By Video_Game_King 9 Comments
Tomba( Wait, I feel like I've heard of this game from somewhere.) Is it one of "those" underappreciated 2.5D platformers people love to bring up when talking about early 3D gaming? Wait, no, I remember now! I heard about it from the 90s! Just look at this game, as everything about it screams 1990s. Don't believe me? Just watch this video and tell me what part of it doesn't feel like it came from a time when looking like a lesbian was fashionable! (I'd find pictures, but I think you know why I'm ambivalent about typing "90s lesbian" into Google Images.)
Of course, there's another reason I shoved that video into my first paragraph: so I can start off with the story. As we all know, Tomba is an asshole. Again, look at the video: he's chasing hogs in a hungry bloodlust, and when he finds pigs (cousins to the hog), he just goes crazy. Those pigs did nothing to him, but he doesn't care; he just wants them to die. Tomba doesn't get his wish, however; he fucks it up, and the pigs steal the gold bracelet that his grandpa got him for his sweet sixteen! Now Tomba has to go on a quest to recover his bracelet, where he finds out that pigs are like girls and Glenn Beck: they love gold. This may seem like an odd amount of story for a platformer, but that's because it is. The game's very story driven, given the event aspect of the game (more on that next paragraph) and the semi-frequent FMVs throughout the world of Tomba. The sad thing is that the story isn't even that good; it's just Tomba trying to destroy the seven evil pigs while doing completely unrelated things in between. This lack of relation becomes incredibly clear at the end, when you're supposed to collect characters you barely know to get to the final boss.
Wait a minute, I know what's going on: Tomba's trying to be an RPG. Sort of. You have stat progression (that amounts to nothing), treasure chests (that tease you with their locks until some semi-arbitrary point in time), and missions, which is why this paragraph exists. You don't just hop from level to level, wondering where the unity is; you instead complete mission after mission, wondering where the unity is. Hint: it's not there. The missions will never come into any sort of cohesive whole, not even in the missions. A lot of them are just "go collect X amount of Y", either because they needed to fulfill a certain amount of hours, or because math gives them a hard-on. Hell, it's possible to complete some of the events without knowing it, mainly because some of the events pop up at times when you either don't know you're doing them or you're not able to do so. But whatever, none of this matters as long as the reward is good, right? And for completing the events, you get.....wait, nothing? Seriously? Nothing? There has to be something, like a good ending or a secret item or.....seriously? Damn it!
What makes this depressing is that the actual platforming parts of this platformer are decent. It's like somebody saw a decent piece of chocolate and wrapped it in turd because they thought we'd like the peanuty crunch they've just added. But enough on Snickers; we need to talk 2.5D. Like Klonoa from around the same time.....wait, no, this is nothing like Klonoa! If you want that stuff, scroll down, you lazy bastard. Klonoa had curving 2D paths intersecting with each other; Tomba had pretty straight planes that lied next to each other. You could switch at certain points in the map. They're sometimes a bit hard to discern, but otherwise, nothing really wrong with them. Oh, what the hell, might as well get this out of the way: why did they do this to the graphics? Go look back at that video from earlier (no, not th....eh, close enough; the guy's at least fat enough to qualify as a pig). Notice how that's a cartoon? Notice how the game has that weird digitized 3D claymation look that other games had? Why didn't they do the cartoon look?
Anyway, isn't it amazing how I've saved the part on how you play the game until the f'ing end? Well, this. As that picture shows, your main attack is jumping on enemies, something whose ability the game overestimates a bit. If Tomba is to be believed, then all I need to do to learn Japanese is shove my balls into Pepsiman's/Vinchenzo's/KaosAngel's faces. Unfortunately, that's not the case, since only one of them was OK with having balls shoved in their face. Also, the bosses. Or should I say "boss?" I should probably go with the latter, since the bosses all amount to "toss the fucker into a bag", the only differences being setting. You just jump on them and toss them into a bag. No weak points, no special attacks, not even use of your other weapons. Then again, I can see why you don't use your other weapons: they suck. You'll kill more people with deodorant than with these things. The game partially admits this, as one of your tools needs to go through an event before it'll even consider hurting your enemies' feelings. Man up, grapple! I was gonna give you the Ed Begley, Jr. Award for Being a Disappointing Hybrid, but Tomba gets it until you grow some balls.
- You're not an RPG! Accept that!
- The 2.5D platforming aspects are actually pretty decent.
- Tomba's an asshole. Screw him before he screws you.
You can see the fear in their eyes. I suspect the girl near the end is his personal slave.
