Tomba!

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Tomba!
Tomba! NTSC.png
Developer(s) Whoopee Camp
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Tokuro Fujiwara
Programmer(s)
  • Toshihiko Uda
  • Masayoshi Kurokawa
Artist(s)
  • Tokuro Fujiwara
  • Hideki Hosokawa
Writer(s)
  • Masayoshi Kurokawa
  • Akira Kinoshita
Composer(s) Harumi Fujita
Platform(s) PlayStation
Release
  • JP: December 25, 1997
  • NA: June 30, 1998
  • EU: August 28, 1998
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single-player

Tomba![a] is a platform game developed by Whoopee Camp and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation. The game was initially released in Japan in December 1997 and worldwide the following year. Lead designer and producer Tokuro Fujiwara established Whoopee Camp and led the development of Tomba! after leaving Capcom by 1997. The game centers on the exploits of a pink-haired feral child named Tomba as he attempts to recover his grandfather's bracelet from a race of anthropomorphic and antagonistic pigs. Tomba! was received positively by critics, with particular praise going to the visuals and varied objective-based gameplay, with more mixed reception directed toward the audio. It was also re-released on the PlayStation Network in Japan in July 2011 and worldwide in 2012. Despite the game's lackluster commercial performance, it was followed by a sequel, Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return, in 1999, and would maintain a cult following years after its release.

Gameplay[edit]

Tomba! is a side-scrolling platform game in which the player controls the titular character Tomba. Tomba is capable of moving left and right across the screen, though he can occasionally move between the foreground and background and explore each as separate areas.[1][2] Some areas in the game enable the player to explore them in an isometric view, allowing Tomba to move around freely.[3] Signposts scattered throughout the environment state how to use the game's controls and abilities, while a select few can be used to save the player's progress.[1] Along with the ability to jump, Tomba can attack enemy characters by leaping onto their back, biting into them and tossing them in a straightforward trajectory.[4] Tomba can increase the variety in his offensive measures by obtaining weapons such as flails and boomerangs.[5][6] The game's progress is driven by the completion of up to 130 "events",[6] which are initiated by Tomba interacting with a character or environmental element and being given a task to accomplish or an obstacle to overcome. Such events may consist of finding a lost item, rescuing a stranded character or clearing a blockade in the imminent path.[1][5] Upon completing an event, the player is rewarded an amount of "Adventure Points", which can be used to advance toward a new area and unlock specifically-marked chests.[5] Multiple events can be undertaken at once and often don't require being cleared in any specific order.[1][2] The game features an inventory system that compiles the immediate given set of events for review as well as a collection of the items that have been obtained.[6]

Plot[edit]

Tomba's bracelet, an heirloom from his grandfather, is absconded following a confrontation with a group of evil Koma Pigs. He ventures to a nearby village in his pursuit, where he is directed to the 100-Year-Old Wise Man.[7] The Wise Man relates to Tomba the story of how the Seven Evil Pigs, the leaders of the Koma Pigs, appeared and used their powers to tarnish the land. He explains that the Koma Pigs have been stockpiling gold (which is later clarified to be the source of their magic powers[8]), and surmises that Tomba will find his bracelet if he seeks out the Seven Evil Pigs hiding throughout the land.[9] To aid in this endeavor, the Wise Man informs Tomba of the Evil Pig Bags capable of revealing the Evil Pigs' hiding places and capturing them, and tells him to seek out the Dwarf Elder in the nearby forest to learn more about the Evil Pig Bags.[10] The Dwarf Elder gives Tomba a blue Pig Bag and tells him that the Evil Pig Bags have the power to manifest the entrance to an Evil Pig's hideout if Tomba is to draw near to it, but also that the individual Evil Pigs do not hide in the same area that they have cast their specific spell.[11]

Tomba ventures throughout the continent gathering the rest of the Pig Bags. He cures Phoenix Mountain of its perpetual gale by capturing the Stormy Evil Pig, lifts the curse on Baccus Village (which has turned its citizens into mice) by capturing the Earth Evil Pig, raises Trick Village out of submersion by capturing the Water Evil Pig, extinguishes the inferno in Lava Caves by capturing the Fire Evil Pig, cures Dwarf Forest of its spore infestation by capturing the Forest Evil Pig, cures Masakari Jungle of its hostility by capturing the Deep Jungle Evil Pig, and cures the Haunted Mansion of its foreboding nature by capturing the Haunted Evil Pig. When all of these Evil Pigs have been captured, an eighth Evil Pig Bag manifests within Tomba's possession and reveals the lair of the Evil Pigs' creator and leader, the Real Evil Pig.[12] After defeating the Real Evil Pig in his trove of gold, Tomba recovers his bracelet.

