Toki (video game)

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JuJu Densetsu / Toki
Toki
Arcade cabinet side art
Developer(s) TAD Corporation
Publisher(s) Fabtek, Ocean, Sega of America, Taito
Designer(s) Akira Sakuma
Platform(s) Arcade, NES, Sega Mega Drive, Atari Lynx, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64
Release date(s) 1989, 1991
Genre(s) Platform, Run and Gun
Mode(s) 2 players alternating turns

Toki, known in Japan as JuJu Densetsu (JuJu伝説?) is a 1989 shoot 'em up platformer arcade game, or a "run and gun" developed and published in Japan by TAD Corporation and published in North America by Fabtek. It was designed by Akira Sakuma and features elements of tongue-in-cheek humor combined with the action. The player takes control of 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; therefore 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.

Gameplay[edit]

The game is a typical platformer in which 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 super-human 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.

Plot[edit]

The protagonist of the game is a muscular, loin-cloth 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.

Ports and related releases[edit]

North American front cover of the NES version of Toki.

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 and Atari ST versions, 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.

A new, independent enhanced remake was announced in October 2009. It is being developed by Golgoth Studio and targeted for release on PCs via Steam and on home consoles through XBLA, PlayStation Network, and WiiWare. It was originally planned for a 2011 release, but was pushed back for a possible release sometime in 2014.

Reception[edit]

Toki was criticized for some due to its lack of originality, and the general slow pace of the game (Toki as an ape doesn't move very fast), amongst other criticisms. However, the game was generally well received and achieved a considerable following of fans.

External links[edit]