Toki (video game)
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Toki[a] is a run and gun platform game released in arcades in Japan in 1989 by TAD Corporation. It was published in North America by Fabtek. Designed by Akira Sakuma, the game has tongue-in-cheek humor mixed with the action. The player controls an enchanted ape who must battle hordes of jungle monsters with energy balls from his mouth. The ultimate goal is to destroy the evil wizard who cast a spell on the title protagonist; thereby transforming him from an ape back into a human, and rescuing the kidnapped princess. The game was ported to several video game consoles and home computers.
The player must traverse several levels with a miniboss at the end. Despite his apparent handicap, his slowness as an ape, and the fact that almost any attack can kill him, Toki is able to spit powerful shots that will help him in defeating enemies and obstacles that try to slow him down in his mission. There is a timer for each stage.
Toki can make use of items such as power-ups for his spit; lucky rabbit feet which can give Toki bursts of superhuman agility and jumping skill; clocks which add extra time to the countdown; fruit which can add to Toki's bonus points; keys which unlock bonus areas; a special helmet that protects him from upwards attacks (the helmet rather comically resembles an American football helmet); extra lives; and magic coins (food in the Genesis version) which when collected in abundance can obtain Toki an extra life.
The protagonist of the game is a muscular, loincloth-wearing, Tarzanesque tribesman named Toki (known in Japan and in some ports as JuJu), who up until recently lived a primitive yet contented life in the jungles of a vast and wild island in the South Seas.
This all ends tragically when the beautiful Miho, princess of Toki's tribe of jungle men, and a potential suitor to Toki, is kidnapped by the treacherous witch doctor Vookimedlo. Miho is taken to a vast golden palace at the summit of the island, which Vookimedlo has conjured up for himself to reside in. The wicked shaman then casts a spell to transform all the human inhabitants of the island into various animals and beasts, before they can defend themselves against the evil magic.
Toki himself is transformed into a Geeshergam, one of the ape-like minions of Vookimedlo, although in his primate form, Toki more resembles a gorilla. Fortunately, the great warrior discovers that he is still in control of his own faculties and as an unexpected side effect of the spell cast on him, he can breathe fire and shoot forth various projectiles from his mouth.
Toki then sets off on a quest to pursue and defeat Vookimeldo, rescue princess Miho, and undo the curse which has befallen the island. However, to reach Vookimedlo's golden palace, Toki will have to travel through murky lakes, steep canyons, over frozen ice-capped mountain ranges and lava-spewing volcanoes alike. To progress in his quest and be ultimately victorious, Toki will have to battle all manner of dangerous wild animals and various mutants of Vookimedlo's creation; not to mention Vookimedlo's own abominable guardians who act as level bosses.
In some ports of the game, Toki was named "JuJu", Miho was named "Wanda" and Vookimedlo was named "Dr. Stark". Also, in some ports it was not Vookimedlo who kidnaps princess Miho, but his chief henchman, the half-invisible giant known as Bashtar. In some ports Bashtar was the final boss of the game, and not Vookimedlo.
Due to its popularity, within the next two years the game was ported to a larger number of home video game consoles and home computers of the time. Ocean Software published versions for the Amiga, Atari ST and Commodore 64, They also advertised versions for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC and the Spectrum version was previewed in issue 90 of Crash Magazine, but neither port materialized. Taito published ports for the Atari Lynx and the Nintendo Entertainment System. The latter version of the game was slightly altered and featured a health bar so that Toki didn't die after one hit. Sega would later reprogram and retool the game into an exclusive version for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis known as Toki: Going Ape Spit. This version lacks the non-spit power-ups, but it features additional levels and more detailed graphics compared to the NES version.
An arcade-style platform game with similarly-looking simian characters was in development by Ocean Software for the Atari Jaguar under the working title Apeshit but was later renamed to Toki Goes Apespit at one point during development due to Ocean still retaining the license to Toki, with plans to be published in Winter 1994. However it was never released, likely due to the failure of the Jaguar both commercially and critically.
The original game was also ported by Magic Team for iOS on September 7, 2009 in the United States.
A new, independent enhanced remake was announced in October 2009. It was being developed by Golgoth Studio and was originally targeted for release on PC via Steam, and on home consoles through XBLA, PlayStation Network, and WiiWare. It missed its original 2011 release, and while it wasn't officially cancelled, it was considered vaporware for years, even after being approved on the (now-retired) Steam Greenlight service at the end of 2013. However, on April 5, 2018, Microïds announced that the remake would finally be released on December 4, 2018 for Nintendo Switch. It was then announced for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on March 28, 2019, for a Q2 2019 release. It was then released in June 2019.
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In Japan, Game Machine listed Toki on their March 15, 1990 issue as being the sixteenth most-successful table arcade unit of the year.
Toki was generally well received, commercially successful, and achieved a considerable following of fans, winning a Golden Joystick Award in 1992. Criticism mostly referred to its lack of originality, and the general slow pace of the game.
The One gave the Amiga version of Toki an overall score of 88%, calling its gameplay "standard stuff", but praises the variety of gameplay that's outside of the norm, posing such examples as Toki's ability to swim, climb, and ride trolleys, stating that these "all help to make it stand out from the current crop of arcade conversions." The One praises Toki's gameplay, stating that "the gameplay is so well balanced, becoming gradually harder as you get into it", furthermore stating that this is "exactly the way it should be." The One also praises Toki's music and graphics, expressing that "it complements the action perfectly" and "[adds] greatly to the game's appeal", furthermore stating that Toki's animations add "instant appeal", and calls Toki "An enjoyable conversion that's as playable as it is pretty".
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