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Looney Tunes Duck Amuck

Ho-ho, that's rich. Now how about some gameplay, stupid?

It's based on a famous Warner Bros short, and your job is to annoy Daffy Duck. Sounds funny. But is it fun?

It is a universally agreed fact that Sunday mornings are best spent in front of the telly with a giant bowl of milky brown Coco Pops.

You don't even have to be nine years old for this to be enjoyable. Looney Tunes has been an integral part of this morning ritual since perhaps the dawn of time, largely because their cartoons don't age. Unfortunately this legacy doesn't always translate so well into videogames.

Duck Amuck is at heart a pretty simple game. Based on the hugely influential 1951 short animation of the same name, it has you playing through a series of 'gags' in the form of minigames, with the basic task being to annoy the duck out of Daffy.

Duck Amuck coverbox

Most of it draws directly on Chuck Jones's seminal animation, as you prod and poke Daffy into some serious acme-style danger.

What's up, duck?

It's a shame that a game based on a cartoon that was declared "culturally significant" because it was so innovative should be so lacking in that department. The premise of Duck Amuck itself is wonderful, with you the player becoming the sadistic animator of the cartoon.

Any game which breaks the fourth wall with the ease that Duck Amuck does should, by all rights, be brilliant. But it's not.

The main problem is the arbitrary placing of the minigames. You begin in a blank background that acts as the central hub from which the gags develop.

This ends up feeling an awful lot like you're just hanging around for something to pop up and lead you into the action; which in practice means you spend an awful lot of time listening to Daffy's quips, moans and stock phrases, over and over and over. Which is about as much fun as it sounds.

Acme programming

The gags themselves are pitched very low and are fairly simplistic. So simplistic, in fact, that you can pause mid-minigame and receive specific instructions on how to complete that task.

And as you only have to win five rounds to boil Daffy's blood to Game Over pressure, it means you don't actually have to do all the gags to finish the game. Talk about easy going.

Admittedly, there's an element of fun to be had, but it's barely an afternoon's worth. Get it for your little brother and then borrow his for an hour.

The verdict

Despite having all the components for a promising game, this is a complete disappointment. Whoever said the old cartoons are the best was a bit wrong. Boo hoo.

Nintendo DS
Warner Interactive
Mini Games