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Video Game / Taz: Wanted

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Taz: Wanted is a Licensed Game, developed by Blitz Games, published by Infogrames and released in 2002. It has no direct ties to any contemporary Looney Tunes works.

Taz and his Love Interest She-Devil have been captured by Yosemite Sam as attractions for his zoo while he rebuilds Taz-Mania into a theme park. Naturally, Taz escapes and is out to get his girl back and get revenge on Sam. But first he's got to destroy all the wanted posters baring his likeness around the place and Rube Goldberg his way through the bosses.

The game is primarily a collectathon, but with a twist. Rather than just collecting the signs, Taz is intended to obliterate them with his mayhem. While this can be as simple as just finding the sign, it often involves a convoluted series of events and puzzles to achieve victory over the signs that are in out-of-the-way places. The Taz that appears here is based of the classic cartoons, so none of the characters from Taz-Mania appear.

Taz: Wanted provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Taz is in a firmly heroic role in this game, rather than the Neutral-Evil role he takes in the cartoons. Perfectly understandable, given that he is on the defensive and is motivated by his thirst for freedom and freeing She-Devil rather than his usual hunger for everything.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Tweety Bird spends all of his screen time demeaning Taz. And turns out to be the final boss.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Downplayed. In the classic shorts, Taz was The Dreaded and sent other animals fleeing whenever he is on the loose, including sharks and crocodiles. Here, he is unable to scare off his enemies (other than zookeepers when he rants at them) who actively try to beat him up, with the aforementioned sharks and crocodiles actually trying to eat him.
  • Amusing Injuries: It's a Looney Tunes game, so naturally Taz can't be killed or permanently captured... but he can get hurt a lot while trying to break everything. Every level ends with poor Taz getting something hilariously painful done to him, incidentally bringing something back to the hub world that he needs to get to the area's boss.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The grizzly bears in Zooney Tunes and polar bears in Ice Burg will use Taz like a punching bag.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Taz: Haunted, a level in Wile E. West featuring pumpkins, bones, a mad scientist's lab featured in a haunted house, and two-headed hellhounds, is quite the scare, isn't it?
  • Big Eater: Taz, naturally, has a big appetite for practically anything such as sandwiches and even destructible objects that are otherwise inedible for humans.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: Bank of Samerica takes place in a rather dangerous construction site. Girders, cranes, bouncy metal grates, and chutes can be used to navigate the area.
  • Crate Expectations: The game rewards the player for breaking lots of stuff, especially creates and boxes.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: There's no extra life system, so getting injured just makes Taz stop for a bit, or reappear next to the pit or body of water he fell into. Even getting captured by the hunters just subtracts up to $1,000 of Taz's total bounty, and sticks him in a cage that he can easily break out of.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Sam is presented throughout the game as the Big Bad, but the final boss reveals he was actually working for Tweety.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The true mastermind turns out to be Tweety Bird.
  • Early Game Hell: The reward for destroying wanted posters increases as levels go on while the penalty for capture remains the same, making it easier to gather a large bounty as the game goes on.
  • Elephants Are Scared of Mice: The elephant in Zooney Tunes gets scared by a mouse, leaping onto a ball it was playing with like a circus elephant. The ending for the level has the elephant using Taz like a club on the mouse, only to end up bashing some crates that release more mice, causing it to bounce high into the air from the ball while still holding onto Taz.
    Tweety: That mouse sure knows how to get a rise out of that elephant, doesn't he?
  • Exposition Fairy: Tweety Bird functions as a very passive aggressive one, only directing Taz towards the tutorial area and insulting him all the way.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: After beating Sam for the final time, The End appears in front of Taz, who proceeds to eat "The End" and then the camera, ending with a movie reel for the game... that's not the actual final boss, though.
  • Final Boss: The final challenge is a battle against Tweety in the Hindenbird.
  • Harder Than Hard: Expert mode, the hardest difficulty, features no tutorials, Spinpads and Burp Cans have an even shorter time period before wearing off compared to Standard and Advanced, all objects must be destroyed, there are exactly 100 sandwiches per level, and getting caught by zookeepers will take $1,000 off of Taz's bounty compared to $500 and $700 on Standard and Advanced respectively. This also applies to boss fights as well, as the elephant moves much faster in Elephant Pong (10 scares faster than Standard), Daffy becomes even more aggressive in Gladiatoons at lower scores, and the dynamite detonates faster in Dodge City.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose:
    • If you lose a boss battle, you get captured by Sam. After winning every boss battle (excluding the final boss) Sam will get away.
    • Said by Tweety word for word in the introduction to the Samsonian Museum.
  • Hellhound: A few multi-headed dogs appear as obstacles in Taz: Haunted, acting like the guard dogs found in Looningdale's.
  • Hilarity in Zoos: Taz breaks out of his cage in Yosemite Sam's zoo and causes more mayhem there, particularly the level Zooney Tunes.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The difficulty selection, also known as Daffy-culty, features three difficulty levels: Standard, Advanced, and Expert.
