Friday, December 8, 2017

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue

Following the success of the original TY the Tasmanian Tiger, Krome Studios developed a sequel, released in 2004, known as TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue. Among other changes, this release sees a somewhat drastic change in general gameplay, as platformers of its kind were wont to do. Continuing our look at this series, let us take a look at TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue.

Following the events of the original game, Boss Cass’ subordinate, Fluffy, is attempting to break him out of prison, however TY tries (and fails) to stop her. Sometime after this, Boss Cass has formed his own sovereign nation, Cassopolis, solely as a means to gain diplomatic immunity and get away with whatever he wants. In response to this, a group known as Bush Rescue is formed, with TY put at the center, to help those in need within Southern Rivers and protect them from Boss Cass. Meanwhile, with the aid of an old koala named Karlos, Boss Cass has been developing an army of Uber Frills in order to take over Southern Rivers.

The primary gameplay is similar to the previous game, primarily TY’s moveset and the presence of platforming, except now the levels take place in a more open world. Outside the starting town of Burramudgee, you move around the various missions in Southern Rivers via driving the Bush Rescue jeep (a minimap, like in TY 1 and 3, is provided to help you find your way). These missions can vary in terms of design and objectives, and somewhere deeper in the map is an area big enough to almost be an entire other hubworld.

The Bush Rescue jeep in action. (Finding usable screenshots remains
somewhat difficult.)

Burramudgee also has shops where you can purchase new Rangs and other abilities and story items, using Opals and other collectibles as currency. When you get past a certain point in the game, a new shop opens up on the map where you can purchase more powerful Rangs from Sly, a former enemy thylacine, which more resemble the Rangs from TY 1 to override the Rangs you can purchase in Burramudgee. (Protip: The Doomerang is the one you want for most situations.)

Being a game from 2004, the graphics are an improvement over the original TY game, including those of the pre-rendered cutscenes. There’s also sort of a minor art style change compared to the previous game, though it doesn’t deviate too much to be jarring. As with the previous game, it’s possible to see Australian wildlife running about, which can make one wonder how they could do that without sacrificing too much processing power. Also like the previous game, there is some good sound design, especially in the background music (at least one track even had me thinking of Ratchet & Clank of all things); the voice actors, however, are different from those in the previous game, making it a little jarring after you’ve gotten used to the previous cast. In spite of this, you do get used to the new cast after a while and they do a decent job putting their own spin on the voices without overall straying too far from how they sounded previously. There’s still the issue of a lack of subtitles in cutscenes, so you’d have to make do when playing.

One addition to the game is the optional kart racing missions (because there was a point where kart racing games were all the rage), which can provide a fun distraction to increase replayability. These minigames can be accessed from within the open world, however you can also access them from the main menu if you so choose, thus turning it into a potential party game akin to Mario Kart.

You also get to pilot a Bunyip at certain points in the game.

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue is a graphical improvement over the previous TY game, and the added gameplay variety and more open world gives something new for players to explore. The change in voice actors can be a bit jarring, however one can get used to it after several minutes of play. This is a game I would recommend to fans of the original TY game and its ilk, however I would still suggest newcomers start with TY 1 for the sake of the story. As with TY 1, this game can be purchased and played via Steam for those unable to acquire/play the game for sixth-generation home consoles.

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