1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
So there's Toki the caveman, out spending time with his girlfriend, talking about whatever it is cavepeople chat about. Who comes to spoil the party but the local Evil High Priest Vookimedlo, who kidnaps his gal and uses magic to devolve Toki into a chimp. Strangely enough, Toki the chimpanzee can shoot fireballs from his mouth, and decides to use his primitive machismo to rescue his date. Hey, if an Italian plumber can rescue damsels in distress, why can't an ape give it a try?
That's TOKI for the Atari Lynx, an adaptation of the little-seen arcade video game from Fabtek. You must guide Toki through eight multidirectional scrolling stages of caverns, moats, and whatnot, battling Vookimedlo's traps and flunkies. Toki can defeat enemies by hitting them with his fireballs, or by repeatedly jumping on them. Along the way, you will find items that temporarily enhance Toki's abilities, like higher jumping or more powerful fireballs. A life is lost if Toki is hit by an enemy, caught by a trap, or runs out of time; an extra life is awarded if enough coins are collected.
The most supportive statement that can be made for TOKI on the Lynx is that it's a very faithful adaptation. Almost none of the gameplay has been abridged or altered; people who have played this in the arcade will be in familliar territory. The problem is that the original was not that spectacular to begin with. Aside from the slightly novel plot, there is very little here that hasn't been done before.
This is not to say that TOKI is a bad game; as yet-another-run-and-jump, its redeeming points elevate it a bit above its competition. There is a good amount of variety; the enemies you have to face are very diverse, and the different stages are much more than a change in window dressing. Also, the game sets a very irreverant tone; for instance, two of the tools helping Toki's quest are football helmets and teeter-totters loaded with weights. Finally, the game itself is of fair difficulty; you start with four lives, and can continue up to two times, but the typical player will need all the help he can find.
The graphics and sound of TOKI capture the game's lighthearted attitude very well. There is good use of color and a lot of detail and animation in the graphics. However, some of the game elements are fairly small, requiring a bit of effort to spot them. This can be fatal with some of the more detailed backgrounds, as a small incoming projectile could slip past your sight.
Sounds are better, making good use of music, computer-generated effects, and digitized clips. Each level is accompanied by an unobtrusive background soundtrack, and the individual sound effects are distinctive. The digitized bits are often the most enjoyable, such as Toki's death yelp and the cartoon-inspired "boing!" noises.
TOKI is, in the final analysis, a great adaptation of an average game, duplicating the original's sights, sounds, and action faithfully. If you aren't interested in run-and-jump contests, there is little here to change your opinion. However, if you're in the market for a new arcade-action game, TOKI is a worthy candidate.
GAMEPLAY: 6.5 GRAPHICS: 7.5 SOUND: 9.0 OVERALL: 7.0