Toki

Name:
Toki
Company: Atari
Model #:
Unknown
Programmers:
Images Ltd. & Maximum Effect
Year: 1993
Released?
No
Notes:
Port of the 1989 TAD Corp. arcade game

 

You can be forgiven for not recognizing Toki as being an original arcade.  Toki was part of the wave of cutesy platformers from Japan that were popular in the late 80's and early 90's until Street Fighter II started the one on one fighter trend.  And while it didn't exactly take the arcades by storm, Toki was popular enough to ported to a wide variety of home systems including the Atari Lynx and ST.  Toki was also planned to have been released for the Atari 7800, and uncovered internal Atari documents showed that it was being worked on late into the 7800's life.  Unfortunately this was the only evidence anybody had that the 7800 version ever existed.  That is until the near final version was discovered on a developer's hard drive.


In Toki you play the role of, you guessed it, Toki.  Toki is a peaceful Tarzan jungle man whose whole island has been turned into beasts thanks to an evil witch doctors spell (is there any other kind?).  However unlike your fellow islanders, you've somehow retained your senses and must use your new found apelike powers to rescue princess Miho from the clutches of the evil Vookimedlo.  One of the side effects of being turned into an ape is that Toki now has the power to spit energy shots (hence the subtitle "Going Ape Spit" that was used in some ports).  Toki must use his amazing spitting ability along with power ups he collects along the way to make his way though five levels of increasing difficulty.


The basic gameplay of Toki is pretty simple.  Toki can shoot or jump on enemies to destroy them, but will die if any enemy touches him.  Sometimes jumping on enemies instead of shooting them is a wise move because it can be used to grab out of reach power ups.  Unfortunately Toki is a bit of a glass cannon and will die after one hit so be careful.  Toki must also watch the timer as he will die when it hits zero.  Unlike many games of the era, the timer in Toki isn't particularly generous and you can't increase it (at least not in the 7800 version), so don't dilly dally!  Along the way Toki will also find see-saws with weights on the end which he can use to catapult himself to higher levels.  

Speaking of power ups, there are four different power ups that Toki can grab to increase his abilities for a short time:

Fireball This will increase the size of Toki's shots and make them more powerful
Helmet The helmet will make Toki indestructible to anything but spikes and bullets.  Any enemy that touches Toki while he's wearing the helmet will die instantly.
Flamethrower This power up will turn Toki's spit weapon into a powerful flamethrower
Split Shot This is really supposed to be the Three Way shot, but due to the limitations of the 7800, you only get two.  The Split shot will allow Toki to shoot in a V shape that angles up and down.  Probably the most useful power up of the bunch.


Level One: The Labyrinth of Caves

Toki starts his quest outside a large cave.  This early intro area is a great place to get acquainted with the controls before you're forced to start dealing with tougher enemies.  Make sure you take the time to shoot those odd flying things (Shartoesi) overhead as they will drop coins when shot.  Collect enough coins and you'll earn an extra life.  Not far into the level you'll see your first power up (Fireball) which will increase the size of your spit balls.  Once inside the cave you will see a helmet power up under a falling platform (ride it down a bit to grab it).  Grabbing the helmet isn't too difficult and will protect you from the Blastum hiding at the bottom of the pit next to the see-saw.  Remember, anything touching Toki while he is wearing the helmet power up will die instantly, so use it to your advantage.  After cleaning out all the enemies jump on the end of the see-saw to be thrown upwards.  Climb the vine and say hello to your first mini-boss!

As this is the first mini-boss, The Gate of Moornah is pretty easy.  All Toki has to do is shoot the two fire breathing faces on the side of the stone, climb up the vine, and shoot the two monkeys operating the pulleys at the top.  After destroying the Gate, grab the flamethrower power up and climb down the vine to the next area.  Here destroy the thorn spike that's in your way (watch out as it will explode into deadly pieces) and make your way to left and across the platform destroying enemies as you go.  In this next area Toki must jump up a series of ledges while avoiding enemies.  The only difficult thing here are the Webstamites which look like spiders that shoot in six directions.  After taking them out, make your way up the ledges, past another see-saw, and exit out of the cave.  After a short distance you'll encounter your first boss.


Boloragog is your first real challenge of the game.  He appears to be a large man in a mask who throws Geeshergams (white monkeys) at you.  After sliding around and throwing a few Geeshergames, Boloragog will jump towards you, which is your chance to run under him.  Boloragog will throw a few more monkeys at you and then do a series of short hops before jumping high enough for you to run back underneath.  He'll repeat this pattern until you shoot him 30 times.  The biggest threat here is being trapped in a corner or misjudging the timing for running underneath him.  After Boloragog is finished you'll move onto Lake Neptune.


Level Two: Lake Neptune

Our first water level, are you excited?  This level is actually pretty short, but before you can get to beautiful Lake Neptune you'll have to deal with some Geeshergams operating a cannon.  The cannon actually doesn't pose much of a threat as long as you take your time and don't run and try and grab the power up like a fool.  After climbing a little bit you'll eventually come to the lake.


