Toki logo

OCEAN * £25.99 Joystick

Cute, cartoon coin-ops are always good fun to play and Toki is no exception. Whizzing a hunched-up little ape around various colourful areas is great for a laugh or two!

The plot of the game begins with a young couple, living happily among the leaves and flowers of a peaceful jungle. Toki is a brave warrior. His deeds are the stuff of legend, made immortal by the songsmiths of the surrounding tribes. His girlfriend, Miho, is also famous. Her beauty attracting admirers from many lands.

Everyone in the area knows of Toki's heroic exploits, one person in particular - the evil Bashtar. He is jealous of the mighty warrior and wishes to steal Miho away for himself. One day, as Miho and Toki are wandering through the jungle, Bashtar sends one of his demonic manifestations, in the form of a gigantic hand, to kidnap the fair Miho. As the hand ascends the trees towards Bashtar's mountaintop hide away, Toki rushes forward to rescue her. But Bashtar has one more trick up his sleeve...

As Toki gets close to grabbing the hand, Bashtar appears and unleashes a bolt of blue fire. As soon as the flame touches the brave hero, he begins to change shape, becoming a lowly Neanderthal ape!

Monkey business
This little mishap isn't enough to stop Toki though. Oh no! He is determined to battle on and defeat Bashtar, releasing Miho from the clutches of the evil wizard.

You take control of Toki in his multi-stage quest. You begin on the outskirts of the jungle near the entrance to the lower caves of Bashtar's fortress. You are armed with a little magic of your own - the ability to spit small fireballs at your enemies. You must fight through the hordes of Bashtar's devilish minions, either stamping on them or shooting them.

Occasionally, you will find tokens either lying around the scenery or dropped by killed creatures. When you pick these up, Toki's power is temporarily increased, allowing him to bash through enemies with alacrity.

At the end of each section, a hefty guardian appears. These move around absorbing shots and flinging smaller creatures at you. To overcome these beasties, you must shoot them until their energy bar (at the bottom of the screen) is empty, at which point you can move onto the next area of Bashtar's domain.

Jolly colour
Ocean France have managed to grasp just the right graphical feel of the Toki coin-op, retaining the colourful appearance and jolly animation that made the original such a hit. Unfortunately, the sound doesn't really match up to the high-quality visuals. The music is overly twee and rather tinny to boot, while the effects are much too wimpy to add any real sort of an atmosphere.

The gameplay seems to have missed the mark a little too, introducing glitches in the control method and a few anomalies in the way enemies appear and react. There are times when enemies start doing things they are not supposed to, sending the player into walls of confusion and frustration.

At some points in the game, some serious quirks pop up which are most distressing. The game seems to forget where the restart points throughout the levels are supposed to be, putting you back beyond the last restart reached, it sometimes put s you further on than where you died!

The most disturbing foible is the game seems to crash with alarming regularity. This is particularly galling if you just managed to get to a point you've been battling to reach for the past hour.

These annoying glitches could easily have been put right with a little more playtesting, and the fact that they are there at all means that the game loses some of the appeal of the arcade original. This is a shame, since if as much care had been taken with programming the gameplay as has been lavished on the pretty graphics, then Toki would have been a corking little platform game. As it stands it's just a pretty good conversion.


A TOKEN PRESENT
Here are the tokens that Toki can pick up. Some are scattered around the scenery while others ar found by killing enemies.
Toki: Big Shot BIG SHOT - Fires a larger blast at the enemies. Toki: Helmet HELMET - Protects Toki from attacks from above, in front, as well as from natural dangers.
Toki: Bouncers BOUNCERS - Sends two shots weaving through the air. Toki: Baby Toki BABY TOKI - When collected, this little fellow furnishes Toki with an extra life.
Toki: Spread Shot SPREAD SHOT - Sends two shots firing across the screen. Toki: Coins COINS - Shoot flyers to collect coins, 30 gives an extra life.
Toki: Flames FLAMES - Gives Toki flam-thrower breath.  

Toki logo

Kennt man ein Game bereits aus der Spielhalle, dann ist die Konvertierung ja oft eine herbe Enttäuschung. Bei Oceans neuestem Striech macht sich hingegen fast schon Verwirrung breit: Automat oder Amiga?

