|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Amaze Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 10, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
The marriage of sight and sound can be a marvelous union capable of breeding uproarious humor and subtle narration in unexpected ways. Warner Bros. cartoons and classical compositions have always gone hand-in-hand surprisingly well, and the studio's animators capitalized on this serious potential. Given the success garnered from such combinations and how well the classics have held up over the years, it's no surprise to see the renowned Looney Tunes musical skits and wacky characters laid down as the foundation for a rhythm-based music game.
Looney Tunes: Cartoon Conductor is a strange animal indeed. Whether it actually works out well as a rhythm game is up for debate, but it's presented with enough charm and pizzazz to draw players in for a few more rounds of play beyond what's good for them - assuming they're easily enticed by the overtly Looney Tune character-adorned packaging. The cartoon presentation is spot-on right down to the character voices, and the situations accurately mirror the cartoons they're based-on. Still, Cartoon Conductor never quite gets comfortable in its new skin as a rhythm title.
The game puts players in control of a full-blown orchestral score for a medley of famous scenes involving Bugs Bunny and the gang. Using the stylus, they must conduct the music along to a series of cartoon skits modeled after the Looney Tunes of days long past. Switching between simplified Elite Beat Agent style touch controls and more common rhythm tapping motions, each performance is scored on accuracy. When each section of a song is completed, the gameplay will pause briefly as the animation moves to the next sequence. Missing a note will make the music sound off tempo and out of key, and players must hit enough notes to keep a bar on the left side of the screen from dipping down into the red.
The 12 main songs are comprised of popular orchestral pieces featured in the well-known cartoon skits. The list of famous classical composers is rounded out by the likes of Wagner, Beethoven, and Bach, among others. The music and cartoon animations are faithfully reproduced in their full glory on the diminutive DS. Admittedly, the songs and imagery have the potential to paste a smile on the faces of players of all ages. Kids will dig the toons and tunes, but they also pack a nostalgic punch for anyone who grew up with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Tasmanian Devil, the Road Runner, and the cast of countless other crazy characters.
Younger players who may have no problem listening to the same songs over and over again will find the brief track list of easily identifiable tunes to be a treat. Adults, on the other hand, will soon discover the songs strike a painful chord with frequent repetition. Honestly, I'm going to rip my ears out if I ever have to listen to the Can Can again. The frustration level increases greatly when playing on harder difficulty modes, since the sloppy controls will guarantee multiple failures on a few of the tougher songs until the proper timing becomes familiar. Six of the main songs also appear in "remixed" form with funky beats and odd sounds effects. Unfortunately, they feel more like a punishment than an actual reward for completing the bulk of the game.