Review: Bugs Bunny: Crazy Castle 3 (Game Boy Color)

In this review, we open the door to Bugs Bunny: Crazy Castle 3 on the Game Boy Color. We find out how well this puzzle adventure game plays.

This game was released in 1999. Although it is part of a much larger series, this is the first time we’ve experienced this series.

The story is that Bugs Bunny found an ancient book in an antique shop. Curious, he buys it and takes it home. As he reads, he finds out that there is a castle with a hidden treasure inside. No one knows where it is, but he vows to find it anyway. He then leaves the next day to find it.

Each level consists of a number of things. The doors is the biggest thing on the level. There are two doors: an unlocked door and a locked door. The unlocked doors contain items and keys while the locked door is the door you open to beat the level. To unlock the locked door, you must collect all 8 keys in the level. Otherwise, the door remains unlocked.

Keys ban be found on the various platforms in the game. Most often, however, the keys are found behind the various doors. Which doors they are found is largely trial and error.

There are other items that can be found in the levels as well. The next most common item (though it may not seem like it at first) are carrots. If you collect a certain number of carrots, you’ll be awarded a free life.

Another item you can collect are one of two weapons. Each level alternates between the default weapon. Either you can find bombs or guns that shoot corks. To use a bomb, you need to press “A”. This allows Bugs Bunny to lay a lit bomb on the ground. If an enemy touches it, the bomb will go off and the enemy will disappear. If you need to, you can go back and pick it up if your cunning trap somehow doesn’t work.

The gun, meanwhile, operates as expected. You point Bugs Bunny in the direction you want to fire and you press “A” to fire. If the cork manages to miss, it will travel all the way to the end of the level and turn back into a gun that you can pick up again. This presumes it lands on a ledge you can reach of course.

In addition to this, there are power-ups you can collect. The most common power-up besides the weapons are the shields. Shield creates a flashy bubble around Bugs Bunny. It lasts for a limited period of time, but you can walk past enemies unharmed with this. Some enemies will also run away from you as long as it is activated as well.

A similar item is the carrot shield. This produces the same effect and also lasts for a limited period of time. The key difference is that if you touch an enemy with this shield activated, you’ll defeat that enemy.

On a rare occasion, you may come across a bunny ear icon. This gives you a free life outright.

Later on in the game, you’ll find a lightening bolt icon. This causes the screen to flash. While the screen is flashing, every enemy that appears on the screen will be defeated. So, it’s important to move around as much as possible to defeat as many enemies as possible before the flashing stops.

Another item found later on is the boot. The boot will allow you to walk faster for a brief period of time.

One final item of note is the clock. These items are also found late in the game. These items will freeze all enemies in their position for a limited period of time. As a result, you can walk pass them harmlessly.

As mentioned, you will encounter a number of different enemies along the way. The enemies do change in appearance and, as such, there is the appearance of many different enemies. However, if you base your enemies on behavior, there are really only 5 in the entire game.

The first enemy simply wanders back and forth on the platform it is on. They will stop frequently for a moment, but keep going back and forth throughout the entire round.

The second enemy are the moving enemies. These enemies will move throughout the level. Most of them have a fixed patrol pattern they follow. However, if they “see” you, they will give chase to you for a while. Eventually, they will return to their own patrol patterns after a while.

The third enemy you’ll encounter is the gun toting enemies. These enemies will behave exactly like the first enemy. The key difference here is if they stop, they will fire their weapon. The shots will travel horizontally in the direction they fire until they either hit a wall or kill you.

The fourth enemy is found later on in the game. Specifically, they are ghosts. They will randomly wander the level. The thing is that they have the ability to move up and down levels at will without the need of anything to aid them. These can be annoying to deal with at times.

The final enemy is the final boss. This enemy will behave just like ghosts. He can move up and down levels at will. The only difference is that he will constantly and aggressively chase you down. In addition to this, he can move very quickly in short bursts of speed.

While this makes things somewhat interesting, the various obstacles in the game makes this game complex. At first, you’ll see things like ladders and jump plates. The ladders allow you to go up and down as you would expect. You can get off them at any level.

The jump plates, meanwhile, allow you to jump straight up. The practical use is that you can halt the jump at any time and move one space left or right in the process by tapping left or right.

As you get further into the game, you’ll encounter liquid pools of various colors. The only effect they have is that they slow down walking.

Similarly, conveyor belts will either slow down or speed up walking depending on which way you are walking and which way the conveyor belt is moving.

Another level feature is the warp plate. These plates (denoted by a “W”) will warp you from one part of the level to another. In a vast majority of the cases, there is a warp plate on the other side to warp you back. This isn’t always the case, but in most cases, you can warp back as well. Do note that enemies can laos use these.

One interesting feature is the vine/ropes. These features allow you to move across large gaps. In addition to this, you can use jump plates to jump up to them and hang off of them in the process.

A fairly common feature is the stairs. There are four kinds of stairs. There are the internal stairs that have an entrance and exit door. The second set are external stairs. You simply walk up and down them. A third set is the optional staircase. With these stairs, you can either walk up and down them or you can walk past them. The final set of stairs are the operational stairs. These stairs have the “A” buttons. You can move the stairs up or down a flight. If you have a weapon, make sure Bugs Bunny is facing the button before you press “A”. Otherwise, you might accidentally fire your weapon.

