Cartoons know no boundaries. They're not limited to laws of physics, they don't have to be believable, and they don't even have to be linear. As long as it's funny, you've got a good cartoon. Bugs Bunny has played many roles in his 50-year career, such as a knight of the Round Table, a space-faring astronaut, a cave bunny, and a present-day rascal. His first 3D game, Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time, is an action-adventure that tries to capture the humor and spirit for which he's so well known.
The plot of Lost in Time is extremely simple, just like most Looney Tunes skits. Bugs has taken another wrong turn on his way to Pismo Beach and ended up in a mysterious shed containing a time machine he mistakes for a carrot-juice dispenser. He pulls a few levers and soon he's lost in time. Soon into his history-spanning travels, he comes across Merlin, who explains that Bugs has to fetch numerous clocks and golden carrots to return to his present day. This adventure will lead him through all the important time periods: the Stone Age, the Medieval Period, the Pirate Years, the 1930s, and of course, the future. While collecting clocks and carrots, he'll run into all his famous adversaries including Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Witch Hazel, and Marvin the Martian. More importantly, you'll be able to relive some of your favorite Looney Tunes routines, as the game features numerous re-creations of classic cartoon scenarios.
In Lost in Time, Bugs must jump all over history in a truly nonlinear fashion in order to get himself home. While you start in the Stone Age, you'll quickly move forward onto Planet X, then back to the 1930s, then back to the Stone Age again. But the beauty is that you don't have to go in that order. Lost in Time is made up of five different time-period hubs, which act as the staging area for all the appropriate levels contained within. From the hub, you'll be able to visit the different stages you've unlocked after collecting the appropriate amount of carrots or clocks. So if you're having trouble with one stage, you should be able to simply move somewhere else to get the carrots or clocks you need. Of course, to completely finish the game you'll have to visit every level and get all the carrots and clocks, but having the option to choose your path through the game makes doing so quite bearable.
It's too bad the graphics aren't really that great. Everything still looks rather choppy even in 3D-accelerated mode, and the frame rate suffers considerably on certain levels. When you position Bugs close to things, you'll notice tons of polygonal overlap and breakup. And be prepared for quite a bit of pop-up on the horizon. Fog conveniently hides unimportant things, such as the background scenery, while important structures will simply show up in front of you. However, the graphics that you do see all look decent, though rather simple.
All the characters in the game have unique voices, but all the voices sound somewhat off. However, the voices are close enough to the real thing, and they're a nice touch. Lost in Time's music is fairly bland but changes depending on which period you happen to be in. However, there's really not a lot of variety in the sound, and you'll quickly tire of the few speech clips that continuously play back at you, such as Merlin's debriefings or Bugs' reaction when he gets a clock. Also, there were a few problems with the sound - sometimes sentences would get cut off, and a few times the audio played too quickly, as though it were the Chipmunks instead of Bugs Bunny.
The control has some major problems as well. Namely, Bugs only moves on an eight-point axis. Hitting a direction on your joypad or keyboard will make Bugs immediately move in the indicated direction, which makes turning around and negotiating tight turns somewhat difficult. And while the default joystick setup is fine, you can't reconfigure it. However, at least the game is forgiving enough to eliminate the use of "lives" altogether. You'll just restart at the last save point whenever you lose all your health.
Fortunately, Lost in Time stays interesting. Instead of just making you hop from one platform to the next, Lost in Time does its best to stump you with puzzles and levers, and it even lets you reenact several classic Bugs Bunny skits. This is truly a Looney Tunes game - you'll be dropping anvils on Witch Hazel and dodging Marvin's Subspace Thermal Modulator. There are several cool deviations from the standard "jump and find" fare of platform action games, such as a drawn-out chase scene in which you drive cars, ride unicycles, and even straddle sheep in your attempt to escape.
Though Lost in Time is purely mediocre in presentation, at its heart lies a fun little platform game that truly does justice to Bugs Bunny. If you're willing to put up with the game's flaws, you'll be rewarded with unique gameplay and at least a good laugh.