Tobal 2


Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 9

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

Those of you who have been reading my work (and I use the term work very loosely) over the years know me as an "instant gratification" gamer - I’m really not one for long, drawn-out strategy games or complex thinking contests (I don’t really have the brain capacity for the latter). As a result, the "fighting game" genre generally appeals to me, although I’m not very good at them. Last year, Squaresoft released Tobal No. 1, a fighting game that was light on textures but heavy on speed. Tobal No. 1 was very popular not just because the action was solid and intuitive, but also because it had a "quest" mode that combined the fighting with some exploration. Wow! A clash of two worlds! How did it all turn out? Surprisingly well.

It should be NO surprise, then, that Tobal 2 would be on my list of games to buy. I was a little put off by the fact that Squaresoft decided not to release this game here in the US (like they have something better to do! Feh!), but getting import games isn’t really a big deal anymore so I plunked down the cash and bought the thing. It is moments like these when I wish I had learned Japanese instead of Geometry. Fortunately, the controls in this sequel are very much like those from the original. It’s the little "winning pose" sayings the characters babble that makes me wonder... The quest mode is another story, there’s lots of Japanese text there. What are they saying? Probably the standard RPG crap that I usually skip through anyway. As it turns out, you can progress just fine without knowing the story. I made up one of my own which I’ll have to share with you another time in another column, but to pique your interest I will tell you that it has something to do with the scantily-clad character "Chaco" wanting to bed me down and bear my children, only I’m a fighter not a lover so I put this off as long as possible by talking Japanese to local merchants and priests. Okay, so I didn’t say it was a very good story.

As for the game, it is pretty standard fare for fighters. You have your basic high/medium/low attacks, combinations, and blocking. I’ve always been a fan of blocking by "backing up", a’la Street Fighter II, but Tobal 2’s method isn’t bad -you can still press an attack button while blocking. There is a decent selection of fighters that stick with the tried and true. You have your basic karate guy, a karate gal, the super fast dude, super big but slow dude, old man with lots of tricks, etc. The artwork around these basic fighter types is outstanding, however. The humanoids are standard enough, but the monster-types are fantastic. Check out Oliems (looks like an alien) and Ill (looks like a demon)! The fluid motion, detailed backgrounds, and high frame rate make the visual experience complete.

The quest mode is a vast improvement over last year’s Tobal No. 1. Instead of being confined to one dungeon, there are (at least) six different dungeons. The monsters within are more frequent and varied. You’ll get all kinds of animals and humanoids as well as robots, undead creatures, underwater creatures, and lots of odd surprises. Each of these bad boys are animated with the same detail the main characters have, and best of all you can PLAY AS these monsters in tournament mode once you beat them in an encounter. I found that using them in tournament mode puts you at quite a disadvantage, since they lack the many moves of the main characters. Play in vs. mode against another monster (or friend playing as a monster), and you have rivalries that will probably never get old. I say that because there are over 150 different monsters when all is said and done. That has to be a record.

If you want to know if this game is "worth it", that’s a no-brainer. Even if you’ve never liked fighting games before I promise this is a new experience, especially in quest mode.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 16, 2005 03:07 PM