Retro Review: Taz in ‘Escape from Mars’

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The 16-bit era was universally known as the heyday for exciting and challenging 2D platformers. After hitting their stride in acceptance among everyday households, video games also took to popular television shows and cartoons to expand its audience. Taz in ‘Escape from Mars’ is one such title, and reflects a few of the traditions why gaming still accepts the platforming genre today.

Captured by none other than the villainous alien Looney Tune, Marvin the Martian, Taz plans his escape from his Marvin’s evil clutches. With the touch of a jump move and the fierce spin attack the ferocious Tasmanian devil is known for, you make your way out of captivity. Fighting through numerous baddies and alien species, Taz will need his best platforming skills to return home.

As you spin through the levels the you’ll encounter walking enemies, flying enemies, enemies with shooting abilities and other of all sizes and speeds. Platforming your way from area to area, you’ll stumble across checkpoints, roughly marking the halfway point of most levels. As you traverse through Mars, Earth or any other levels, food items can be found to help replenish Taz’s health. Though, not all items, food items included, are helpful to Taz. If these certain dangerous items gobbled up by our hungry hero, such as a birthday cake with a stick of dynamite as a candle or, more plainly seen, a bomb, Taz will receive major indigestion, and eventually lose a portion of health.

Taz’s one-of-a-kind spin attack will help you traverse through broken walls and dealing with pesky enemies and items, but there are other modes of attack found throughout the game. Aside from food items and explosive traps, Taz can also devour a few other attack boosting items for a more diverse approach to combat. Eating a box of rocks will give you the ability to spit those very rocks at enemies, while swallowing a can of gasoline will give Taz the skill of breathing fire. While these skills only last for a short period of time, they become very useful as you progress further into the game.

Taz in ‘Escape from Mars’ is a simple, yet addictive classic holding its own in the realm of the traditional platformers. Easy controls and mechanics, additional powerup items, traps and even shrink/growth rays to access different parts of levels, this Looney Tunes classic spin-off title gave gamers of all experience levels an exciting take on the cartoon platformer genre.

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