actually deeper and slightly more intriguing than most licensed game cash grabs.
All these years later, I find out the game was not original. Crazy Castle started as a Japanese Roger Rabbit game. Mickey Mouse adventures through the Castle in other editions. The developer, Kemco, didn’t have the rights for Disney in the US. With Capcom making Disney games, Kemco changed Rabbits from Roger to Bugs Bunny.
The only Crazy Castle game made available on the NES in North America, the series brought several sequels to the GameBoy. The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2 is also in my collection due to excitement over the expanded Looney Tunes roster featuring some more obscure characters like Beaky Buzzard to characters who gained more popularity in the 90s like Taz, Foghorn Leghorn and a Tweety the same size as everyone else because retro games FTW.
Interestingly enough, while the Bugs games were the most famous in the Crazy Castle franchise in North America, spawning four different titles, Japan saw releases after the Disney and Looney Tunes games featuring Garfield and The Ghostbusters. Crazy Castle received a fifth North American release without Bugs. Warner Brothers rights no longer available, Kemco started working with Universal Studios to develop Woody Woodpecker in Crazy Castle 5.
Kemco is still around today developing mostly phone games. They occasionally produce a Wii or Wii U title in the past few years. Though developing a fondly remembered game of my youth, they had very little luck in the modern era. Kemco has not had anything for the Playstation or Xbox since 2005’s Chicago Enforcer. Weak, directionless titles followed after striking out with two of the worst rated game releases of the Xbox/PS2/GameCube generation – Universal Theme Park Adventure and Batman: Dark Tomorrow.