Taz-Mania

released on Dec 25, 1992
by Sega

A video game adaptation of the Taz-Mania cartoon, starring the Tasmanian Devil. One of several games based on the license, the Sega versions features the same story, but has a unique design and set of levels in the different platforms.

Inspired by a tale his father told, Taz goes on a quest for the egg of a giant prehistoric seabird, which will lead him across the whole of Taz-Mania through 16 levels of platforming action. He must survive a desert, a jungle, a car factory, a mine and ancient ruins. Taz is able to run, jump, and spin fast to turn into his trademark whirlwind. While spinning, he can knock out most enemies he comes across. He can also pick up many different items and try to eat them or use them in another way. Most foods replenish his health, while eating hot peppers gives him a fire breath attack. Stars grant temporal invulnerability, while bombs should be thrown at enemies (and definitely not be eaten!).


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Today marks a very important day for me. I am no longer a boy. I am a man.
Nineteen Ninety Two's 'Taz-Mania' for the Sega Genesis is a revolutionary title; not only for its time but of all time. This game's importance for founding one of the many institutions that civilization needs to continue inspires people to this very day.
'Taz-Mania' follows a member of a fictional race of marsupials from Tanzania called the "The Tasmanian Devils" named Taz. He goes on an adventure few have matched in any form of story telling with more laughs, tears and thought put into this one experience than what one author puts out in their entire life.
'Taz-Mania' is a truly life changing experience. It has not only opened my third eye, but my fourth and fifth as well. A game; no, an experience such as this one is something that all man should experience before they succumb to an endless thoughtless abyss.
For all these reasons; that is why 'Taz-Mania' is fucking shit.

This review contains spoilers

Taz Mania for the game gear has given me much to think about. It has given me more to chew on than a thanksgiving feast, or even 3 packs of bubble gum.
There are many a gamer out there who believe that video games should be nothing more than just that, games. Simple level to level gameplay is all that matters, after all, right? However, this line of thinking, while not wrong in its own right, doesn't acknowledge how video games can be unique from other story telling mediums. It has been said all too many times by various deep thinking people of play, but the thing that sets video games apart from something like a novel or movie is the interactivity.
While it is full of potential for unique, interesting stories, most games are either not interested in pursuing such heights, or try, but ultimately fail at doing so. Many modern games attempt at taking advantage of the medium usually ends at "walk forward while a character talks to you" (examples include any playstation exlcusive released in the past 5 years), or when it comes to interactivity, you can make your own choices to experience a wholly mediocre narrative differently than your buddies (example: any david cage game).
When not using those techniques, story based games often use methods such as dumping so much text that I can tell my mom that I actually haven't stopped reading because I played a visual novel, or the meta narrative. Meta narratives are often a bit shallow, however, as their ideas usually go only as far as "killing people is wrong and gamers are bad???" (which is wrong, killing people that disagree with you is awesome and correct).