Toki ist eines dieser leicht japanisch angehauchten Plattformgames, wie sie heutzutage vor allem auf den Konsolen ihr Unwesen treiben. Als Hintergrundstory muß mal wieder das alte Märchen von der entführten Freundin herhalten, dafür hat man sich für die Hauptrolle eine echt starke Identifikationsfigur einfallen lassen: Der Held ist anatomisch irgendwo zwischen Affe und Neanderthaler angesiedelt - ein Mensch wie du und ich also. Na, zumindest war er das, bevor ihm der magiebegabte Kidnapper einen struppigen Pelz angehext hat. Und weil sich Tokilein keinen Schönheitschirurgen leisten kann, wetzt er halt hinter Zauberer und Freundin her...

Sechs popig bunte Level sind es bis zu der Tante, und in jedem tummeln sich ganze Horden von Gegnern und Endgegnern. Weil man denen nicht immer bloß ausweichen kann, müssen natürlich auch Waffen her: Vorrätig sind unter anderem kleine, große und Mehrfach-Schüsse, dazu kann Toki (manchmal) Feuer spucken, auf seinen Widersachern rumhüpfen, und wenn ihm zufällig mal ein Football-Helm in die gierigen Pfoten fällt, setzt er ihn auf und hat damit einen prima Schutzschild.

Für Abwechslung im Affenleben sorgt vor allem die unterschiedliche Gestaltung der Spielabschnitte: Die Reise beginnt in einem Höhlenlabyrinth, geht dann unter Wasser weiter (habt Ihr schonmal einen Affen mit Taucherbrille gesehen?), bis man nach den Stationen Feuerhöhle, Eispalast und Dschungel schließlich im Goldenen Palast landet. Für die nötige Hektik sorgt das eingebaute Zeitlimit; bei der Gegnerauswahl waren die Programmierer dagegen ein bißchen einfallslos - einige der Biester aus dem Schlußlevel hat man schon im ersten kennengelernt...

Scrolling und Animationen machen dem Amiga jederzeit Ehre, getrübt wird der optische Genuß einzig und allein durch den schwarzen NTSC-Trauerrand rund um den etwas klein geratenen Screenausschnitt. Die Soundbegleitung (Effekte und gleichzeitig gute bis sehr gute Musikstücke) schmeichelt selbst verwöhnten Ohren; aber die Steuerung muß sich leichte Kritik gefallen lassen: Man hat die Lage zwar immer im Griff, aber entweder schießen oder laufen ist heute nicht mehr ganz state of the art. Mitunter gerät man deshalb auch arg ins Schwitzen, denn einige Stellen sind dermaßen monsterhaltig, daß sie nur mit viel Übung zu schaffen sind.

Fassen wir zusammen: Es ist Ocean zwar gelungen, das Wunder von "Pang" zu wiederholen und ein Amigagame zu fabrizieren, das sich von der Coin Op Vorlage (fast) nur insofern unterscheidet, als man hier kein Kleingeld einzuwerfen braucht, aber für einen Hit hätten die Jungs noch ein bißchen am Spieldesign feilen müssen. Für eine Extraportion affenscharfe Action reicht es allerdings auch so dicke! (mm)


Toki logo

Ocean France have done it again, with another pixel-perfect (and we mean pixel perfect) conversion of an obscure, but undeniably excellent, arcade game.

Why is it that arcade machines such as Mitchell's Pang and Taito's Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands, Plotting and The New Zealand Story don't become popular until they are converted to the home machines? It'd be understandable if they were dogs. But no - not only are they well-crafted and extremely playable, even top game designers find them an invaluable source of inspiration. Maybe these corky coin-operated releases aren't suitable fodder for arcade-goers who demand short, sharp thrills to get them hooker. Oh, I don't know. And I don't really care, just so long as they keep 'em coming.

Toki's another of those run 'n' jump romps, there's no denying that. What makes it stand out from the rest of the whoop is the fact that it's such a well-rounded pieced, with all its learning curves in the right places and some neat features to boot. It's real pretty too, not to mention smooth. No expense has been spared with the colour, and combined with the layer of parallax for the background a healthy arcade feel is created. (Having said that, all this is more testimony to Ocean France's conversion skills than the quality of the Tad Corporation's coin-operated original).

