Toy Story (video game)
This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Super NES cover
|Composer(s)||Andy Blythe & Marten Joustra, Allister Brimble (SNES)|
Mark Ortiz (Game Boy)
Toy Story is a side-scrolling platform game released by Disney Interactive Studios in 1995 for the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, and Microsoft Windows. It is based on the film of the same name, and follows its plot. The game was followed by a sequel based on the second film, called Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue.
The game closely follows the plot of Toy Story, with a few minor differences.
It is the day of Andy's birthday party, and his toys are riled up about the possible newcomers and their potential replacement. In an effort to calm their nerves, Sheriff Woody sends a troop of green army men, along with a baby monitor, to report. The mission goes over smoothly; however, they receive an abrupt warning that Andy is returning to his room, sending everyone in a frenzy to return to their positions. Once things have settled down and Andy has left the room, the toys find a lone newcomer: Buzz Lightyear. They are impressed with him and his features and Hamm decides that Woody and Buzz should have a race to settle their argument. Buzz wins the race, but Woody, still unfazed, challenges Buzz to fly around the room with his eyes closed, which Buzz does. Woody finds that he is being replaced by this newcomer in status, both in the eyes of the toys and of Andy, and is relegated to the toybox. He begins to have nightmares about Buzz (which never happens in the film version, but was based on a deleted scene) which he ends up confronting.
Jealous of all the attention Buzz has been getting, and wanting to be brought by Andy to Pizza Planet, Woody grabs R.C. and then he knocks Buzz out the window, leading to all the other toys' ire at him. Woody manages to escape from the angered toys with the help of Rex, who does not like confrontations. Woody is chosen by Andy as the toy to go to Pizza Planet, but during a stop at the gas station, Buzz hops in the van and attacks Woody. Buzz is defeated when Woody traps him in a spare tire. However, Andy and his mother leave, without noticing their absence.
Woody and Buzz hitch a ride on a Pizza Planet van to return to Andy. Once there, the two toys disguise themselves as litter and sneak into Pizza Planet, avoiding contact with humans. Buzz sneaks into a claw machine, mistaking it for a rocket to return to his home planet; Woody sneaks in the coin slot and works through the hazardous innards in pursuit. Woody is greeted by the squeaky toy aliens inside, who task him with saving some of their own, lost even deeper inside the machine. Woody is successful with the task and the aliens thank him. However, Sid Phillips, Andy's toy destroying neighbor, notices Buzz in the claw machine and tries to fetch him out. Woody delays Buzz's capture by launching the Aliens at the claw, but is unable to prevent it, and instead goes along with him.
Woody and Buzz try to escape from Sid's room, which is overrun with metal bugs and live firecrackers. Sid occasionally pops in to torture Woody by setting his head on fire, sending Woody dashing for a nearby bowl of cereal to douse it. Woody and Buzz have a run-in with Sid's collection of mutilated toys, keeping them back with Buzz's karate-chop action. Sid decides to destroy Buzz with a large rocket, and takes him away. To save him, Woody then befriends the toys, and riding on the back of Roller Bob, sneaks out into Sid's backyard, dodging various pieces of litter and Sid's dog, Scud.
Woody orders Sid to play nice and the toys attack him. Terrified, Sid runs into his house, screaming. Woody saves Buzz, but Andy's family moves out of their house without either toy. Woody manages to catch up to the moving truck, but Buzz falls behind. Woody finds R.C., hops on his back on the road, and drives back for Buzz. Securing him, they proceed to ride R.C. back to the truck. However, R.C. runs out of batteries. Buzz and Woody light the rocket on Buzz's back, cutting it off once they gain enough airspeed and glide all the way back to the van of Andy's mother. The two toys have gotten over their differences over the course of this adventure, and go on to be good friends in Andy's new house.
Players control Woody through several stages that encompass the entire plot of the film. Several obstacles lie between the player and the goal of each level, including an assortment of enemies. Woody is equipped with a pullstring whip, which will temporarily tie up opponents, letting Woody pass by unharmed. It cannot, however, kill enemies (with the lone exception of Nightmare Buzz, the only boss in the game to be permanently defeated through the whip). This whip can also latch onto certain hooks, letting Woody swing above perilous terrain.
The game occasionally changes genres for a stage. Players control R.C. in two stages: one in which Woody knocks Buzz out a window, the other in which they both race back to the moving truck. Both play largely the same; the game takes an overhead view of the level, giving the players basic acceleration, braking and steering, and tasking players with reaching the end of the stage while not running out of batteries (which drain constantly, but can be replenished by bumping them out of Buzz in the former stage, and merely finding them on the ground in the latter). Another stage is played from a first-person perspective as Woody searches through a maze to find alien squeaky toys lost inside the claw machine and return them to the play area, where the rest of the alien toys reside, all within a time limit.
The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version has 18 levels, while the Super NES and Microsoft Windows versions have 17. The Game Boy version is the shortest version of the game with 10 levels. The Genesis and Windows versions have an additional racing level named "Day-Toy-Na", absent from the other versions, in which Woody rides R.C. from the moving van to Buzz. The Windows version lacks the first-person maze level.
Development and release
The Game Boy version was developed by Tiertex Design Studios, while the other versions were developed by Traveller's Tales. The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version of Toy Story was the lead version. The game features 3D-rendered graphics, and Pixar provided Traveller's Tales with the film's animations of Woody and Scud. The development team and Pixar initially had issues rendering the animations with correct lighting that would allow the development team to convert them for the game. Pixar provided final animations to the team only two weeks before the game was to be submitted to Sega for final approval. If the game did receive approval the first time, its release would have been delayed, failing to coincide with the theatrical release of the film. As a precaution, Traveller's Tales rendered their own animations of Woody in case Pixar could not provide them on time.
