Friday, 14 August 2015

SNES GAME REVIEW 83: TOYS





Toys was a 1992 fantasy comedy film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robin Williams one of the in my opinion most talented comedians people have had the pleasure of seeing on film yet even though it hurts me to criticise something staring the man the film was pants. This is not just my opinion though the thing tanked at the box office at the time of its release, despite having not only Williams but an impressive cast in general and a forty three million dollar budget.  The film was criticised for a lack of plot focus and poor direction even to the point that its director was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Director. The real thing it proved though was that despite his amazing talent Robin Williams could be in a flop and that his raw talent was not enough to turn any old mess in to gold.

Now it is a sort of unwritten rule in the world of video games and to be honest this was even more true back in the SNES days that if it is a movie license then nine times out of ten it is going to be a steaming bag of manure. So before this game came out no one expected anything of it after all it was a video game not only based on a film but based on a bad film.

So Toys was an Action game based on the film, developed by Imagineering Inc which was an in house develop for the publishing company Absolute Entertainment. It was released in 1993. In general all the company had ever released on Nintendo platforms was a bunch of games that either had received either very mixed or very mediocre reviews  including a bunch of Bart Simpson based NES games and TV quiz based NES games so as far as I remember expectations were absolutely in the gutter. This being true I avoided it like the plague, I remember seeing it on store shelves for £40 and then less and less and less until it was like £5 in bargain bins and I still didn’t try it. Sure at this very moment I am considering buying one of the apparently worst PS4 games released so far for £5 to see if it’s as bad as people claim but back when the SNES was out I was having to use my pocket money to get games or I was having to ask for them for Christmas, £5 I would have spent on this would have been £5 I couldn’t put towards a game of some actual worth. So here I am now trying this game for the first time years and years after its release. It could be argued that I am going to judge it on nowadays standards as opposed to based on how it stands when compared to games of its time but trust me I will keep what things were like back at the time very much in mind.

Ok so popping it in the first thing you are met with is the intro sequence which is nothing special at all it literally just tells you the story with blinding white and light blue text which seems to come out of a static elephant statue as words written in water. Now one thing they did right was to not try to make the whole film in to a game scene for scene, some parts of a film just wouldn’t really translate to a game as it stands the game basically starts in the last third of the film with you infiltrating the Zevo Toy Factory that is being run by General Leland Zevo.

The kindest thing I can say about the graphics is that they are extremely average for when this game came out, sure I might just have played Donkey Kong Country 3 one of the finest looking game on the SNES but don’t worry I popped a few games in the slot between this and that to cleanse my pallet and still came away with average being the nicest thing I could say. The music's also can kindly be described as average but it is also totally 100% forgettable. The sound effects are best explained with the term mixed bag, sure some of them are kind of nice but others are just plain awful. The controls don’t actually feel bad at all, which is what I usually find is the thing which makes for a bad game. I mean if it’s good to play and can hook you in then average or even bad graphics and sound can be forgiven and/or ignored.

The basic idea of the game is that you use happy fun children’s toys to try and attack and beat war based toys, so you’re shooting at tanks and helicopters with an elephant head peanut firing gun, or sending spinning tops or toy robot ducks at them. This could be fun, I mean look at other games such as Zombies Ate my neighbours were a wide variety of weapons all have different strengths and weaknesses, but the truth is all of these weapons seem to do nothing to the enemy, it really does feel like you’re throwing peanuts at a tank and hoping it will somehow blow up. In fact on my first go the only thing that seemed to die from my attacks was the walking bombs. On my second go I did get a little bit better, I collected more types of toys and worked out where to stand so I could hit things more than they hit me and I did manage to kill a jeep or two but the cameras you need to get rid of are surrounded by tanks and I literally used everything I had to try and destroy a tank and got nowhere. I even tried to attack the thing I am certain is the camera in case I could just run in destroy it and jog on before the tanks could kill me and that didn’t work. I actually cannot make any progress in this game at all and this sucks the very fun out of what in theory could have been a good fun game.

I have to score this game pretty low and I would not recommend it to anyone unless they are a diehard collector who just wants everything and then I would say make sure you get it cheap.  It doesn’t feel as broken as other bad games I have played like Ultraman and The Rocketeer but I think I actually got less fun out of it and was more frustrated, rocketeer might have been a mess but with effort I made some progress. Bearing all of this in mind and the fact that the main purpose of a game is entertainment I feel I have to give this a score of 2 out of 10. If you’re a glutton for punishment or a collector the cheapest I can find it for online at this very moment in time is £10 for a cart. I paid £4 for my copy, £4 with free postage complete and in fairly good condition my fiancee actually helped me purchase it so here is just a small acknowledgement and shout out for the magnificent lady who helps and supports me with my game collecting and associated hobbies. The copy I got was advertised as an NTSC version which I think might have helped but when it arrived it was PAL. Do I regret buying it? Not really I like to see what exists for a machine both good and bad and at least now I can have my own opinion rather than having to just say ‘’well I have heard its bad’’.

If you want a fun game based around toys then I would strongly recommend Toy Soldiers on the Xbox 360 live arcade which sells for the excellent price of £6.75 , it also has two sequels the first of which I have also tried and loved and the second of which I am strongly considering purchasing. I recommend you look the series up.

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