The water portion of this level is actually pretty easy as you can spam the split shot you can see at the start and blast through all the enemies quickly.  One thing you don't want to do is pause to look around as the enemies will quickly swarm you.  After swimming through a few water areas connected by tunnels, you'll eventually come to a section where you have to swim up and out of the tunnel.  Here you'll encounter the next boss.

Rambacha is actually pretty easy because he's so slow.  His blobby butt will hover in the center of the room for what seems like an eternity allowing you to shoot him without fear.  Eventually he'll drop a series of eyeballs that will bounce towards you in an arc.  Make quick work of these and continue to shoot at Rambacha until he starts teleporting.  After he reappears finish him off with a series of quick shots and you'll probably never have to deal with the eyes a second time.  It's worth noting that the prototype gets a little glitchy when Rambacha drops his eyeballs, but it goes away quickly.


Level Three: The Caverns of Fire

Through the fire and flames we carry on.  Things are beginning to heat up now (chuckle), and Toki must traverse a cavern full of lava.  Turns out this really isn't any different than the other levels other than you don't want to fall off the moving platforms (which can be a little tricky).  This level is much longer than the previous one, so don't waste too much time.  The only thing to watch out for in this beginning area are the Wobalin that will appear without warning at various parts of this level such as between the two geysers so make sure you don't accidentally crash into them.  After taking a falling rock down into a chamber you'll encounter the first mini boss for this level.


Raktura is a fire bird that will fly around the chamber shooting fireballs at you.  There's a helmet sitting tantalizingly on the other side of the chamber, but grabbing it is dangerous.  If you do manage to grab it however, you can jump into the Raktura and kill it instantly.  Keep in mind that the helmet won't protect you from the Raktura's shots.  After killing the Raktura Toki will encounter a series of slopes and a whole bunch of thorn spikes, so be careful.  Use the Killer Harnas at the end of this area to jump up and grab another helmet power up (they're sure generous with the power ups all the sudden) but be careful of the hidden Wobalin. 


Drop down into the next area, but hang to the right or you'll have to hope you land on the moving platform above the lava.  Climb down the vine and do another drop of blind luck to land on another moving platform.  Take the falling stone down to another chamber and our old friend Raktura.  This time around there's no helmet to cheese your way through, so you'll have to take Raktura down the old fashioned way.  After dealing with Raktura Toki will have to ride a tiny platform across the lava while avoiding Killer Harnas until he reaches another section of land infested with thorn spikes. 


After the spikes you'll encounter a new enemy called Timagon which is a giant green lizard that hatches out of an egg.  When he hatches the egg shells shoot out and will kill you if they hit you.  Grab the Fireball power up and take the Timagon out before he starts breathing fire.  You'll then run into two more which may be more than you can handle, but you can duck and shoot the top one from your platform before dropping down to finish off the second one.  You'll then come to a very tricky jump where Toki must be almost falling off the edge to make.  When you do actually make the jump you'll land on a platform which drops if you stand on it too long.  Thankfully the platform is really made of two halves so quickly jump and grab the Fireball power up, move over to the right side of the platform before the left drops, jump to safety.  Just make sure to take out the Geeshergam waiting for you first.  Take out yet another Timagon and you'll finally encounter this level's boss.


Mogulvar appears to be some sort of demonic insect that burps out letters that spell BURP (well isn't that lovely).  Much like Boloragog, Mogulvar likes to jump around and can be a real pain in the neck to dodge.  The letters fly in an arc like motion and then drop when they're above you.   The letters are hard to avoid, but go down with one shot so simply aim up as they drop down at you.  Mogulvar will take 40 hits to destroy, but it's oh so satisfying when you do.


Level Four: Ice Palace

The requisite ice level (no 80's game would be complete without one!).  The first thing you'll notice is a bunch of floating ice blocks above a pit.  The second thing you'll notice is that these blocks drop almost immediately after you land on one, so you'll have to jump from block to block quickly or you'll drop into the pit.  Make sure you don't jump too soon off the last one or you'll hit the side of the cave.  Instead wait for it to drop a but then jump off and quickly kill the waiting enemies.  After climbing a short series of dropping platforms you'll come across a series of slopes with Blastums waiting to launch at you.  It's easier to jump on the Blastums rather than turning around and shooting them.  Eventually Toki will come to a dropping platform which will take him to a chamber with a your next mini boss: Galartor.  Just make sure you watch out for the Blastum hanging out towards the top of the drop.


Galartor is actually kind of easy.  He's a large head that bounces around and shoots fireballs at you, but he'll go down with a dozen or so hits, so take your time.  Also note that you can shoot his fireballs out of the air, so take that to heart.  After disposing of Galartor you'll see a Fireball power up, but be careful as it's guarded by two Wobalin who will appear out of nowhere and a Geeshergam that will charge you (are these guys your fellow islanders?).  Eventually you'll end up in another water section, but this time you'll have a helmet power up to help you charge through it. 


