|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||TOMBA !|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|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 else! 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.
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..!