Taz in Escape from Mars
|Taz in Escape from Mars|
European Mega Drive box art
|Developer(s)||HeadGames (MD, GG)
|Release date(s)||Mega Drive
Taz in Escape from Mars is a video game developed by HeadGames and released by Sega in 1994 for the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Game Gear featuring Taz, the Looney Tunes Tasmanian devil cartoon character. The Game Gear version was ported by TecToy to the Sega Master System and released in March 1997 only in Brazil. Taz must escape from Mars, where he was brought by Marvin the Martian. The game includes six worlds with two or three levels in each world.
The story's beginning
Marvin the Martian visits his Martian zoo and finds an empty cage. He looks in his book for Earth creatures and finds Taz, the Tasmanian devil. Marvin gets the idea of capturing Taz for his zoo and heads to Earth to capture him. Meanwhile, Taz is minding his own business until Marvin beams Taz up into his flying saucer taking Taz to Marvin's Martian zoo where Taz escapes.
There are 6 worlds, each with 2 or 3 levels and a boss at the end. Each world has a set of unique challenges, many of which closely related. The enemies, though with different shapes and appearances, commonly have the same action for the same type (such as a space ship shooting light rays). There are numerous enemies and powerups.
Taz begins on Mars in the Martian zoo Marvin brought Taz to. Scattered around are teleporters to teleport Taz to different parts of the level. The boss is an alien resembling an elephant with long spines going around in circles then shooting exploding mines that bounce around.
Moleworld has hunters in the form of moles. There is also dirt, of which Taz can dig into, often littered with spiky mines. The second level involves an underground mine with a mole hunter driving a large tunnel boring machine that constantly moves forward and takes Taz's life away instantly. The boss is one of the mole hunters in a large spaceship in an area where Taz constantly falls with rocks along the way.
Planet X involves some flying, and a little water. The first half of the first level involves land exploration with sliding along waterfalls and fast-moving rivers at the last half. The second level is entirely extensive waterfalls with many octopus and its tentacles. The third level is entirely flying. The boss is a large green centipede-like creature with spikes covering its body making several curves and zigzags each time it comes out of the ground.
Having arrived back on Earth, Taz is placed on a long, fast-moving wagon train pulled by mules with occasional cows and bulls along the pathway. Falling off this causes Taz to lose health and get dragged back slowly. Yosemite Sam sometimes appears here as well with a bird flying along that drops sticks of dynamite from the air, Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner also appear. The second level involves Taz exploring a Mexican town. Yosemite Sam fires his guns wildly in two places and it is the first level that introduces going indoors. The boss is a bull fight with Toro the bull, of which Taz needs to trick Toro into slamming into the walls of the stadium.
The haunted castle is the last world visited while Taz is on Earth. The first level is outdoors. The last two levels are both indoors. The last indoor level is in a laboratory. The boss is an evil scientist with Gossamer.
Taz visits Marvin's house to find and defeat him. The first level is outside where the level is drifting along the stars. The dog, K-9, is seen in two occasions as is even twice as powerful than any boss. The second level is a laser maze where Taz must shut off four lasers in order to access Marvin. Touching the lasers causes Taz to take damage. Gravity in the laser maze level is also varies on any of four basic directions: the usual straight down, but also up, left, and right. The final boss is Marvin himself.
After defeating Mavin Taz steals a space ship and steers it to Earth. The game ends when the devil eats a pile of fruit on the way home and went away spinning all the way.
Taz jumps, spins, and does other various actions. By spinning and colliding with an enemy, Taz can defeat his enemies and dig into the ground. The actions can be flipping a switch, spitting a rock, breathing out a flame, or picking up something.
Most enemies take one hit, others take two. Most bosses take 6 to 8 hits. Only one non-boss enemy's takes more than two hits to destroy. From touching an enemy without spinning, or one of their attacks, Taz loses one hit point of damage. Taz can sustain 12 hit points. Some boss enemies take two hit points and Marvin's dog, K-9, takes four hit points. Some enemies, like the fly or armored soldier (in the haunted castle world) cannot be defeated by the spin, but only by rocks or the flame. Others, like Yosemite Sam, cannot be defeated at all.
Completing a level involves either defeating the boss of that level or Taz eating an exit sign.
Powerups and powerdowns
The most common type of powerup is food. Food replenishes Taz's health. By spinning into the food, the food is destroyed. Food items include burgers (+1 hit point), bread, fruit, ham, and cakes. A special powerup is a medipack which replenishes 6 hit points if eaten, half of Taz's health. Other power-ups include a box of rocks and gas containers. By eating the box o' rocks, Taz can spit out rocks at his enemies. By eating the gas container, Taz can breathe out fire. Each gives ten shots. Extra lives and continues are scattered around in the levels.
Also, there are various power-downs as well that take one hit point away. The most common of which are small black bombs. Others include a time bomb, and a cake with dynamite. When eaten, the object explodes making Taz lose one hit point and become black momentarily.
Other objects include shrink and grow potions. While enlarged, Taz can destroy any enemy by simply touching it and enemy attacks do not damage Taz. While shrunk, Taz cannot destroy anything, but can get through narrow passageways.
By contacting these items in a spin, they are destroyed, useful on the explosives, but bad on the healing items.