Klonoa: Empire of Dreams( Wait, really?) I was just making random Klonoa references in that last part of the blog, and now there's a whole section dedicated to Klonoa? Wasn't expecting that. What I do expect, however, is a ridiculously long sex part of the blog immediately following this part..........Turns out we aren't getting the sex part. Guess I'll have to make due with Klonoa. I know that nobody wants due, but fuck it, I have to make the blog, and you have to read it. *pulls out a gun*
I planned on ending that paragraph-ette with "a man can dream, can't he?", but there are several reasons why I didn't do that. First, it's stupid. Second, I've better ways of transitioning into the story, since we all know that Klonoa's all about the dreams. The first one was inside a dream, like FF10 or a better FF8, and the second is exactly that, only not in Klonoa's mind. This time it's some random Emperor's mind, and he's pissed that he can't dream (in his dreams, I guess), because, and I quote the game, "dreams won't put food on the table." This is odd, since about three levels later, we find out somebody's dreaming about putting food on tables. AND IT WORKS. Anyway, dreams conspire with the Lucky Charms leprechaun to destroy the world, and it's up to little Klonoa to make sure that doesn't happen. You know, typical Klonoa stuff, like 2.5D.
I was going to make that a theme for this blog, but unfortunately, Empire of Dreams is on the GBA. Sadly, the game is 2D, even if it doesn't know it; you can shoot toward and away from the screen at nothing, probably because Namco forgot to remove that part of Door to Phantomile when they were making this game. Odd, since Empire of Dreams plays almost nothing like Door to Phantomile. Instead of leaping from regular platforming level to regular platforming level, you navigate a world map stolen directly from Yoshi's Island, jumping into levels to solve puzzles. Each level has you chasing down golden trinkets like a female Glenn Beck, grabbing enemies and sh...shooting at stuff to....s....sol.....I just can't continue typing after having created that monstrosity. Please excuse me while I find some way to atone for the horrible crimes I have committed against all life everywhere and ever. *leaves*
( Hey, remember me?) No? Oh, right, the whole text barrier thing. I was the guy who wrote the second part of that Fragile Dreams blog, and am apparently the guy who writes blogs whenever the King goes absolutely batshit insane. Not like it matters, since we're both essentially the same personality. It's not like I got The Lubed Mustache or the only girl here to write this. Anyway, what he was trying to say before he created that affront to humanity was that you grab enemies and shoot at objects to solve puzzles for said trinkets. Unlike Tomba, however, where you were just wasting time, the puzzles here come in manageable, bite-sized chunks (at least until the end of the game), which works out really well, especially since it's on a portable console. (Not that I'd know, dirty emulator that I am.) You can play a few levels, put it in your pocket, do whatever you're supposed to do, pick it back up, and it still feels fresh and new! Hell, the game even introduces some snowboarding levels out of nowhere to make sure you never get bored. How exactly do you fuck this up?
Well, notice how I said that you don't get bored; never did I say that they make sure that the game isn't fun. Don't get me wrong, the game's still pretty good, but it's filled with enough quirks (flaws) to turn your GBA into a discus with a screen on it. For example, the jumping. On the surface, it works fine, but dig down a bit and you'll find a world of flaws. You can't edge yourself onto platforms, even a little bit; to get up to those platforms that are just too high up, you'll need to bounce off an enemy. Oh, but what if you bounced off an enemy to try to edge yourself on the platform. Well, you're fucked, especially since you can't shoot up or down, meaning you can't grab enemies above you to jump onto that platform. And should that platform be through a small tunnel, well, there's a 50% chance that you can carry the enemy to that platform. Sometimes enemies will squish down to your level while being dragged through tiny passages, and other times they'll refuse to travel by anything that isn't throwing, which sucks for you, since it's pretty much impossible to catch enemies you've already thrown forward.
You'd think this would make the game super hard, but no, Empire of Dreams is actually kinda short and easy; you'd also think that I'd criticize the shit out of the game for just that, but you're completely WRONG! The only issue I have is with the high number of lives, as everything else fits perfectly within the portable game mold. What doesn't fit is the lack of difficulty with all the bosses. Maybe it's because they all die in three hits; maybe it's that the game outright tells you how to defeat most of these guys; maybe it's because I'm awesome. Although it's impossible to know which ones are true (OK, it's all of them), it's pretty easy to see that easy bosses do not a good game make, unless it's Earthworm Jim, for some reason. But since Klonoa is not groovy, I have to give it the Not Groovy Award. I think. Right?
- Not gonna make a bad joke for this: the game just looks bland and uninteresting.
- But hey, at least you get some cool puzzle/platformer elements!...
- ...Weighted down by numerous mechanical issues.