Jon Burton, the founder of Traveller's Tales, served as both the designer and programmer for the game. To pass Sega's strict approval process, Burton disguised game glitches as part of the game; instead of receiving an error message, game testers would be sent to a bonus minigame, which Burton said was part of the game. While the film had vibrant, vivid colors, the Genesis had only a limited array of colors. As a partial solution, Traveller's Tales utilized a special mode that provided access to additional shades of red, green, and blue. The Windows game features instrumental versions of two Randy Newman songs from the film.
The game was published by Disney Interactive. In the United States, the Genesis version was released in November 1995, coinciding with the film's release. The Super NES version followed shortly thereafter. The Game Boy and Windows versions were released in 1996. In Europe, the Genesis version was released during Easter 1996, while the Super NES version was released in June 1996.
Toy Story was met with mostly mixed reviews. It was praised for its impressive visuals, varied gameplay, and the PC version's enhanced soundtrack, but criticized for its poor control and uneven difficultly, with some levels which reviewers found to be too frustratingly difficult, particularly for the young target audience. The visuals were best received on the Sega Genesis version due to the game's 3D-rendered graphics, which had several precedents on the SNES and PC but were completely new to the Genesis. Critics were varied in their overall impressions; GamePro concluded that "Despite the stunning graphics, Toy Story's uninspiring gameplay makes for merely fleeting fun", while Game Informer decreed the game "a humorous and fun adventure that will certainly entertain everyone in the whole family." Roger Burchill of Super Play wrote that while the Genesis version "marked a new high point" in graphics and gameplay, the Super NES version "can't help but be compared to Donkey Kong Country 2 and that's a comparison where it will lose every time."
According to Disney Interactive, the Super NES and Genesis versions were both "tremendous successes", though a Super NES chip shortage prevented them from producing as many copies of the Super NES version as they believed they could have sold.
Mark East of GameSpot praised the soundtrack of the Windows version but had several minor criticisms of the game, including keyboard control issues, delayed sound effects, and brief pauses that occur when the soundtrack restarts. Adam Douglas of PC Gamer considered it to be rushed, unoriginal, difficult, and frustrating, and concluded that the game failed to recapture "the magic of the film."
The Game Boy version received little coverage. A brief review in GamePro opined that it did not live up to the legacy of the film and previous versions of the game, citing "plodding and repetitive" gameplay, rudimentary graphics, and the inaccuracy of Woody's drawstring.
- Hearn, Marcus (March 1996). "Toy Story". Computer and Video Games. pp. 48–51.
- "Megadrive Review: Toy Story". Mean Machines. March 1996. pp. 60–63.
- Smith, Nick. "Disney's Toy Story: Power Play - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on 12 December 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "ProReview: Toy Story". GamePro. No. 95. IDG. August 1996. p. 70.
- "Toy Story (Genesis)". GameFan: 20, 134–135. December 1995.
- "Telling Tales". Super Play. May 1996. pp. 38–39.
- Alexandra, Heather (3 October 2017). "Developer Used Fake Secrets To Sneak Games Through Sega's Certification Process". Kotaku. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
- Wales, Matt (3 October 2017). "How one Mega Drive dev cheekily slipped through Sega's certification process". Eurogamer. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
- Walker, Alex (9 October 2017). "How Toy Story Squeezed More Colour Out Of The Sega Genesis". Kotaku Australia. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
- East, Mark (17 December 1996). "Toy Story Review (PC)". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 5 February 2004. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Toy Story (SNES)". GameFan: 18, 94–95. February 1996.
- Wallis, Alistair (9 November 2006). "Playing Catch Up: Traveller's Tales' Jon Burton". Gamasutra. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
- "CTW Games Guide". Computer Trade Weekly. No. 592. United Kingdom. 17 June 1996. p. 29.
- Weiss, Brett Alan. "Disney's Toy Story (Genesis) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- Weiss, Brett Alan. "Disney's Toy Story (SNES) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on 16 November 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Review Crew: Toy Story". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Sendai Publishing (78): 39. January 1996.
- "Review Crew: Toy Story". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Sendai Publishing (79): 30. February 1996.
- "Toy Story (Genesis)". Game Informer (32): 10–11. December 1995. Archived from the original on 20 November 1997. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Disney's Toy Story (SNES)". Game Informer (33). January 1996. Archived from the original on 20 November 1997. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Toy Story". PC Gamer UK. 1996.
- Douglas, Adam (April 1997). "Toy Story". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 8 March 2000. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Rendered". Next Generation. No. 13. Imagine Media. January 1996. p. 169.
- Burchill, Roger (May 1996). "Toy Story (SNES)". Super Play. pp. 40–42.
- "Disney's Toy Story for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "ProReview Genesis: Toy Story". GamePro. IDG (88): 92. January 1996.
- "ProReview SNES: Toy Story". GamePro. IDG (90): 62. March 1996.
- "First Look at the Games of CES". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Sendai Publishing (80): 50–51. March 1996.
- "News Bits". GamePro. No. 96. IDG. September 1996. p. 21.
- "Home Entertainment Awards – Video Games". Entertainment Merchants Association. Retrieved 5 February 2012.