Pipes may not be very common at first, but they become a big part of the levels later on. If you go up to a pipe (whether they are above or below you) and enter it with the up or down arrow, you’ll go from one side of the pipe to another. One thing to note is the fact that you cannot affect your speed. If an enemy is standing at the exit point, there is nothing you can do to stop yourself.

Another feature are the breakable floor tiles. If you walk over them once, they will thin out. When you walk over it a third time, they will vanish completely and allow you to fall through them. They cannot be damaged from jump plates from below, but once you open them up, you can use the jump plates to jump back up through them.

Similarly, there are holes you can fall through. These holes are fairly well hidden, but can be seen if you look carefully enough.

One final feature of note are tools. There are two tools you can collect: sledge hammer and pick-axe. Like every other item in the game (save for the free lives and carrots), you lose the item when you enter the next level. The sledge hammer breaks apart rock blocks. The pick-axe allows you to climb climbing blocks.

The progression tree is strictly linear. The game is divided up into four parts. You enter the first part and get greeted by a set of 15 stages. The sets of stages are denoted by the names garden, hall, basement, and treasury. In each section, you’ll also notice that rooms have a subtle playing card suit (diamonds, clubs, hearts, and spades). The set of levels also determines what the enemies and surroundings look like.

If you complete a stage, you’ll not only advance to the next level, but you’ll also get a free life in the process. As such, a little effort is all that is needed to accumulate lives.

If you beat all four sections, you’ll gain access to the final level. Beat that level and you’ll beat the game.

One thing I noticed about this game is the fact that it can be very repetitive at times. All you are doing in the beginning is entering and exiting doors while evading enemies. Midway through the game, you are entering and exiting doors while evading enemies. When you get to the end, you are, well, pretty much doing the same thing.

A big part of the problem is that this game is very stretched out. If each section had 10 levels instead of 15, then it wouldn’t be so bad. As it stands now, there are 61 levels to face in total with precious few notable features that make the levels special in any way.

Another pitfall of this game is that it can depend a fair bit on luck. Sometimes, levels seem like they are a breeze to get through. You have very few enemies getting in the way. They few that are in the way can easily be taken out by a weapon. Other times, the game can be downright unfair because you find yourself with no weapon and enemies boxing you in either against a corner or coming at you from both directions. While you can use pause to scroll around the screen to avoid some of these situations, it sometimes doesn’t make for practical gaming.

In addition to this, the controls are particularly fussy. Up and down keeps moving Bugs Bunny in the direction he is facing. The problem is that they are also used to activate certain features such as stairs or pipes. If you happen to overshoot the entry point by even a pixel, Bugs Bunny will keep moving forward. This can prove fatal if the enemy is nearby. As a result, you may find yourself walking into enemies even though you were pressing down to get down a pipe. So, players need to compensate by using up and down early if they remember to.

Fighting with the controls also extends to stairs. The longer flights of external stairs can be particularly annoying because Bugs Bunny automatically goes all the way up or all the way down them. It’s possible to turn back, but not always. This doesn’t apply to the short flights of stairs. this can also prove annoying or fatal if you are trying to move down a ladder and, instead, find yourself wandering in the wrong direction anyway.

One positive glitch in the game is the fact that you can move past enemies through pipes and internal stairways. Even though you touch the enemies on the way through, it doesn’t count as a kill. The downside to this glitch are warp plates. If you warp out of an area and an enemy follows suit, warping in on the other side means you are touching the enemy and instantly die on the other side. This can prove to be very annoying if you are trying to make an escape.

One of the few positives to be had in this game is the fact that it is very easy to learn. Things like ladders, pipes, and weapons are almost self-explanatory. So, in that regard, the game’s simplicity does help things along.

Another good part about the game is the fact that the difficulty curve is fairly well realized. By the time you get to the tougher levels, you have already got a good amount of practice.

On a final positive note, the game employs passwords to help save your progress along the way. The passwords really help save on battery life. As long as you write down the last few by the end of your session, coming back to the game is pretty easy to do.

Generally speaking, this game does have a number of issues. Gameplay can be quite repetitive thanks to the many levels found in each area. Distinctive features within the levels outside of a pallet change would have helped immensely with this. The controls are rather clunky thanks to up and down being used to move Bugs Bunny in the direction he is facing and use certain level features. Level features are also pretty buggy and finicky because being off by a little sometimes means you can’t use the feature. The games learning and difficulty curve is pretty good, but the game can be a pretty big drag at times. Not exactly a thrilling game.

The graphics are pretty decent. The different looks each area level has does make for some decent eye candy. The slight color pallet changes does keep the game from being visually stale. The various characters are also nicely drawn. The animations are OK, but they could have been more smoothly animated if you ask me. Still, this is a pretty good effort here.

The audio is a bit of a weak point. The music is OK, but the most memorable one, being the treasury levels, does wear out its welcome after a while. The sound effects are fairly basic as well.

Overall, this isn’t all that great of a game. It’s stretched out, making the game feel repetitive. The controls are clunky and the features are excessively finicky at times. Because of these factors, the replay value is pretty close to the basement here. The graphics are pretty decent, but the audio is a bit of a sore spot for this game. I’d say this is a game to be skipped as it isn’t all that thrilling. Not a game I could enjoy much.

Overall
Furthest point in game: Beat the game with well over 30 lives left.

General gameplay: 14/25
Replay value: 3/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 52%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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