With that tangent aside, what does this have to do with Taz-Mania? How does it serve this review for me to shit on a bunch of unnamed games using unspecific examples? What is the point of it all???
I believe it was important to highlight the shortcomings of modern games in order to appreciate how Taz-Mania nigh perfected blending gameplay and story all the way back in the distant age of 1992.
On the surface, the story is very basic, almost non existent. The premise is that Taz' father Hugh recounts to him a tale of the giant seabirds, whos eggs could feed the Tasmanian devils for a whole year. Consumed by gluttony, Taz embarks on a quest to locate the seabird, and feed on his unborn. taz is a lib confirmed?
At just a glance, yes, it is nothing of note. Hell, playing the game without the manual nowadays, you probably won't even know the story (this actually enhances the game, but let's put a pin in that for now). Once you look deeper inside, however, you will find one of the greatest studies on psychological warfare out there (which I know a lot about btw, I had to do a report on the chocolate war in 8th grade).
Within moments of booting the game, the player will be met with a Taz in a frenzy. What does he feel? Confusion? Anger? Sadness? Is this whole journey a coping mechanism, and to what does he direct these emotions towards? Unfortunately for the wild devil and the player, there is naught the time to reflect on such things, because without immediate action, a boulder will tumble over Taz, and kill him instantly. Confusion. What the fuck just happened? Why is B the jump button? Why is he so slow? I hope Taz dies (he did).
The player is once again thrust into a second chance at life, where they will probably realize that A is to spin, and that is the method to outrun the boulder.
Like a shot of some drug (idk), the feeling of spinning makes Taz and the player feel invincible. Despite the nature of the action, there is control. Yet, just like the high of a substance, it cannot last. Spinning drains your health, it is painful to move forward. Without knowing that you can hit down to eat rocks and tanks (for some fucking reason), the boulder will catch you and fell Taz once more. Anger. Who makes this game? I hope they are locked up forever. I wish to see the developers sealed within the earth.
After many failed attempts, I (and I suspect many others playing this ultra popular game gear hit) found myself facing a large gap. For some reason, I thought I had to just fall into it to clear the level, because my previous attempts of jumping had been nothing short of pathetic. Predictably, Taz sunk to the bottom of the earth, as did my heart. Sadness. I had to do the whole level all over again. I want to quit. I want to cry. This game sucks. This game is not fun. This is one of the worst games I've ever played. You have surely heard the various critiques. The music can hardly be counted as such. The visuals are painful to look at. The game is bullshit and the average person would probably take eating a buffalo's shit pissed on by a giraffe and covered in some other unpleasant animal substance over playing Taz-Mania to completion.
And yet, despite what we say, we persevere. Our mind tells us to stop. Our senses are being assaulted. We're not having fun. Yet we feel in urge to continue. Our body and mind are at odds. But we must have the inherit urge to conquer Taz-Mania. To what end?
The reason Taz-Mania is so compelling is because it reflects the human existence. It is not the first, and was certainly not the last, but I believe it pulls it off with the most aplomb.
Think of "good acting compilations". What are the emotions you see displayed most often in them? Confusion, anger, and sadness. It is how Taz feels, and by extension, how the player feels. He is the perfect player vessel. You and Taz work together to push through the pain and frustration together, and I did. We reached the end of the line, just like last time. I press and hold the jump button. The follows events had me in awe and nearly brought me to tears. Despite previously not being able to clear small springs of water moments before, the Tasmanian Devil makes a miraculous leap that would make Michael Jordan in space jam blush, escaping the boulder, and by extension, clearing the level.
Taz-Mania ultimately represents the indomitable human spirit in the face of the indifferent cruelty of the universe. Nature does not care for our suffering. There are more levels in the game, each somehow more painful than the last. Yet despite it all, the player and Taz push on, before inevitably reaching the Sea Bird's treasure.
Life will always be messy. There will be ups, but there will also be many, many downs. Playing this game could be considered a big down honestly. Even if you conquer one obstacle in life, another could be waiting right around the corner. The cruelty of the universe becomes almost comical at a point. But what do we as a species have in common? We push on. No matter the odds, be it the Ice Age, the Black Plague, or Taz-Mania for the game gear, humanity always finds a way.
Today may be hard. Tomorrow may be worse. But if one thing is certain, it's that there is always a way. And like how Taz is probably savoring his year long feast with his loved ones as a reward for his efforts, we enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that we were able to overcome it, despite it all.
still giving it one star tho lol