And so to the plot, which doesn't offer anything new, that's for sure. A boy, Toki, meets a girl, Miho, and they fall in love. Aah. Enter the evil wizard Bashtar. Now, Bashtar has the hots for Miho. Oooh. His bug blue magic hand picks up Toki's missus and steals her away, along with Toki's manhood...
No, it's not what you're thinking - before Bashtar does a runner he knocks Toki down to the lower rungs of the evolutionary ladder by turning him into an ape. Booo. But this chimp's no chump. He's still man enough to retrieve his true love (and his original form for that matter) and give Bashtar the bashing he deserves. Why, it's almost a scrolling Donkey Kong in reverse.

Believe it or not, being an ape does have its advantages. Toki has new-found versitality and a range of facial expressions which exceed that of most actors. He walks. He jumps (and can be manoeuvred while he's in the air). He crouches. He climbs. He swims. He swings. He instinctively ducks to allow him to crawl through narrow gaps. He curls up into a ball and covers his head when he gets dobbered. And, best of all, he spits glowing balls in eight different directions (and he even gets a grobbly together before he gobs), which comes in handy for removing the wildlife from his world. Toki's pucker power can be booster too, though this is more convenient than essential.

The ape's remarkable repertoire, along with the aforementioned arcade feel and the lush parallax-scrolling scenery (the underwater section especially - oh, and the dark forest's snowy stuff, and the waterfall) are just three of the Tasty Tibits in my Toki Top Ten. The other seven are as follows...

  • Time limit permitting, you can scroll around the environment to your heart's content. This also proves useful when it comes to disposing of creatures or avoiding their projectiles.
  • Restart positions are plastered all over the shop, so when Toki loses a life play is always resumed near the point of death (well, unless it was his last life and the CONTINUE option is used, in which case he goes all the way back to the beginning of the level).
  • Sound and music are used to good effect. There's a different tune for every stage (including the map screen) but not at the expense of sound effects. Choosing between one or the other just isn't necessary as every worthwhile event has an associated noise and the music suits the pace which is... pleasant, I suppose. Leisurely sounds too dull, and it's not that.
  • The creatures all have character - especially the Bosses. Being able to gain extra height by jumping on the little buggers is also beat (and occasionally useful for collecting items which are otherwise out of reach).
  • The scenery is a little more interactive than usual, with walking up and down diagonal platforms and - best of all - the business with the seesaws and the 16-ton weights.
  • There's always just enough warning to allow disaster to be avoided. Some sections seem far too hard, but once a technique is sussed, it can be done again and again... well, almost. It's never so straightforward that you can stroll on through a whole level.
  • The ending is... No, I shan't tell you what happens, but suffice to say that it's (sigh) nice.

So, if Toki's so mighty fine, how come it hasn't a higher rating? IT is difficult to put down - in every sense. The problem is that the six levels are small but near-perfectly formed. What's there is so good, there should be more of it.


What's there is so good that there should be more of it.

However, the biggest gripe I have about Toki has nothing to do with the gameplay, on the fact of it anyway, and it hasn't actually affected the rating, though maybe it should. You see, it's the packaging - in particular the manual, a tiny, uninspired, two-colour booklet, two thirds of which isn't even in English. For £25.99 I expect a complete package. It's not just Toki. Too often software is treated like meat.

It's terribly disappointing to open a box to be greeted with an expanse of white and a plastic bag containing a disk and a small manual. Why can't the care and attention lavished on the program itself extend to the packaging? Yes, a glossy full-colour manual would obviously be less cost effective for the publisher, but so much more could have been done even with a two-colour affair.
(Indeed, what do you think about the current state of computer entertainment software packaging? What are the most and least impressive packages you own? What improvements would you make? Write and tell us at the usual address...)

Still, at least if the mood takes you, you can always take the box lid and rub its edge against a matt surface to recreate a sound not entirely dissimilar to the grunting of an angry gorilla. How very appropriate.