  • Impact Silhouette: Taz creates a Taz-shaped hole in the Looningdale's mall after he gets stuck and shot out of an elevator.
  • Jerkass: Yosemite Sam, as usual, is a pretty big jerk. Here, he often demeans Taz (considering how much Taz destroys many objects including wanted posters, the player will hear him plenty of times) and likes to see him suffer and he also doesn't treat She-Devil very well.
  • Karma Houdini: Sam escapes in a jetpack after his last boss battle, getting no comeuppance for helping Tweety.
  • Killer Gorilla: Looney Lagoon features pirate gorillas that will beat up Taz.
  • The Mall: Looningdale's is a large shopping mall owned by Yosemite Sam in Sam Francisco.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Sam is eventually revealed to be working for the true villain, Tweety.
  • Marathon Level: Tazland A-maze-ment Park, the final level of the game, is a long level that, unlike other areas, is more linear and one wanted sign in particular must be destroyed before the others.
  • Mishmash Museum: Samsonian Museum has some exhibits combine with each other. For example, in the lobby, there are sculptures of a hotdog and a dinosaur skeleton in the same room.
  • The Mole: Tweety is secretly helping Yosemite Sam.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Keeping with some of Taz's cartoons, getting near record players or other sources of music causes Taz to slowly walk while enjoying the tunes until he gets out of the music's radius. One of the record players is even in an elevator in one level!
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The crocodiles in Zooney Tunes will leap out of the water and land on Taz, squishing him flat. If they miss, Taz can attack them causing them to briefly turn into handbags.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The costume for Taz: Haunted is a Were-Taz.
  • Palmtree Panic: Looney Lagoon takes place on a beach.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Acme Telephone Booths scattered through all the levels gives Taz a disguise based on the level's environment. The hunters aren't fooled by them, but the various mooks are, causing them to not attack immediately due to confusion.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Getting captured takes a cut off of your high score and past a certain point it's impossible to unlock all the bonus content if you get captured too much.
  • Pungeon Master: Tweety uses lots of puns when giving riddles on what to do in a level. Just a few examples:
    The solution is elemen-tree!
    Ooohh! There'll be a "hole" lot of trouble before you can blow this one!
    Taking control will see the hologram, holo-gone!
  • Punny Title: Each stage has a Looney Tunes-related pun.
  • Rule of Three: Most signs or objects related to destroying signs take three hits to destroy. Also, you must collect three key items in three levels per hub.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the game's intro, Taz is holding She-Devil similarly to the scene in Titanic (1997) where Jack is holding Rose at the bow of the ship.
    • The bonus games can be entered in a telephone booth similar to the TARDIS from Doctor Who
    • Taking a door to other hubs will have the text say "Meanwhile in a galaxy far, far away..."
    • While we're on the topic of Star Wars, while Taz is flying through space, he is seen colliding with a space station that looks awfully similar to the Death Star.
    • In Taz: Haunted, one of the signs is in a mad scientist's lab, but there are two devices in the way. They transform Taz into a mouse, and then the Macguffin rubber ball from Glover. If Taz gets damaged while in this form, he shatters in the same way that the ball does in that game.
    • The final boss uses a Mini-Mecha that is basically identical to the Power Loader from Aliens, complete with a cargo door behind them serving as a de facto air lock for the reference.
    • The entrance of Zooney Tunes features electric fences and arched gates similar to in Jurassic Park. There's even a few gigantic dinosaur footprints in the direction to a broken-down electric fence, and a building identical to the raptor pen.
    • Taz's costume for Cartoon Strip Mine is an Adventurer Archaeologist. Upon coming out of the telephone booth, he will say such quotes as "Taz raid ark!" and "Why it have to be snakes? Taz hate snakes." The music for the level is also similar to the movies' theme.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Ice Burg, complete with a frozen lake, a cable car, snowboarder polar bears, and a Christmas tree.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Just about every time you destroy a poster that isn't a sign, expect one of these to happen. One of the best examples of this is the Lighthouse sign in Looney Lagoon, which causes an epic explosion that encompasses nearly the whole screen.
  • Spin Attack: Being a game about Taz, spinning is naturally a core mechanic of the game. It's mainly used to go faster, break stuff, and turn switches.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Taz can't swim, which is especially noticeable in Looney Lagoon which is surrounded by water.
    "Why for you drown, Taz?"
  • Threatening Shark: Looney Lagoon features sharks that will leap out of the water and eat Taz, only to spit him back out.
  • Title Drop: Subverted; the Big Boo's Haunt level of the game is known as "Taz: Haunted".
  • Underground Monkey: A few mooks have different versions of one another:
    • The grizzly bears in Zooney Tunes have a variant in Ice Burg, which are polar bears.
    • The guard dogs in Looningdale's have a variant in Taz: Haunted, which are two-headed Hellhounds.
    • The security guards in Looningdale's have a variant in the museum security in Samsonian Museum.
    • The cowboys in Granny Canyon have another version in Cartoon Strip Mine, which are miners.
  • Variable Mix: When Taz is sneaking or the game is paused, a quieter version of the level theme plays. A hard rock version of the current theme plays while Taz is spinning.
  • The Wild West: Wile E. West takes place in a Theme Park Version of this. This also applies to Granny Canyon, found in the same hub.