Development and release[edit]

In 1997, Tokuro Fujiwara left Capcom after 13 years as an employee and established Whoopee Camp.[13] Fujiwara would act as the director, producer and lead designer of the studio's debut game Tomba!.[14] On his choice to make a 2D side-scrolling game, Fujiwara stated that a two-dimensional presentation was fundamental to the experience of "TV games", and that the format was a straightforward way to please and excite players. To set Tomba! apart from other timing-based action games, Fujiwara placed an emphasis on thinking and decision-making on the players' behalf and cultivated a highly flexible and free environment within the game, which would be reflected in the game's non-linear "event" system and Tomba's gradual growth in abilities and resources.[15] The music of Tomba! was composed by Harumi Fujita, and includes "Paradise" by Tokyo Channel Q as the opening theme and "Que Serã Serã" by Fumitaka Fuchigami as the ending theme.[14] Tomba! was released in Japan on December 25, 1997.[16] Promotional plush figures of Tomba and a Koma Pig were distributed in extremely limited quantities around the game's original release date.[15]

Visual improvements were added to the international version of Tomba!, including Gouraud shading on background elements. Additionally, the controls were made more responsive and the load times had been reduced.[5] The European version features the North & South song "No Sweat '98" as its opening theme.[17] Tomba! was released in North America on July 16, 1998 and in Europe on August 28, 1998.[18][19]

Tomba! was re-released on the PlayStation Network in Japan on July 6, 2011.[16] Distributor MonkeyPaw Games spent the course of a year formulating an English-language distribution deal with Sony and Fujiwara.[20] The involved parties elected to hold off on extending their relationship beyond Tomba! until its re-release showed satisfactory sales figures, upon which the re-release of the game's sequel, Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return, would be arranged.[21] The English-language version of Tomba! was re-released on the PlayStation Network in North America on June 19, 2012[22] and in Europe on October 3, 2012.[23]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings84%[24]
Review scores
PublicationScore
GamePro4/5[6]
Game RevolutionB+[2]
GameSpot8/10[1]
IGN8.7/10[5]

While Tomba! received positive critical reaction, its commercial performance proved lukewarm; Tomba! did not sell enough copies to qualify for inclusion in any of Sony's budget ranges, although it sold well enough to justify the sequel.[13][25] Following its initial release, Tomba! garnered a cult following, with unused physical copies of the game selling for as much as US$250 on eBay.[13]

Randy Nelson of IGN was impressed by the variety of Tomba!'s playable quests and remarked that they "never [get] boring or repetitive". He also positively compared the gameplay and controls to Fujiwara's previous titles Ghosts 'n Goblins and Ghouls 'n Ghosts, stating that "fans of those games will eat this one up."[5] John Broady of GameSpot described the gameplay as a "tried-and-true formula" and "well suited for anyone who wants a break from the glut of 3D action games out there", though he criticized the game's limited save system as a "chore".[1] Bro' Buzz of GamePro praised the "classic" gameplay as "skillfully crafted" and commended the "expansive" explorable landscape, the variety of puzzles, the "crisp and tight" controls and the "easy-to-use" inventory.[6] Mark Cooke of Game Revolution, however, felt that the game's "traditional" gameplay was "un-innovative" and "a little too tired" in spite of the game's "fun" quest system.[2]

Nelson noted that the game's mix of two-dimensional sprites and three-dimensional backgrounds "work[ed] well" and was "packed with personality", and described the game's character and level design as "top-notch".[5] Broady described the game's graphics as "fresh" and "very cheerful".[1] Bro' Buzz stated that the game's "unusual" textures and "muted" colors gave the 2D game an "impressive 3D feel".[6] Cooke praised the game's visuals, saying that "the sensational art is coupled with well modeled 3D objects that create a lush world filled with interesting life forms. Forests, leaves, water, buildings, everything, is drawn with incredible detail. Even the hand-animated cut-scenes are cute and funny. Tomba has some of the best 2D art out today."[2]