One thing to remember about the helmet while swimming is that it won't protect you if an enemy hits you from behind (this is only an issue while swimming) so watch out for the Shoshanu that appear in the middle of this area.  At the end of the water area you'll encounter a Vipus which looks like a large octopus that shoots squid at you.  Stay back and shoot him from a distance and you'll enter a smaller chamber with yet another Vipus.  This time around you're forced to get close, so drop down and shoot quickly.  You can also try and avoid this Vipus and swim up through the chamber, but there's a good chance he'll get you if you try this.  At the top of the chamber you'll encounter a large downward slope which leads you to the boss.


Zorzamoth appears as a large green mammoth that shoots his tusks at you in a boomerang type fashion (one high, one low).  You can't shoot down or jump on the tusks, so you must learn their pattern and jump over them.  After a bit Zorzamoth will take take a series of short hops towards you, so use this opportunity to back up and unload on him.  Zorzamoth is actually the first difficult boss of the game and can take a few tries to defeat.  The thing to watch out for is that the tusks will go off screen, but come flying back so don't stand too close to the edge or you won't have enough time to react.  After what seems like an eternity, Zorzamoth will eventually drop.


Level Five: Dark Jungle


The Dark Jungle is where the difficulty really starts ramping up and with good reason as it's the final level.  The first area of this level is a series of pits that must be jumped over and large enemies that take several shots to destroy.   At the start of the level you'll encounter a Creepavore which you'll have to duck to shoot as it scurries across the ground.  Watch out as these nasty little critters shoot fireballs and can hit you with their tongue as well.  After destroying several thorn spikes, you'll encounter a Catecormos which will burst out of the ground and then jump around trying to hit you.  Thankfully they go down in a few hits, but they can surprise you if you're not careful.  The secret is to bait them so they jump out right into your shots.  After a short time you'll see what appears to be a palm tree on the other side of a pit throwing bullets at you.  The Katyerow (seriously, who names these guys) isn't too dangerous but take several shots to destroy. 


After the pit you'll encounter a Webstamite that takes several shots to destroy (super Webstamite?) and another Katyerow.  Next you'll see another Creepavore but instead of shooting him, make sure you jump on him so you can reach the Fireball power up.  Just be careful that he's not shooting when you attempt to do this.  After a series of Catercormos, Creepavores, and falling platforms over pits, you'll see two Killer Harnas and a helmet power up.  Shoot the top Harnas and jump off the bottom one to reach it, then take the see-saw up to the next area.


This area looks more like a palace than the Ice Palace level did, but technically it's still jungle (jungle temple?).  Jump on another Killer Harnas to reach the Split Shot power up and you'll reach a climbing area with some rolling worm looking enemies.  These guys (who apparently don't have a name), are invincible but that's actually a good thing because you'll need to bounce off them to get enough height to reach the platforms.  Bounce off the two worm things, climb the next series of platforms (watch out for the Webstamite), and take the see-saw to the top.  Carefully jump over a series of spiked pits (watch out that you don't ride the platforms down into the pit), and you'll have a showdown with Bashtar, Miho's kidnapper.


Bashtar is the original invisible giant (read a book people).  Well, mostly invisible anyway as all you'll see are his feet, his hand, and his heart.  As you might have guessed it's the heart that you need to aim at.  If you grabbed the Fireball power up from the previous room, Bashtar will go down in only a few hits.  While his feet are invincible, it's a good idea to shoot them now and then or they'll charge at you.  Occasionally Bashtar's hand will grab his heart and protect it from all your shots, but he releases it after a short time.  For a final boss, Bashtar is a real let down as his feet are the only attack he has.  No fireballs, no flying fist, nothing but marching feet.  So just hang back and shoot his heart a few times and he'll go down like the chump he is.


After all that work you'll see an ending picture of Toki hugging Miho and then... nothing.  The game appears to freeze here so all you can do is reset.  It's thought that there would be a credit roll or at least a game over screen at this point, but it wasn't programmed yet.  Still, at least Toki *has* and ending, which is a rarity among 7800 games.  It's also worth noting that much like the title screen, there's no music or sound here either.

Toki is an example of what could be done with a properly programmed 7800.  While the graphics may not be as detailed as the NES version (the 7800's major competitor), they're amazing for the system and mimic the arcade game very well.  Although there is a bit of slowdown when there are large amounts of enemies on the screen, there's absolutely no flicker like there is in the NES version.  About the only area where the 7800 version falls short is in the music department.  Since Atari didn't want to spring the extra money to add a Pokey to Toki (hey, that rhymes!), the game is forced to use built in TIA chip which was used to produce sound/music on the 2600.  While the music is passable, it doesn't sound particularly great and is somewhat reminiscent of SwordQuest: Fireworld on the 2600.  Thankfully you can choose to turn it off on the options screen and play with only sound effects (or neither if silence is your thing).


 

So why was Toki never released?  Around the time Toki was being finished up (May of 1993), Atari decided to stop all development for the 7800.  They paid the remaining developers to stop developing their games (Pit Fighter, Rampart, Road Riot 4WD, and Steel Talons were also still in development) and the 7800 was declared officially dead.  Toki was officially cancelled on May 14th, 1993 and the developers were paid 9,000 Pounds for their work.  It is thought that the only known prototype for Toki (Beta 2) dates to around this time. 

 

Version Cart Text Description
?/??/93 Beta 2
PAL version.  Very close to final

 

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