Introduction:
Hello, you may be wondering why my review is uncharacteristically long for myself. That's because I played this game growing up, it's weird because for the longest time it felt my brain was keeping it on the down low, like it's some kind of dirty secret that I'm not allowed to remember. It wasn't until I found out later that this game is apparently uber popular on the site. It seriously took me by surprise, but recently I decided to play this again and just now made a real effort to beat it. Despite how absurdly short it is, it obviously wasn't easy. But hey, it did eventually happen.
Act I: Uh Oh
We begin play and right away Taz is being chased by a large ball of shit that kills him in one hit, it's always great to have zero time to get used to the game's controls and horrifically choppy scrolling. Your ability to spin and get away from this thing is tied to your health meter for some dickbrained reason, and you have to constantly restore it by picking up fried chicken and bottles of some sort of fluid that I'm not taking any guesses as to what it is. Just like in the dumbass Genesis version of this game you can accidentally destroy items with your spin though, so be fucking careful. I think you can miss like one or two maybe, but it's also worth note there seems to be a nice case of rng here where sometimes a rat bastard will throw a rock on your head as you're trying to pick up a chicken/fluid bottle.
After all this chasing what are you expected to do? You come across a cliff and just take your death right? Wishful thinking, but nope. Leap of faith. Remember that for later.
Act II: Minecart Madness Part 0
We're only two stages deep and the game is already mocking me with it's repeated high-pitched notes and trying to bamboozle me with a minecart maze. The joke's on it though, because I already know how to get past this thing. Out of everything I can actually remember about this damn game it's this, everything else past a certain point is basically a memory that was sealed away never to be heard from again. Probably for good reason.
The most humorous thing about this stage is making the minecart spring upwards and smash Taz's body into the low-hanging ceilings of one of the shafts, obliterating all of his bones and rendering him completely paralyzed for life. That'll fuckin' teach him.
Act III: 1080 Coolboarder
Taz makes his way out of the mine and decides to start snowboarding on a tree branch, all while sporting the most despaired look he could possibly give. He's well aware he put himself into this situation right? He should know what he signed up for.
I love that they decided to give you a choice of path here. Want the bottom path with pits you can fall in, or the top path with at least one more place where you're guaranteed to take damage? Everyone on the task of making this game was hopped on at least four forms of hard drugs. It doesn't matter because this shit is easy, especially compared to the hell that awaits us.
Act IV: Hell Hath Frozen Over
This right here destroyed me for ages as a kid. The most hateful shit of all time, meanwhile the fucking game is constantly slurring at me in the form of 8-bit shrieks. Repeated shoutings of archaic terms meant for bundles of sticks being spat at me by this demented and evil game in an attempt to trip me up while trying to contend with Taz's absolutely abominable jumping. You can spin during this shit to speed up and get through the penguins, but what's even the point when both things do damage to you?
The worst part about this section is that it feels like it takes an eternity especially after how short the last one was, like I dunno what's going on but it feels like time forgot about this part. It doesn't help that I died the most to it. Even more insulting when I found out later you could spin out of being frozen as an ice cube.
Act V: Absolutely Abominable
After getting through all that homophobic shit, what could possibly be next? Oh, why a boss fight of course! It's that guy who wanted to hug and squeeze Daffy Duck that one time. Why does he want to kill Taz? How the fuck do you even kill this guy? The answer confounded me for ages, but the answer is to...jump and spin towards the icicles to make flames shoot out of the ground?!?!?!
...?!?!
...????????????????????????????????????????
Act VI: Flight of The Devil
God, tapping the button to keep flight? At this point my brain has astral projected itself elsewhere and I've checked out from this shit. Why do the piss clouds that you're supposed to get to and refill your energy make the rudest ringing noise? This game's bad manners bewilder me.
I think I died to this stage back in the day because I didn't realize the piss clouds restored my life, it was probably due to the damn ringing which doesn't sound like a good sound. Seriously, what were they thinking?
Act VII: LOG
At this point I'm kinda just sitting here wondering what is going on with the difficulty curve of this game. The ice stage completely obliterated the shit out of me, and the boss afterwards was basically a brick wall with "FUCK YOU" written on it. Afterwards everything so far now has just been incredibly easy, just ride the log. That's all you gotta do. It's so easy, but god forbid the music doesn't let up for at least a second on it's excessive molesting of a tiger electronic game to assault my dwindling consciousness.
Oh stupid me, I forgot my brain astral projected earlier. What is even going on anymore? Who are you? shot by sudden arrows from offscreen
Fuck you bow and arrow person.
Act VIII: Thy Brain Cells Consumed
Um, wow. An actual stage I can just move around in?! With no autoscrolling or thing to force me to move?! I dunno what to think, I'm lost. What can I do without some sort of guidance?!?!
I actually was kinda confused by this stage for a hot second, but then I just went up and up. It's funny too, because once you finally have free reign over movement you really sense just how absolutely baloney fucked the jumping is. If you jump straight up? The framerate is all fine and dandy. Jumping at an angle though? Oh god, the system just can't handle it! The sheer power of Taz jumping at a 45 degree angle completely destabilizes the entire universe. What a terrible reality to live in.
Oh yeah, at least three blind jumps by the way. Are you surprised? I hope not.
Act IX: MOMMA
Holy shit, another actual stage? Except instead of some temple it's random platforms on an island or something? I don't even know anymore, but you just go up and up again like in the last stage, except you have this obnoxious big ass bird constantly pestering you with even more guaranteed hits. I don't think I mentioned it yet, but I do wanna meet the person who thought it was great to make spinning take away your life, I want to call them inhuman and despicable before I repeatedly punch them in the groin.
So what do you get for all that? The egg hatches and sprouts legs, then it follows Taz thinking he's their mommy, despite presumably the real mommy constantly bothering us through the stage. So there you go, a mild comedy ending followed with a generic "you're winner!" screen where you get to find out that the composer knew that they sucked so fucking bad that they left their name off the credits.
Aftermath:
Well, what is there to say? I dunno man, I feel like others did a better job probably of describing this monstrosity. Should I be thankful that I revisited it? Absolutely, I seriously missed out on just how special this game truly was, cause god it's a seriously charming pile of trash. Peak kusoge. Mwah. 11/10
Very happy to know I grew up with this shit, thanks everyone.

