Taz Mania is a 2D side-scrolling platform/adventure video game developed by Recreational Brainware and published by Sega on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1992. The game is based loosely on the Taz-Mania cartoon series. Similar but alternative versions of the game were also developed by NuFX and released on the Sega Game Gear and by Sega itself on the Sega Master System. Other different Taz-Mania games were also developed by Sunsoft and released on the SNES and Game Boy.
The plot of the game was actually a twist on the usual "Save the World" story setting for many platform/adventure games. One evening, Hugh Tazmanian Devil was telling his three children (Taz, his sister Molly and his brother Jake) an intriguing tale: Once there were huge giant seabirds that laid giant eggs which could feed a family of Tazmanian devils for over a year. There are also legends that somewhere along the island of Tasmania, there is a Lost Valley, where the giant seabirds still nest. Taz becomes fascinated by the prospect of the potentially large omelet and leaves in search for one of those giant eggs. Thus, the player must direct Taz across various stages in search for the Lost Valley and its Giant Bird.
Players control Taz as he searches for the giant egg. Taz is able to jump, spin into a tornado and eat various objects. Spinning into a tornado allows Taz to defeat most enemies, as well as gain extra jump distance, knock away items and get past certain obstacles unharmed. Taz has the ability to eat most, if not all items throughout the level, such as health recovering food items, extra lives and continues. Eating some chilli peppers allows Taz to breathe fire in order to defeat stronger enemies, while eating a star grants Taz temporary invincibility. Other items, such as bombs and weed killer can be thrown at enemies, but will damage Taz if he eats them.
Recreational Brainware was led by 2 programmers – Burt Sloane and Jonathan Miller and was based in San Francisco. The Sega Mega Drive/Genesis game was developed by Recreational Brainware in conjunction with Sega of America co-developer, Scott Berfield, who also assisted in the development of the Illinois based NuFX Game Gear game while the Sega Master System game was developed in Japan. A key feature of the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis game was its musical soundtrack composed by Mark Steven Miller and Jim Hedges – one of the first to use tagged musical soundtrack to react with the player's gameplay actions. A semi-sequel to this game in design and concept but unrelated to the Taz-Mania cartoon series was also developed and released by Sega on the same platforms in between 1994 and 1996, entitled Taz in Escape from Mars.
The Mega Drive version was a bestseller in the UK for 2 months. Mega placed the game at #19 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.