IN THE BEGINNING...
The heart-rending story of Toki's plight is related through an animated introduction. Toki's sweetheart Miho, is abducted by the evil wizard Bashtar. Before Toki can give chase, Bashtar casts a spell, leaving Toki in the guise of an ape. Pausing only to pick a few fleas, he sets off to recover his love and his body.
Toki: Intro - Miho gets abducted
Uh-oh. There goes another fair maiden.
Toki: Intro - Toki goes to the rescue
And here's a hero we prepared earlier.
Toki: Intro - Toki turning into an ape
"Hey, you can't cast spells on me, I'm the hero!"
Toki: Intro - Toki title whirring into the screen
"Erm, anybody got a banana?"
TOKI CREATURE COMFORTS
The inhabitants of Level One aren't half as strange as some of those making their debut in the later stages. Here are a few you can expect to meet...
Toki: Cannonball-shooting Chimp One of the bouncing monkeys has evolved by time Toki reaches the second stage. This chimp sits at a cannon and shoots bombs in a set sequence of arcs.
Toki: Flame-spreading Bird It only appears when Toki trips one of those invisible triggers. A quite resilient beast, it flaps around the screen and shoots a spread of three flames.
Toki: Fire-spitting Monkey-head Don't you think it bears a passing resemblance to a Mogwai crossbred with a Gremlin? It's not that strong and tends to keep its distance from Toki, preferring to spit fire at him instead.
Toki: Poisonous spore-throwing Plant In the dark forest a seed drops down from the top of the screen and quickly grows into a plant which throws out a poisonous spore. Neither can be killed but they do provide 50 points for every hit.
Toki: Fire-breathing Dragon It first makes an appearance in the fiery caverns of Level Three. It actually hatches from a pulsating egg, pieces of which fly off and cause problems of their own. The dragon appears to be wearing a wig, which explains why it paces back and forth in a put-upon way, stopping at regular intervals to spit fire.
THE MAP SCREEN
An overview of the world to be conquered is shown before play - in much the same as it was done in Capcom's ageing Ghosts 'n' Goblins, only here the section in question is highlighted by a tiny Toki icon and the story unfolds via text with each stage. Being the oh-so pleasant chaps that we are, we couldn't resist reprinting those descriptions in full...
Toki: Map Screen

1. LABYRINTH OF CAVES
The evil BASHTAR has seized the lovely MIHO. Her beloved, the mighty TOKI has also been dealt by a wicked blow. Now, reduced to a lowly ape, Toki must risk a perilous journey to free MIHO and regain his manhood.

Little needs to be said about this level, for it's shown in full within the original review.

4. ICE PALACE
From fire to ice, TOKI's mission takes place into the forbidden reaches of the ice palace. After swimming in the sunk passageway, he must emerge to fight the frozen monster, ZARAMOTH.

What's neat about this level is that it's not slippery as you may expect. Instead the platforms of ice shatter after a few seconds of contact and reform moments later. The glinting wall of ice in the background looks nice too. And Zarzamoth? It's a mammoth made from ice. It throws its boomerang-like tusks at Toki and jumps about a bit for good measure.

2. LAKE NEPTUNE
Having safely travelled the labyrinth of Caves and escaped the jaws at the GATE of MOORNAR, TOKI has to swim across Lake NEPTUNE. But beware of the eyes of RAMBACHA!!

Eek! Lake Neptune is infested by more sharks. There are spiky mutant turtles, aquatic dinosaurs and a fat, green piranha-spitting creature bearing a shield and trident - all set against a parallax backdrop which didn't appear in the arcade parent but goes here thanks to Ocean France. Rambacha is the Boss, appears at the end of this level and resembles a floating, one-eyed Michelin man. From his single socket, four bouncing eyeballs are thrown in Toki's direction.

5. DARK JUNGLE
The peal of thunder leads TOKI to the dense vegetation of the dark jungle. Making his way trough the tangled vines, TOKI faces a deadly contest against an old enemy, BASHTAR. If he wins, MIHO won't be far.

The flash of lightning periodically fills the sky behind the trees and white flakes flitter down the screen. How sweet. But it's not all jungle out there: a small section of temple has to be neogtiated before a confrontation with Bashtar's giant, grabbing hands and stomping feet.

