reviews\ Oct 23, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger - XB - Review

In an already overcrowding lineup of platform game characters from Crash Bandicoot to Sonic the Hedgehog, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger joins their ranks in a Xbox game set in the Australian Outback.  The question is does this game offer anything different?  Read on, mates.


Living among those peaceful Bilbies, Ty is the last Tasmanian tiger left in the outback or so he thinks when he discovers a cave that tells the story of how his clan fought back against an evil cassowary named Boss Cass who is hell-bent on ruining the entire land.  It is in the cave that Ty discovers that his people are not dead at all, in fact, they were teleported to another realm known as the Dreamtime during a violent confrontation with Boss Cass.  During the fight, the tigers managed to scatter five Talismans before Boss Cass could get his feathered hands on them.


Your mission is to find all the Talismans and take them back to their slots in the Rainbow Cliffs in order to open the portal and free his people.  The mission spans through ten areas and it’s not going to be easy because Boss Cass has enough loyal followers helping him.  Luckily for Ty, he’s not alone either because his friends, Julius the Koala, Maurie the Cockatoo, Shazza the Dingo and Dennis the Frog are a big help.


Ty’s limited skills make for easy control interface since all he really does is jump, run, fling his trusty boomerangs and take a bite out of whatever gets in his way.  The areas are quite massive and scattered throughout the land are various collectables such as Thunder Eggs (collect seventeen of them to operate Julius’ Talisman Machine that gathers one Talisman at a time). Then there are the Opals (gather three hundred to operate Julius’ Opal Machine so it will give you a Thunder Egg).  You’ll also find Golden Cogs that, if taken to Julius, can be used to make new kinds of boomerangs.


There is much to do in each level and so many challenge to take on such as the escorting Dennis back home or freeing a number of Bilbies that have been locked up in cages by Boss Cass’ henchmen. The areas range from the snowy mountains to the Great Barrier Reef and they’re filled with all sorts of rascally baddies such as Frill Lizards, Red Kangaroos, Ninja Geckos or feisty spiders. 


Thankfully you can possess thirteen different boomerangs that have their own specialty.  The Frostyrang, for example, can freeze enemies, put out fires or create ice stepping stones out of water.  Meanwhile the Zappyrang electrocutes enemies and jump-starts power generators.  Unfortunately the enemies are not entire challenging enough, although the level bosses can really put up a fight.


The graphics certainly are good-looking, though, and while they’re not jaw-dropping enough for Xbox owners, it is still a job well done.  Characters are delightfully rendered to high-quality cartoon perfection and because of this the transition between the cut scenes the game’s action is almost seamless. There are also enough details thrown into the game such as the swaying grass that bends when you brush past it, the frothy foam of waterfall as you swim right underneath it and the falling leaves of the gum trees when your boomerang swoops through it.


As for the sound, the effects and the music are pretty average themselves.  The jumps and shattering of boxes sound the way you would expect them to sound if you have played enough platform games with the exception that collecting Opals produces a melodic chime and Ty’s mighty chomp.  The soundtrack will remind gamers of the classic platform games like Super Mario--only it is also sometimes laced with Australian tribal instrumentation. There’s also some excellent voice acting.  


Despite the fact that there is nothing really innovative presented here, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is still a delightful romp in the old Outback.  Gamers will still get a kick out of the charming characters and interesting objectives so this is a highly recommended rental.


#Reviewer's Scoring Details


Gameplay: 7.7
The controls are fairly simple to get into since Ty’s basic skills are run, chomp, fling and jump.  Pressing both the jump and chomp button results in a high flying super powered bite you can use on enemies, boxes or cages.  And for more precise throws of your boomerangs, there’s a button that gives gamers a first-person perspective.  He also gains other skills later in the game such as the ability to swim (in the beginning he could only doggy-paddle). Or learn how to use the boomerangs to help him glide (in the start of the game he could only use them as weapons or to cling to the edges of cliffs).   


Graphics: 8.0
The colorful characters are brought to life beautifully thanks to the good-looking graphics that not only make cut scenes look great but the action as well.  Gamers will love the movements and expressions on each character faces and the animated introduction that is truly the most well done animation seen in a platform game.


There’s a nice number of environmental details too such as the long swaying stalks of grass and paw prints Ty leaves behind when walking on the dusty trail.  The water effects are also stunning and even more so when Ty decides to take a swim.  And as far as effects go, the ones found here are really nothing to write home about--although the little death cloud that comes from a defeated enemy is a nice touch.


Sound: 7.3
This is somewhat of a disappointment because the soundtrack rarely makes use of the country’s musical influences such as more of an Aborigine or country feel.  Much of what you’ll hear is similar to the tunes found in Crash Bandicoot games.  Still, the voice acting makes up for this with some really great Australian accents. 


The sound effects are as unimpressive as the visual effects found in this game.  Most of what you hear has been done before with the exception of a few things here and there such as the sounds your more advanced boomerangs make when thrown or when they connect with something.


Difficulty: Easy
Many of the enemies don’t provide gamers with much of a challenge, although they can be quite a challenge if they attack at once.  Certain enemies need more than just a boomerang to the head, for example, the Rhino Beetles have protective coats so naturally your boomerangs won’t work.  The solution is simple, though; all you have to do is flip them over.  Just as easy as it is to solve that problem, so are the various puzzles you might encounter.


The biggest challenges come from the level bosses.  Confronting bosses like Bull the Razorback or the Thorny Lizard is not as easy even with your wide assortment of boomerangs.  Still the boss fights are never a frustrating event and defeating them is simply a matter of memorizing their attacks.


Concept: 7.5
While there is nothing that really sets this game apart from other platformers, the game does have a collection of appealing characters and fun and interesting missions.  There is a point in the game where you help your girlfriend Shazza collect her lost and wandering herd of Emus or aide Sheila the Koala in finding her eight missing pupils in the Snowy Mountains. 


Overall: 7.9
With an abundance of mission objectives and good level design, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is an average platformer with a lot of heart.  Unfortunately there is nothing really innovative shown here to rival the upcoming Xbox platform games such as Blinx the Time Sweeper.  This is a highly recommended rental.


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