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Toki Review

Developer: Taito Publisher: Taito
Release Date: N/A Also On: None

Donkey Kong isn’t the only monkey to have his day in the video game spotlight. Back in the NES era there was the adventure of a man turned fire-breathing monkey, the adventure of Toki. Produced by Taito, known for Bubble Bobble, Toki was hardly the most popular NES game, and indeed, even today it isn’t particularly well known by many. However, it is a fun game that is capable of entertaining for an hour or so once in a while.

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The graphics are pretty standard NES fare. You can tell the difference between foreground and background. You can also see where enemies are and distinguish them from each other. However, the graphics are purely average, and there is nothing overwhelming or memorable about them.

The same goes for the sound. The sound effects are slightly unrealistic, and the same two themes play for most of the game, changing only in the last half of the sixth level. For most of the game, you have one level theme and one boss theme, but the second half of level six has a different theme, and the end boss has his own theme as well. None of the themes are bad, but they are not as memorable as the music from, say, a Mega Man game.

And it is fans of Mega Man games to which this game is most likely to appeal. The story revolves around a warrior who is turned into a monkey by a sorcerer. The nature god or something takes pity on this poor monkey and gives him the ability to shoot fireballs from his mouth so he can go extract revenge on the sorcerer and the sorcerer’s minions. The game is only six levels long, and, although the levels are decent in length, the game is still fairly short.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the main character is a monkey who can shoot fireballs from his mouth. However, that ability is upgradeable with items found throughout the levels. Each item gives him a unique special fire weapon, ranging from more powerful shots to a 3-way spread shot to a wave shot. He even has one that can cause a limited-range line of flame to go about halfway across the screen from his mouth, and holding the fire button can hold it on. Doing so doesn’t detract anything from the weapon because the special weapons are time-based, not usage-based.

I guess I should mention that, unlike Mega Man, Toki has mastered the concept of shooting up, up-forward, and down-forward in addition to firing straight. In many instances he will have to use these abilities, but it is difficult to shoot up-forward without moving forward.

There are items that can be picked up to increase points to the end of getting lives by points, and there are coins that can be picked up to get lives also. There are also two special items that can be picked up. There is a rabbit shoe item that allows Toki to jump higher. There is also a very useful football helmet item that makes him invincible. These are time-based as well, and the invincibility is very useful since at the beginning of the game, Toki only can be hit twice before he dies. There are items that can be picked up to increase his lifebar to four hits as you go through the game though.

The bosses are not particularly hard in this game, both because they don’t take too many hits to defeat and because they don’t flash between hits so you can hit them many times in a row. Then again, by the standards of the day, the levels were not too hard either. To make matters worse, the levels are riddled with checkpoints, and, even when you continue, you continue from the last checkpoint you reached, although if you received any lifebar-increasing items, they don’t carry through the continue. Because of that, what is already a short, six-level game is made even easier to beat, but that doesn’t prevent this game from being fun to play through once in a while. I recommend you try to get it if you can get it fairly inexpensively.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.8
Written by Martin Review Guide