3. CAVERNS OF FIRE
Made bold by his recent success, TOKI enters the blazing heart of the Caverns of FIRE in search of MIHO. Here, he will face a deadly test against MOGULVOR, the beastly guardian of this underground inferno.

Mogulvor sure is beastly. He's big, red and fat and spits out deadly letters which spell out the word BURP. He also tries to kick and slap Toki at every available opportunity.

6. GOLDEN PALACE
TOKI's final quest takes him to the palace of MIHO's prison, the golden palace. Walking across the bridges of this maleficent domain, TOKI must battle against his greatest foe, VOOKIMEDLO. Everything depends on this fight.

So! It was Vookimedlo all along, eh? Here's where you get the chance to give him the kicking he so richly deserves. But first, there's work to be done... This level is split into two distinct sections (three if you count the scrap with old Vooki). The first is in keeping with the previous stages but with new adversaries and obstacles to overcome (such as the spiky, pounding crushers - complete with a synchronised, animated cog mechanism which would do Rolex proud - seen here). Then follows a deadly trolley ride comprising diabolical arrangements of spky balls to avoid along the way.


Toki logo

As scenarios go, Toki must rank as one of the weirdest ever. Whilst out with his beloved, the beautiful Miho, Toki could only sit and watch as a giant disembodied hand appeared from nowhere and whisked her away. As Toki stared in horror, the evil wizard Bookimedio appeared, boasted of his love for Miho and swore that if he couldn't have her, then nobody would.
Immediately after the kidnapping, he cast a powerful spell on our musclebound hero, transforming him from his statuesque self into a lowly ape. With the evil wizard's laughter ringing in his ears, Toki dragged his arms along the ground and prepared for a trek across the six lands standing between him and his beloved.

In terms of gameplay, Toki runs along pretty familiar lines. Using a variety of ropes and ledges, Toki must run, jump and climb across the eight-way scrolling play area until he comes face to face with Vookimedio for a final confrontation. However, as well as having to contend with the assorted obstacle-based hazards, our hairy hero must also avoid contact with the evil wizard's countless minions who patrol each of the six areas.

Fortunately, despite being reduced to a humble primate, Toki has gained an unusual ability to protect himself by spitting vile goo at the attacking creatures, and this phlegm-throwing skills can also be upgraded to the likes of fiery breath or three-waydribble when specific coins are collected. Similarly, along the way Toki can protect himself from harm with the addition of a crash helmet which provides limited invulnerability from enemy fire.

Each of the levels reflects a different graphical theme, and Toki's adventures take him through an eerie cave system, under a monster-infested lake, and on to a fiery cavern followed by a massive ice palace and a sprawling jungle. The final battle takes place in the massive Golden Palace where Toki's beloved is being held.

In each stage, the graphics are nothing short of superb, and are almost perfect recreations of the original coin-op. The game's developers, Ocean France (who wrote Pang for Ocean), have crammed nearly every feature of the arcade parent into the relatively humble Amiga, and, with the exception of the odd load, I defy you to find any major differences - even small touches, such as Toki donning goggles when he goes underwater, have been retained. As well as the superb backdrops and smooth parallax scrolling.

Toki also plays host to some of the wildest sprites ever to appear in an Amiga game. Whereas most of the sprites are left to patrol certain areas, Toki also comes up against mortar-firing apes and small demons who suddenly appear and lob spears at him - contact with which results in the loss of one of his five lives. In addition, each level's nasties tie in nicely with the general theme of each stage, with pd-spitting plants materialising in the jungle, whilst sharks and mutant turtles harangue our friendly primate during the underwater scenes.

Once Toki has made it through to the end of the stage, he must destroy one of Vookimedio's larger aides. Keeping in with the game's general 'weird' theme, Toki's end-of-level guardians have been given names like Rambacha, Mogulvor, and Zarzamoth, and take the form of massive heads and spear-wielding fish. As has become a rule with end-of-level guardians, each must be killed with a repeated succession of shots, and when they finally keel over, there is a brief pause as the next stage is loaded.

