reviews\ Oct 22, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger - PS2 - Review

Crikey, mates, the life of a Tasmanian tiger is not an easy one, especially if the critter in question is Ty the Tasmanian Tiger.  Not only must he unlock the secrets of his own kind but he must also duke it out with the awful Boss Cass and his army of angry henchmen.  With the help from his friends and a collection of trusty boomerangs, Ty sets out on an adventure in the land down under.


Living deep in the wilds of the Australian outback, Ty, the last of his own race, discovers a mysterious cave where he comes to learn about the real fate of his own kind.  It turns out that the race of Tasmanian tigers are not dead but trapped in an otherworldly dimension known as the Dreamtime by an evil cassowary (a type of ostrich-like bird) named Boss Cass.  The only way to free them is to locate five Talismans and place them near the portal in their original slots.  Sounds easy?  Well, not quite.


Boss Cass has many henchmen scattered throughout the outback carrying out his evil deeds such as caging the defenseless Bilbies (mice-like creatures) and getting in Ty’s way.  Armed with a boomerang--which you can upgrade later in the game--and a powerful bite, Ty is a tiger not to be messed with.  He’s also not alone since he has a few friends such as Maurie the Cockatoo and Julius the Koala helping him along with information and weapons.


The game plays like a straightforward 3D platformer with massive environments filled with collectable treats such as Thunder Eggs that power Julius‘ Talisman Machine--with seventeen Thunder Eggs, the machine transports a Talisman to an easily accessible point.  Opals are also collectables worth picking up since three hundred of them translates to one Thunder Egg.  There are also items, such as the Golden Cogs, that--if brought back to Julius--could be used to create a new techno-rang. 


Controlling Ty is a snap, really, since all he is able to do is jump, toss his boomerang and bite.  The bites serve the purpose of breaking the Crash Bandicoot-type boxes scattered throughout the terrain and injuring enemies when they’re close enough.  You can lock on an enemy to throw your boomerang or go into a first-person-targeting mode for a more precise shot.  There are definitely times when you need an accurate shot, but the targeting system works well enough.


There is much to see and do in each of the ten levels and since the environment is quite enormous, you can sometimes miss certain areas.  The enemies do a good job of distracting you from sight seeing, though.  They range from creepy Frill Lizards to mean Red Kangaroos and when they gang up on you, it is hard to fight them all back.  To make things worse, sometimes the camera can make things difficult for gamers.  The angles can be irritating enough that before you can correct it an enemy has already gotten the drop on you.


While not as visually eye-catching as other PS2 platformers such as Jax and Daxter, Ty’s graphics are not bad at all in comparison. Colorfully rendered in true cartoon-fashion, watching all the third dimensional characters move and react to things is wonderfully amusing. The massive backgrounds are also splendidly gorgeous with neatly textured foliage and neat water effects.  Effects-wise, Ty handles it beautifully during cut scenes as well as during the game itself.


A playful soundtrack keep you company throughout the game and its cheery melody would have been tiresome if it were not for the occasional tribal Aborigine-like rhythms that change with the pace of the game.  To top things off, the voice acting is both amusing and surprisingly accurate in its use of the Australian dialect and accent--it brings the collection of wonderful characters to life.  The sound effects are mediocre; there’s nothing that really stands out with the exception of the whirl of the boomerang.


There’s nothing really exceptional about this game but if you’re looking for a well-made platformer with massive playing environments and plenty of amusing challenges, give Ty the Tasmanian Tiger a try. 


#Reviewer's Scoring Details


 Gameplay: 7.7
The controls in this game are pretty simplistic and gamers will quickly get into it with no trouble at all.  Like most platformers, Ty must perform a number of different jumps to reach those hard to reach areas and there are certain objects--like the picnic baskets--that require him to take a bite out of in order to get the power up item. He even has the ability to do a super powered charge bite for those times when you want to chomp down on something from a great distance.


You also get to wield a total of twelve boomerangs, each with their own distinctive abilities such as the Kaboomerang that creates deadly explosions on impact or the Flamerang that creates a fireball that can melt ice and burn enemies.  The beauty of all of this is that you can quickly switch boomerangs on the fly when you really need it and the first-person mode makes for some really accurate throws.   


Graphics: 8.0
With neatly rendered characters and a fully third-dimensional environment, Ty is actually a nice-looking PS2 game that--although it doesn’t touch the level of detail seen in other recent platformers--manages to be adequately pleasing.  The character design, for instance, is as good as any Saturday morning cartoon and they won’t fail to put a smile on your face.


As for the environments, each area comes to life with its own scenic beauty.  The grass sways as you brush past it and the rushing waterfalls drape over you as you paddle on by--your kicking feet splashing water all over the place.  Equally wonderful are the special effects that pretty good when it comes to killing enemies (a skull made of smoke puffs up into the sky and dissolves) or when Ty gets swallowed and spit out by the giant flowers.   


Sound: 7.9
The sound doesn’t feature anything new in terms of sound effects (e.g. you’ll be hearing a lot of boings and boxes shattering into a dozen pieces). Collecting Opals, though, is an exception to this because when Ty collects them they chime almost musically.  And speaking of music, the soundtrack is fine and dandy and it does bring classic platform games to mind.  It would have been nice hearing a more Australian-flavored score, though.  


Still the voice acting is among the best with plenty of lighthearted dialogue and genuine Australian accents--thankfully, there is no overuse of Aussie catchwords like “blooming” or phrases like “G‘day mate.”  And with dozens of different characters, the voice acting sure does a fine job of adding to their already amusing personalities.


Difficulty: Easy
Unfortunately, most of Boss Cass’ henchmen don’t really pose much of a threat since their attacks are misguided attempts at rushing you head-on.  Still, when the Frill Lizards or the Red Kangaroos attack in groups, their attacks become more effective.  Thankfully the many level bosses provide the real challenges.  Each boss requires Ty to use different methods to defeat them and many of them, like Crikey the Shark, will have you repeating the level a couple of times.  Still, this isn’t a game where you’ll be seriously stuck or overly frustrated for not being able to beat a boss.   


Concept: 7.9
Ty isn’t the most original of platform heroes but the Australian setting and the excellent assortment of levels makes for a pretty decent gaming experience.  Aside from the main objective, there are dozens of interesting side objectives to keep you busy.  One of them has Ty searching for eight lost schoolchildren for a female friend of his or help his friend Shazza re-capture her eight lost Emus.  To top things off, there’s a bonus world that can only be found on the PS2 and GameCube version.


Overall: 7.6
With nothing new to bring to the table, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is an average platform game that is still entertaining enough.  I suggest you rent this one before purchasing it.


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