As I shut off my GBA SP to type this, I tried to process the potent mixture of emotions regarding Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action! that swirled within me. Here was a game that did a decent enough job at recreating the wacky, screwball humor the cartoon was famous for, yet made no effort to hide the fact that it takes virtually every dynamic available from the Old School Guide to Platformers. That, perhaps, is the tragedy here, for what we're looking at is a game that was seemingly released almost a decade too late.
If you've ever seen so much as a single episode of the cartoon, you can already imagine what the plot's about. The Warner Bros. studio is in a shambles and up to its ears in debt, thanks to Yacko, Wacko, and Dot's crazy antics. To make amends for their misdeeds and hopefully save the studio, the trio is going to have to film three movies back-to-back. Should they fail, a lifetime in the cramped water tower awaits them. It sure sounds enough like an episode, doesn't it?
The whole game is set up like a movie set, complete with the director barking orders of where to go and what to do. Unfortunately, his “direction” consists of nothing more than telling you which switch to flip next or what key is needed to open the door to the next area, standard fare that should by now be a thing of the past in platformers. I quickly lost any and all attraction to jumping and tossing objects at stage-themed foes with predictable patterns of movement, while collecting fruits and cakes for points and movie reels for extra time.
Sound dull enough yet? Did I mention that all this tedium is compounded by the blatant lack of any challenge whatsoever? You practically have an inexhaustible amount of lives, with the game only truly ending when you run out of time, and this saps any and all challenge there might have been. Get hit by an enemy or fall into water (couldn't platform stars swim by the mid 90s?), and the director will yell “cut” and prompt you to redo the scene. That's all there was to it, and much like an actor, I often found myself wondering what my motivation was.