As coin-op conversions go, Toki must rate as one of the best yet. Even so, it also falls into the unfortunate category of 'if you don't like the coin-op, you won't like this'. Another slight fault is the game's difficulty level which has been set slightly too high, and makes progress slow and frustrating. That said, there is a lot to do in Toki, and whilst the basic gameplay doesn't vary a great deal it's extremely entertaining stuff and well worth a shufti.


A JOURNEY THROUGH THE IMAGINATION...
Starting from the massive underground cave system, Toki almost immediately comes face to face with a wide range of nasties, including similarly-effected primates and little lizard-like creatures who are stowed away in holes and only attack when Toki is directly in front of them. Following the caves is the large expanse of Lake Neptune which is inhabited by sharks and spiky turtles.
Looking a little similar to the first stage, the following Caverns Of Fire feature moving platforms and massive lava pits, whilst the Ice Palace has crumbling platforms to contend with.
Finally, the battle nears completion in the confines of the jungle, and the final confrontation takes place in The Golden Palace (no, it's not a Chinese take-away), where deadly prtcullis and magic-casting knights must be avoided.

Toki logo

Salut les mecs! Yep, it's our Gallic chums at Ocean France, and do they know how to do a good coin-op conversion or what? David 'Does The Pope Wear A Funny Hat?' Wilson gets up to some minkey business with Toki.

Ocean France is shaping up as rather 'les chien's testicules' when it comes to coin-op conversions. Having coded the brilliant Pang, it's now turned its attention to the Tad Corporation Arcade game Toki - and what a corker it is too!

This is rather a spook coincidence since "what a corker" is exactly the phrase used by the decidedly evil Bashtar when he sit his bloodshot eyes on Toki's young lady, Miho. Bashtar decided he wanted Miho to be his-ho and, as a true p[roduct of the Thatcher generation, what he wanted he took. Before you can say "oooh I think I saw a nipple", a semi-clad Miho is snatched away from her loved one by a large blue hand. (No honestly these things happen. Why only the other day in the ZERO offices... but that's another story).

Toki's attempts to pursue her are slightly hampered by the fact that he's promptly turned into a small monkey. Ah well, perhaps Mrs Toki has a thing about baboons. If not, then Toki is wasthin his time charging off over six levels of parallax scrolling to rescue her. You'll get to see them on a map on the opening sequence and as you progress you'll see the little monkey at the bottom move along toward the end (you hope).

As small primates go, the new vesion of Toki is quite an adaptable sort of fellow. Fortunate really, considering the range, ferocity and downright peculiarity of the creatures he's going to come across. He destroys opponents by spitting fireballs at them: not a trick often displayed by the inhabitants of London Zoo. Then again, how many animals do you see wandering around their cage wearing American football helmets? Perhaps if they were as careful as Toki they wouldn't have ended up there.

As well as helmets (for invincibility) Toki can pick up money (obligingly dropped by dying beasties) with which to buy extra lives. At 30 coins a time, life doesn't come cheap. It's worth the investment though, 'cos there are surprises and beautiful screens round every corner. More importantly, round the last corner of all there's the lady Miho. "Darling will you still love me when I'm short, fat and hairy?"

Amiga reviewDavid: Ocean France has come up trumps again, with yet another brilliant conversion of a slightly obscure arcade game. Well, maybe it's huge in France but I've never seen Toki over her. This is a shame 'cos it means I'll have to take Ocean's word to the fact it claims to have improved the parallax scrolling over that of the coin-op, specifically in the undersea bits. Even so I can still appreciate how slick the coding, 32 colour graphics and gameplay really are.

The beauty of Toki lies in the addictive arcade adventure gameplay of the original and in the slightly off-beat scenario. This is evident not only in the weird monsters you meet - such as huge flying blocks, complete with lethal gas-spitting gargoyles, being operated by two little monkeys paddling away on top - but also in the actual progress through the levels.

Frequently, Toki will come to a little see-saw device, by jumping on this, a large weight flies into the air, then falls back on the see-saw and launches you way up onto an overhead platform. Oh, and check out the underwater section, where Toki acquires a swimming mask and goggles. Little touches like this make the whole game really neat. My sole reservation could lie with the longevity. It's so addictive I'd probably play it till I'd completed it - and I managed level three on the second sitting. Still, apart from that, if you're into arcade adventures then Toki is well worth checking out. Stop