Jerry has invited all his mouse cousins over for a party, but when Tom learns of the shindig, he formulates a plan of his own--his own personal dinner party. In Tom and Jerry: Mouse Hunt, you'll control Tom the tomcat and go head-to-head against Jerry the mouse in 22 levels of mouse-catching competition. Whoever catches the most mice wins. The game plays like a mixture of dodgeball and basketball, with plenty of quirky power-ups thrown in for good measure.
The basic idea in Tom and Jerry Mouse Hunt is to collect more mice than Jerry in the time allowed. As a number of rodents stream onto the screen, you need to pick them up and toss them onto your plate before Jerry has a chance to escort them to safety. The action gets fast and furious, however, as you'll find yourself running all over the place to gather mice, oftentimes foraying into Jerry's territory. Spicing things up, a number of power-ups, such as baseball bats and frying pans, let you and Jerry slow one another's progress, while random appearances of Spike the dog and Mammy Two Shoes threaten to strangle Tom's abilities--literally. There's even a cheese power-up that attracts mice and a bomb power-up to blast mice out of Jerry's hole. Two minigames, whack-a-mouse and plate panic, provide you with a break from the action.
Tom and Jerry Mouse Hunt is a great game, but there is just one problem: It's only for one player. For a game with an intensely competitive premise and short, frantic matches, it's a shame that you can only battle the CPU. The single-player mode is kept fresh by 25 levels and an increasing number of character cameos, but a bit of human interaction would have elevated Mouse Hunt to all-star status.
Multiplayer gripes aside, Mouse Hunt looks as good as it plays. Each stage is set in a different part of the house, such as the kitchen, dining room, or basement, with objects scaled larger than life to account for Tom and Jerry's stature. The action is portrayed from a top-down vantage point, which enables you to get a bird's-eye view of roughly a quarter of the playing field at a time. As you roam around madly dashing for mice, the screen scrolls fluidly in order to keep pace. The animation level is high, and the character sprites are wonderfully drawn. With a quick glance at the screen, there's no doubt that you're seeing Tom, Jerry, Butch, Ducky, Mammy, and all of the show's 10 other cast members in all their cartoon glory. Added effects, such as a powder-burned Tom or a flattened Jerry, just add to the hilarity. There aren't a lot of sound effects to accompany the experience, but the inclusion of classic Tom and Jerry theme music fits the mood nicely.
All in all, it's pretty impressive to see how Conspiracy has taken a minigame from Tom and Jerry: Mouse Attacks and transformed it into stand-alone sequel. Tom and Jerry: Mouse Hunt is a fun and exciting sportslike game that lives up the TV show's madcap, albeit sometimes violent, reputation. However, the quality of the single-player mode makes the lack of a two-player mode all the more difficult to swallow.