Nelson was apathetic toward the game's music and felt that it "unfortunately could have been much better."[5] Broady described the sound as "decent" and the music as "appropriate for a platform game".[1] Bro' Buzz cited the sound effects as "just all right" and "minimal to an extreme", and claimed that the music was "limited to one catchy but repetitive, goofy tune."[6] Cooke commended the "entertaining" audio as being "composed and recorded well" and suggested it "may set a new high water mark for platformers."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Known as Tombi! in Europe and Ore! Tomba (オレっ!トンバ, Me! Tomba) in Japan
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h John Broady (August 12, 1998). "Tomba! Review". GameSpot. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Mark Cooke (August 1998). "Game Revolution Review Page". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Tomba!". Ultra Game Players. Signal Research. 109: 51. April 1998. 
  4. ^ Damien McFerran (December 3, 2014). "Tomba! Review (PSone)". Push Square. Retrieved April 26, 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Randy Nelson (August 24, 1998). "Tomba!". IGN. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Tomba!". GamePro. International Data Group. 109: 104. August 1998. 
  7. ^ Whoopee Camp (July 16, 1998). Tomba!. PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment. Level/area: Village of All Beginnings. Villager: Well, if you need any info, go to the small hut on top of that hill up ahead. This crazy old geezer lives up there, but he should be able to help you out. 
  8. ^ Whoopee Camp (July 16, 1998). Tomba!. PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment. Level/area: Haunted Mansion. The 1,000-Year-Old Wise Man: The Evil Pigs use very powerful magic that can warp an entire area under their control. However, they need an enormous amount of gold to produce this kind of magic. 
  9. ^ Whoopee Camp (July 16, 1998). Tomba!. PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment. Level/area: Village of All Beginnings. The 100-Year-Old Wise Man: This was once a beautiful, peaceful land... until 7 Evil Pigs came. They suddenly appeared and used their powers to change this land into an ugly world... For some reason, the Evil Pigs seem to be collecting gold. I bet your Grandpa's bracelet that was stolen by the Evil Pigs was made out of gold, too. The 7 Evil Pigs are hiding somewhere in this world. If you find them, I'm sure you'll be able to find your bracelet as well. Just remember, be very careful. 
  10. ^ Whoopee Camp (July 16, 1998). Tomba!. PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment. Level/area: Village of All Beginnings. The 100-Year-Old Wise Man: Ah yes... you'll also need the Evil Pig Bags in order to find the Evil Pigs. Without the Evil Pig Bags you won't be able to find their hiding places. Go ask the Dwarf Elder about the Evil Pig Bags. You'll find him past the forest above here. He should be able to tell you everything you need to know about the Evil Pig Bags. 
  11. ^ Whoopee Camp (July 16, 1998). Tomba!. PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment. Level/area: Dwarf Forest. Dwarf Elder: This is the Evil Pig Bag for the Pig that cast a spell on this village. Take it. The Bag will help you find the Evil Pigs. When you're near the Pig's hideout, the Bag will reveal the Evil Pig Gate, the entrance to his hideout. But remember, the Evil Pigs do not hide in the places where they have cast their evil spells. 
  12. ^ Whoopee Camp (July 16, 1998). Tomba!. PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment. Level/area: The Strange Small Room. The Million-Year-Old Wise Man: What?! How could this be?! All seven Pigs have been sealed, and yet... Another Evil Pig Bag and another Evil Pig Gate! This can only mean... Listen carefully, now. I heard that there could be one more Evil Pig hiding somewhere, but until now, I thought it was just a rumor... This Pig has to be the one that controlled the other seven... the ultimate Evil Pig... 
  13. ^ a b c Luke Reilly (May 13, 2012). "5 More Video Game Industry One-Hit Wonders". IGN. Retrieved April 20, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b Whoopee Camp (July 22, 1998). Tomba!. PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment. Level/area: Credits. 
  15. ^ a b "Tomba! - 1997 Developer Interview". Dengeki PlayStation. 1997. Retrieved July 28, 2018. 
  16. ^ a b "オレっ!トンバ". PlayStation Store. July 6, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2018. 
  17. ^ Whoopee Camp (August 28, 1998). Tombi!. PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment. Level/area: Credits. 
  18. ^ Jannifer Campana (July 16, 1998). "Tomba! Brings Pink Hair and Pigs to the PlayStation Game Console; Action Platform Video Game Provides Wacky, Creative Gameplay for Kids of All Ages". Business Wire. Retrieved April 26, 2018. 
  19. ^ "Games Guide". Computer Trade Weekly. No. 702. United Kingdom. 24 August 1998. p. 20. 
  20. ^ Nick Michetti (June 15, 2012). "MonkeyPaw President John Greiner Discusses Acquiring The Rights To Re-Release Tomba! & Import Games". PlayStationLifeStyle. Retrieved April 22, 2018. 
  21. ^ J.C. Fletcher (May 23, 2012). "Tomba! comes to PlayStation Network as a PSOne Classic this summer". Engadget. Retrieved April 22, 2018. 
  22. ^ Ray Almeda (June 19, 2012). "PSone Classic Tomba! Pounces to PSN Today". PlayStation.Blog. Retrieved April 22, 2018. 
  23. ^ Ray Almeda (October 3, 2012). "Tomba! Swings Onto PSN Today!". PlayStation.Blog.Europe. Retrieved April 22, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Tomba! for PlayStation". GameRankings. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  25. ^ Ben Bertoli (February 25, 2015). "The Most Unappreciated Platformers of the '90s". Kotaku. Retrieved April 20, 2018. 

External links[edit]