Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue Hands-On

We take a trip Down Under to try out the console versions of Ty 2.

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The real Tasmanian tiger may be extinct, but the scrappy Ty of video game fame is still active and raring to go. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue brings back Ty and his friends as they form a group called Burramudgee Bush Rescue, an organization devoted to righting wrongs and helping out local marsupials in need. The peace gets shaken up a whole bunch when the infamous Boss Cass, defeated villain of the first Ty game, gets busted out of jail by his cronies. Once out, he somehow immediately forms his own country and hides his plotting behind diplomatic immunity (immunity that apparently also absolves him from breaking out of prison before his time is served). It's up to Bush Rescue to keep an eye on Boss Cass, foil any dire plots that need foiling, and help out innocents along the way. We were recently able to get our paws on all three console versions of this game, so we checked out Ty's new tricks and spent some time giving local townsfolk a hand.

When the peaceful countryside is threatened, Ty and his friends in Bush Rescue are on the case.
When the peaceful countryside is threatened, Ty and his friends in Bush Rescue are on the case.

The controls of the game are straightforward platformer. Ty has dual boomerangs that he can fire one at a time, he can jump and glide to the earth, and he has a short-range chomp attack to take a bite out of crime. The boomerangs seek their targets automatically, so you won't need to expend much effort to battle back even a crowd of goons, and the fighting is responsive and fluid. Dispatched baddies will explode in a shower of red orbs that serve as currency in Ty's world, and this is the only resource item you'll have to worry about gathering while you're busy saving the day. Ty can hop into a number of different battle robots called "bunyips" to cut a swath through the countryside. Bunyips can have their own special abilities. For example, the battle bunyip can execute a powerful smash attack that will affect all enemies in a certain radius, knocking them back or defeating them altogether. It can also carry powerful weapons and act as a stationary gun turret, letting you target and shoot down airborne foes as well as imposing, giant robots. As you progress in the game, you'll gain access to different sorts of bunyips that can cross dangerous areas, like lava, or clear large obstacles from your path.

Burramudgee Bush Rescue takes on jobs of all sizes, and at any given time you'll be issued a few missions for you to accomplish to help out the neighboring townsfolk. The assignments will vary, from having to clean out a sewer system full of crocodiles to rescuing a lost child from a tree. A PDA-like device, accessible from a button on the controller, holds a call sheet that lists the missions available to you at the moment, along with a colored icon. You can use the colored icon, which shows up on your in-game minimap, to find your way easily to the next destination. From Bush Rescue headquarters, it's just a short jaunt to town, and here you can use your hard-earned money to purchase items like new, snazzier boomerangs as well as the keys to all sorts of different bunyips.

There's also a kart-racing mode in the game, which lets you take the various Bush Rescue characters as well as the game's villains and duke it out on all different kinds of raceways. It seems to be a pretty straightforward kart racer, with controls to let you manage your speed and hop your kart, boost panels that give you a sudden jolt of speed, and all sorts of item boxes you can pick up along the way and use to foul up the progress of your opponents.

From kart racing to showing bad guys the business end of a boomerang, Ty does it all.
From kart racing to showing bad guys the business end of a boomerang, Ty does it all.

The game is looking equally good on all three systems, without any noticeable visual disparities between the versions. It seems to run fairly smoothly across all platforms also, and each controls equally well. The characters are primarily all clean, pudgy, kid-friendly sorts of creatures, from the titular tiger down to other local fauna such as Tasmanian devils, koalas, and cockatoos. The environments all have a bright, cartoon feel, they are fairly expansive from what we've seen, and they load smoothly as you go. The game's personalities are voiced well and have the required Aussie accents, and the music, besides highlighting dramatic scenes, mostly just stays out of your way.

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2 looks like it's right on target for its release later this year on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube consoles, and it seems like it will offer up the same brand of easily conquered, family-friendly action as its predecessor. Look for the marsupial gang of Bush Rescue soon, and in the meantime, check out the new video footage and screenshots we have of the game.

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