Toki: Going Ape Spit, Megadrive/Genesis

This 1991 Sega Megadrive conversion of Toki is only loosely-based on the original 1989 arcade game, which is good because the original was much too hard to be fun, and this is more playable.

The basis of Toki is that you are an ape on a rescue mission – a mission to rescue your girlfriend Wanda – and must make your way through nine themed scrolling levels of platform action to do that.

Toki can spit bullets at hazards and enemies and can also pick up power-ups that enhance his abilities. He can also jump on the heads of some enemies, which has the dual effect of taking them out and also propelling him upwards to higher ground. There are spike traps, exploding stalagmites, see-saws, vines, swing chains, destructible platforms, swimming sections, all manner of killer beasties, and at the end of each level is a boss fight, which are the ultimate test of Toki‘s resilience.

Toki still dies in one hit when touched or shot by hostiles (unfortunately there’s no health bar, like in the NES version), but doesn’t quite face the same onslaught of death, as seen in the arcade parent.

There are quite a few fundamental differences between this and the original Toki. For starters: on the options screen you can change the game’s difficulty setting (easy, normal, hard, hardest), how many continues you get (0 to 7), how many lives you get (1, 3, 5 and 9), and how the ‘extend game’ mechanic works. The spit power-ups are more varied; there are also running shoes to speed Toki up, but there’s no protective football helmet (as seen in the original) in this game. There are alternative defensive stars, though. All the power-ups have a limited duration, and will flash their on-screen icons when they’re about to expire. When shot, enemies will drop fruit and other food items, and collecting 50 of these will award Toki an extra life.

The intro sequence has been jazzed-up, although it still plays a bit strange, and overall the graphics in Toki aren’t as colourful as those seen in the original. Which is a pity because otherwise Toki on the Megadrive is smooth-moving and looks very good. It’s just a pity it couldn’t have been more colourful (I blame the Megadrive for that, not the developers). Musically, the game has a variety of jolly tunes which fit the style of the game perfectly and help drive you along while playing.

Toki: Going Ape Spit was developed by Tad Corporation, the same Japanese company that made the original Toki arcade game, so is authentic and well worth a play.

More: Toki on Wikipedia
Steam: Toki on Steam

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