Having already exhausted DuckTales, TaleSpin, Duckwing Duck and Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, video game developers were forced to dig deep into the Disney Afternoon line-up for fresh ideas. Sega opted for Bonkers, a middling cop show-style animated series starring Ron Perlman, Rip Taylor and Jim Cummings. The result is Disney's Bonkers: Wax Off, a perfectly acceptable 2D maze game.
The idea here is to take Bonkers all around a large open level looking for clues. The game takes place in a giant haunted mansion. You move up and down stairs grabbing special items, dodging enemies and collecting enough clues to actually be useful to the investigation. From there you move on to other large stages, which turns out to be just another part of the mansion. Thankfully each section has a theme, so you it does feel like you're progressing from area to area.
Bonkers isn't the aggressive type, so it doesn't surprise me that he's not given a gun. Instead you have to jump on enemy's heads, not unlike Mario, Bubsy and a whole host of other platforming mascots. What Bonkers lacks in originality, it more that makes up for in strong level designs. The huge open levels are a perfect fit for a portable system like the Game Gear. Although it has platforming elements, the level designs feel more like a 2D maze game.
Outside of jumping, Bonkers can also run. However, players should be wary of running around. Bonkers picks up quite a bit of speed and is likely to find himself falling into a bottomless pit. I'm not sure what a bottomless pit is doing in a spooky mansion, but that's the least of his worries. The game throws a bunch of ghouls and monsters at you, which makes for a pretty spooky atmosphere.
Sadly, the game is a bit on the easy side. The open levels make it easy to escape bad guys, so you will rarely take any damage. And even if you do get hit a few times, it's always easy to find items that replenish your health. Thankfully there are a few levels to go through, but dedicated players should be able to whip through the entire game in one sitting.
The graphics are cute and the Bonkers character is well represented. He animates well, even if he doesn't have a whole lot to do. The backgrounds are darker than I was expecting going in, but by the end I kind of appreciated the style. It would have been nice if Sega had made more of an attempt to tie this all together with a story.
Wax Up is a fun game, though nothing you haven't seen before. This doesn't feel nearly as ambitious as Capcom's DuckTales games. On the other hand, this works well as a portable game. You can do a lot worse than Disney's Bonkers: Wax Up.