I saw the Game Gear version of this on a video once like 6 or 7 years ago and was utterly fascinated by how awful the music was, so I decided to play it and then I was utterly fascinated by how awful everything else is. For years I would show it to friends just to see their reactions to the music and such, and it never fails to get a laugh out of me even now. Around last year I showed it to a group chat with another user here, XenonNV, who then spread it further and I guess it became an inside joke on the site?? And then somebody ran it at AGDQ as well. Those were both really fucking funny to see, it's crazy when you indirectly cause something like that.
The original version of this game, however, is on the Genesis. For a while I was curious if it was any better, and really it only bumps up from like a 1 to a 2 or 3. It's still awful, and would you believe the music is just as bad? It's not ear piercingly loud or anything like the Game Gear version, but it's really flaccid and sad and often just sounds like you gave a four year old a Casio keyboard and left them with it for 20 minutes. The sound effects are basically the same as well, and early on you'll hardly be able to discern them from the music. Each time he lands for example, a tone of random pitch is played, something that sounds like a sad trumpet. Every, single, time. Have fun with that.
The quizzical level design is also of note. Take a look at either of the levels in the mines, or the log riding levels, and you'll see what I mean. But even in its more subdued moments, it's weird and mazelike and full of death pits. It's a weird feeling to have what feels like screen crunch on a game designed for a fucking CRT, no? What's up with that? Is it just another product of putting large sprites as top priority and then forgetting to make anything else good, like Sword of Sodan? Are you really doing anything right at all if your game can be compared to that?
So no, the Genesis version is not good either. I would change the rating by a point or two to accomodate but it seems on here it's actually the less popular version now lmfao. Really absurd game. I hope Taz runs for president in 2024

Very challenging for a Taz-Mania game. I still remember how much I struggle as kid with the river and minecart levels. Its very good tough.

Some of the worst sound effects in gaming history.