Review: Ty The Tasmanian Tiger
Posted 23 Feb 2003 at 22:31 by Andy
The little island of Tasmania became much better known thanks largely to the success of Warner Brothers' Tasmanian Devil and Krome Studios no doubt hope that Ty will enjoy even greater acclaim. It's by no means easy to achieve this of course. Introducing a new character to an audience who have already embraced their firm favorites has proved something of an uphill struggle in the past. One thing Ty does have going for him though is sheer originality. I don't recall ever seeing a game that utilises the Australian landscape in such an effective way. Eye Candy alone has never saved a bad game though, so have Ty and Friends got what it takes to slug it out with the mighty Mario?
Ty and indeed 'the outback' look absolutely beautiful throughout the game and the attention to detail is truly stunning. What's most apparent (as any computer artist will tell you) is that almost all of the various levels consist of outdoor, and therefore natural, locations that pose much more of a challenge visually than anything manmade. Krome have done an incredible job here and the various spot effects such as fire, water and snow add to what are some of the best-designed levels I've seen for a long time. In addition there are a whole host of animated friends and foes you'll encounter throughout the game. The FMV aint' bad either.
The audio aspects really are of very high quality and the mixture of music and sound effects is always clear and very well designed. Yes, the dialogue may sound a little cheesy from time to time and older gamers may cringe every time Ty celebrates by hollering 'ripper' to his mates but the other sound effects are excellent. The music is very pleasant too with the Australian based studios utilising a whole host of 'Down under' sounds to create some wonderful percussion based material that changes from level to level. Overall, an audio feast for gamers and hopefully Krome's next GameCube outing will sound as good as this one.
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger has been charged with helping the elders to recover five mystic Talismans that have been stolen by the evil Boss Cass. To do this you must gather enough Thunder Eggs (over three areas) in order to enter a portal and then battle it out with whoever or whatever is guarding it. Almost everything is achieved in these areas with the help of your customized boomerangs and utilising the correct one for the job at hand is something you'll have to learn very quickly. The various boomerangs can only be acquired however by collecting golden cogs which can be very well hidden. You also have the ability to glide but, as you always descend, this can be a little frustrating especially if the object you're trying to reach is higher.
It's not all about roaming around collecting things though. Thunder Eggs are usually awarded after you complete one of the numerous mini games. These really are very diverse; some are incredibly simple while with others you are constantly hitting 'replay' to gain your valuable prize. On the simple side of things almost every area has a race of some description where you must beat a competitor over a pre-defined course marked out with rings. Miss a ring and it's all over. More difficult challenges arise when you have to use one of the many missile devices to keep numerous enemies away from a valuable item for a given amount of time. The problem here is that you can never tell which direction they'll come from and some of them require you to scan a full 360 degrees. Falling somewhere in-between is the challenge of locating lost children because while some of these are easy, in others you might have to search an entire area several times.
You can also gain thunder eggs by achieving 100 percent of the collecting objectives available on each level. These include collecting 300 opals and freeing five caged Bilbies. As with everything else in this game it starts out simple but ends up very challenging indeed. There is help at hand however and a simple switch over to the options menu allows you to view your stats. Included here is an incredibly useful map indicating where you've collected Thunder Eggs and challenges yet to be completed. It doesn't show you the location of the opals or Bilbies though so you'll still have to search for those using your own exploration skills. Finally the save feature has been kept very simple indeed so you can restart the game in any of the many areas although you always start at the beginning of a stage rather than your exact previous location.
B: Throw Boomerang.
L: Ty's View.
R: Lock On.
Z: Zoom Camera.
C: Move Camera.
D-Pad: Menu Scroll.
Control Stick: Movement.
Platform Puzzler fans are in for a bit of a treat here as Krome Studios have obviously done their research on exactly what we GameCube owners actually want. What hits you first is just how diverse and inventive the various missions are and Ty really does have that 'just one more go' quality. In addition the learning curve is perfectly pitched so you'll be causing trouble in the Outback in no time at all.
This is where Ty becomes slightly unstuck because although there are some 15 levels available here even a novice gamer should have it all tied up in a number of sittings. There is some extended gameplay to be had if you decide to collect absolutely everything and attain the elusive 100 percent. This opens up extra levels but you can't help feeling that some type of multiplayer option would have been a great addition to an already great title.
I found Ty to be a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding game and if you've just completed Mario Sunshine this should be your next stop. It's not every day a developer takes a chance on an original license but if all Movie/TV tie in games were even close to this quality the home entertainment industry may not be in the trouble it appears to be currently experiencing.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Not quite Mario but certainly a very close second place.
A Little Short
No Multiplayer Option