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A.P.I Review: TOMBA !
Developer: Whoopie Camp OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1 Player
Game Type: Platform Adventure Memory Card
Review Date: August 1998 Standard Joypad

Setting the Scene

When a gang of seven evil pigs arrived and began transforming his homeland 
into a ugly mess, Tomba was pretty annoyed. But then when they stole his 
grandfathers golden bracelet he was furious..! 

Off he ran - dressed only in a pair of shorts, vowing to find and defeat 
each of the pigs in order to rid their world of this foul smelling enemy. 

Not content with just getting the creator of Mega Man, Ghouls n' Ghosts 
and Breath of Fire involved in this Japanese based title, Whoopie Camp 
also enlisted in the talents of the producer of Bio Hazard (Resident Evil). 


While many have dubbed this a Platform RPG, I think it would be fairer to 
call it a platform adventure game.


All of the visuals within Tomba are bright and colourful as would be expected 
from this style of game. 

The style of the artwork would instantly make you think that this was a game 
for very young kids and the lack of fluid animation within many various objects 
and characters that you will encounter only goes to cement the idea that this 
is aimed at pre-teens. 

The backgrounds all look very two dimensional even though they are in fact a 
subtle mixture of both 2D and 3D. At certain points on your travels your 
character can jump into and out of the screen due to the layered nature of 
each level. Many areas can contain up to three layers - the foreground, the 
background and a raised area. 

Traversing between layers is often done using Tombas ability to climb walls. 
For example, you could be walking along the foreground and come to the side 
of a house, you can then move in towards the house and jump up the side, 
onto the top, down another side and into the background layer. This then 
allows you to backtrack through the level reaching areas that were not 
possible before. 

The many video sequences scattered throughout the game are of the very 
highest quality. 

Sounds and Effects

While the soundtrack constantly changes as you move from area to area, all 
of the tunes are very 16 bit in nature and would more at home on a cartridge 
based system than our C.D quality console. 

As with all platformers, the background music will eventually drive you 
completely mad if you get stuck on one particular level for a long time. 

The spot effects in this game are all very well recorded and fit nicely 
into the overall theme for each of the levels. 


If you are anything like us then you will spend the first half an hour playing this game while wondering what sort of twisted mind created a game that 
involves you jumping on the back of various types of animal (in a pose 
that some would consider to be obscene) before spinning them into a wall 
to kill them off..? 

Tomba looks like a little primitive cave-man with wild and unkempt spiky 
hair. His wardrobe consists of various pairs of colored trunks and nothing 

This half naked hero can bite, run, jump, swing, hang and climb - which 
is just as well because some of the more difficult to reach areas of the 
game will require a combination of these moves to be carried out. 

Your weapons although primitive, are very effective. You start with a 
"Blackjack" - this evil looking instrument is nothing more than a spiked 
ball on the end of a long chain and will stun just about anything it hits. 
As you progress through the game you will get the chance to use the "grapple" 
- which lets you reach hard to access areas and a couple of types of 
"Boomerang" - which allow for long-range attacks. 

A major element in this platform game is the amount of communication your 
character will have with the many different people that you will meet on 
your travels. Some will give you vital information while others will just 
waste your time. Either way it's a typical Japanese touch that makes this 
far more involving than the average platformer. 

The level designs range from the very simplistic and easy to complete, to 
the devilishly difficult. Most of them will require a certain amount of 
lateral thinking to complete. 

Venturing into some of the more difficult to reach areas will often reap 
rewards in the way of objects that may (or may not) be needed at a specific 
point in the game. 

To give you a quick example of the puzzle solving nature of this game, on 
the very first level you will eventually have collected and killed everything 
which would lead you to believe that you have completed this area, however 
for some reason the game won't let you move on. Searching through your 
inventory of items collected on the level reveals a frog, a weapon, a green 
pair of shorts, a baby bird and a typhoon. The most obvious exit is through 
a doorway and into a small enclosure that has a buggy with flat tires sat 
in the middle of it. You can't smash out of the enclosure even though you 
can see rolling hills on the other side of it. You try to use each of your 
possessions on the buggy but nothing works. Well without spoiling it for you, 
the exit is somewhere completely different within the level and DOES involve 
the use of one of the aforementioned objects. 

Where the designers got it right in this game was the perfect balance of 
pure platform elements and tricky problems to solve. Unlike games such as 
"Heart of Darkness", which is little more than a puzzle game masquerading 
as a platformer, this offers much more flowing gameplay and with over 100 
hours of it promised, you will be playing for quite some time. 

You also have the choice of taking multiple routes to achieve the final 
goal, sure there may be a little backtracking now and again, but this isn't 
an inconvenience. 

Value for Money

With over 100 hours of gameplay and 130 events to clear, I think its fair 
to day that you won't be completing this game in a few hours.
GRAPHICS: 15/20 The usual problem with platform games is the repetitive nature of them - run, jump, shoot, run, jump, shoot. By adding a puzzle element to the game it not only makes it more interesting, but improves the overall lifespan of the game tremendously.

The graphics are acceptable, but not in the same league as some of the recent releases such as "Heart of Darkness", "Klonoa", or even "Skullmonkies" - but as this game is more playable than each of those games I guess we can forgive the developers.

Hopefully this is the new direction that platform games will take in the future... it's a lot more entertaining than - run, jump, shoot..!
SOUND: 5/10
VALUE: 18/20


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