Well, it’s Easter again and to celebrate this holiday, we’re going to take a look at an adaptation of perhaps the best live-action and cartoon crossover movie ever made (that also features a rabbit BTW). We’re talking about Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an action game developed by Silent Software and published by Buena Vista. It was originally released in 1988 for the Commodore Amiga, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and DOS.
There are also other adaptations for consoles, but those are different games made by different companies, not ports of this one, so they’re not mentioned in this review.
But as always, let’s first look at the cover:
I have to give props to whoever was responsible for the cover art for not recycling the movie poster and although this cover is reminiscent of one of the movie posters, it features most of the main cartoon characters in the movie. Not a bad cover, truth be told.
But it’s time to boot this hare:
The intro isn’t anything to write home about and the title theme is just atrocious, although the title screen by itself isn’t that bad. Then there’s a small sequence (with much better music) featuring Baby Herman doing some exposition and telling Roger to go to the Ink & Paint Club before Judge Doom’s weasels and look for Marvin Acme’s will.
You take control of Roger the entire game throughout its 4 levels: the 1st level is a driving section where you control Benny the Cab while you race against the weasels, avoiding other vehicles and dip puddles. You can jump over anything and even over the buildings but if you fall in a puddle, you’ll lose a life.
If you manage to finish the level before the weasels, then we move to the 2nd level, where Roger has to run around all the tables, collecting all the pieces of paper he can find. But 2 penguins waiters are replenishing the pieces of paper and a gorilla bouncer in the lower part of the screen. If the gorilla bouncer catches you, he’ll kick you out of the club and you’ll lose a life. There’s also some whiskey glasses on the tables and if Roger catches one of them, well if you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens (and you’ll also lose a life).
There’s no way to tell where’s the correct piece of paper (remember that Marvin used invisible ink), so the level just ends, presumably when Roger grabs the correct paper or some time limit runs out.
The 3rd level is just like the 1st level but with more dip puddles on the road and finally, the 4th level is on Judge Doom’s warehouse where you need to travel from left to right to save Jessica from the dip truck. Unfortunately, the weasels are on the way, so Roger needs to use all the gags he’s carrying on himself to kill the weasels with laughter (just like in the movie) before the dip truck reaches Jessica.
If you’ve seen the movie, the game follows its plot more or less faithfully but as you can see, there’s no Eddie Vaillant in this game. In fact, the game focuses exclusively on the main cartoon characters (not the WB or Disney characters). Perhaps the developers didn’t have the rights to use the actors’ likeness and/or the Disney and WB characters, who knows.
The EGA graphics are okay although the animation is mediocre. It has nice, colourful still images between the levels, though. The PC Speaker music is horrible with just 1 or 2 tunes being somewhat good and the sound effects are almost non-existent. The control scheme is not very responsive, both the keyboard and the gamepad.
In conclusion, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of those licensed games where minimal effort was put into it. With just 4 levels and a ramped-up difficulty to stretch the gameplay, I can’t recommend it, not even to fans of the movie. If you want to try it in your own browser though, click here.
The Amiga version might have better graphics, more colours and way better music and sound (including digitised samples from the movie) but the controls remain unresponsive and it has some long loading times between the levels. I haven’t played any other ports or adaptations, so I can’t compare. There’s however a sort of a sequel, which we’ll review at a later date.
So, are you also a fan of the movie? If so, tell me below in the comments. And I know this was a short review but I promise a longer review of a much better game next time. Until then, have a happy Easter and keep on playing.
The late 80s and early 90s were all about taking good movies and making bad games out of them. I don’t guess they’ve stopped doing that.
There are some exceptions, like Hook or Batman Returns for DOS or SNES. But usually licensed games are done with minimal effort because the publishers know that they’re going to sell well, regardless of quality.
LikeLiked by 1 person