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Why did they do the boxart in the toy art style? I never realized it looks so bad til just now.

Toy Story – SNES

Toy_Story_SNES_ScreenShot1.jpg

Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer: Traveller’s Tales

Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios

Release Date (NA): December 1995

Genre: Platformer

Nerd Rating: 6 out of 10

Reviewed by Flagostomos

Movie spin-off games have and always will exist, and why wouldn’t they? It’s a good way to sell just a little extra merchandise along with the popular movie title. A lot of times the games are just okay. I have never played an AMAZING movie spin-off game, let’s be fair. But one game from my childhood stands out as a memorable title for the Super Nintendo.

Gameplay

Toy Story is a platformer, which makes sense as possibly the only viable option for a game based off the movie. I mean, the movie itself has a lot of awesome platforming action, so the transition wasn’t a long stretch. The game handles as well as any platformer can, introducing a few new mechanics that add variety to the gameplay.

toy story snes 2Woody uses to his advantage a “rope”, which is interesting that they took such a minor plot item and created an entire game mechanic out of it. But check this, Woody doesn’t use an actual rope as a lasso, it’s actually his pull string that activates his voice box. I am SO grateful that the developers didn’t decide to have him say something every time you use the lasso. That would have been annoying. However, this does add the element of being able to lasso enemies, swing on hooks, and even use it to juggle Buzz Lightyear. Is it ground breaking? No. But it is an interesting mechanic that hadn’t been seen much in platformers of its time.

There are the regular levels, which have Woody completing objectives, such as rounding up all the toys when Andy is coming back, to just simply going from the left side of the screen to the right. There are also a few other interesting levels that make an appearance. My favorite one of these is a fast paced “on rails” run on top of Rex when all the toys go berserk on Woody. It’s actually challenging and fun. But before that gets introduced, you had just barely completed an “RC car” level. Let me tell you, that level is killer. The controls are horribly disgusting, and the game gives you just barely enough time to complete it, meaning when you make a mistake (which you will due to crappy controls) you have to restart over. Oh, and did I mention that the game makes you start all over when you get a Game Over? Which you will, due to crappy controls for the car.

There’s also an interesting take on the pseudo first person element that was used in many games of the time. Fester’s Quest for the NES, Jurassic Park for the SNES, and probably other games I am not aware of all did this. You go into a situation where you appear to be looking through the eyes of Woody. This particular instance it’s executed about as properly as it was in Jurassic Park, however the level design makes that one particular course where it’s used very difficult.

toy story snes

There’s also a level where you take on Buzz and have to use his “karate chop” (fan service) to advance through hordes of bad guys. It’s okay, a little too challenging for its own good, but it gets the job done. And then my personal favorite level, the last one, where you get to fly as Buzz in pursuit of Andy.

All in all, Toy Story takes the platforming genre and adds in a few cool tricks to make for a decent overall gaming experience.

Story

Toy Story follows a modified version of the movie’s plot. The overall story arch is there, but there wasn’t enough to work with for a complete game, so some of the areas had to have elements thrown in to add more variety. For example, Pizza Planet was a major plot line in the movie, but it didn’t have much action. In the game however, there are at least 3 levels dedicated to Pizza Planet, and one boss fight. One of those levels plays entirely on the 15 second scene where Buzz and Woody use trash to sneak into Pizza Planet, which is actually a pretty fun level.

The extra story elements round out the game fairly well, and it feels like a complete game without adding too much to the movie.

Controls

The controls for the platforming, Rex Racing, first person perspective level, and flying as Buzz at the end are fine. There are no major hiccups. You jump with B, use A to lasso, and the running is at a fixed pace using the D-Pad. The levels with Rex automatically scroll, but you can move around to dodge enemies and jump to get away. There’s a level where Sid burns Woody with a magnifying glass, and even in his hectic running Woody still controls okay.

But the one thing I cannot live down is the horrible RC car levels. I don’t even know why they are so bad. I think they designed it around the circular wheel that is obviously used in the movie’s remote control, but it just doesn’t transition to the D-Pad very well at all. I don’t even know how they could fix it, I just know that it’s bad. You will too if you play this game.

The bane of my existence.

The bane of my existence.

Graphics/Audio

The graphics are pretty good for the time. All of Andy’s toys look like the movie counterparts, though not as eye-candy as they appear in the movie. The animations are pretty good too, and you can tell that they thought out even something as simple as the planes flying around Andy’s room. The graphical elements that stand out to me though, have to do with the gimmicks of the game.

For example, in the course where Sid burns Woody, the little burning effect with the hand and magnifying glass look great, and the little sizzle sound effect makes you think that inside the little gray box, a poor toy cowboy is being burned. The pseudo 3D levels look decent, but one of my favorite looks is the level where you’re in the claw game, and are using toy Aliens to save Buzz.

Tunes from the movie make appearances, with other generic video game music being used for the levels as well. The music does a good job at setting the pace of the game. It’s no Mario score, but it does the job. As far as sound effects go, Woody’s little gripes he makes when he gets hit kind of sound like Tom Hanks, I guess. Maybe they are movie snippets? I don’t know, but that’s kinda cool.

Replayability

There’s no extras or unlockables, just the straight up main adventure, so there’s no real reason to go back and play Toy_Story_SNES_ScreenShot4Toy Story if you can finally beat it. That’s the caveat here: this game is so dang difficult that it will probably require multiple playthroughs just to beat it. Once you get a Game Over that’s it, you have to start all over again. But you will get multiple game overs. You will get so many game overs, you begin to wonder if the game is really beatable. Lives are scarce, so savor every one you find. You will waste probably 2 or 3 just on the RC levels, when you can finally do them with no big issue.

Gameplay: 8
Story: 7
Controls: 8 for the main game, 2 for the car
Graphics/Audio: 7
Replayability: In terms of actually wanting to? 5
Overall: 7

When we get right down to it, Toy Story is just an okay game. I treasure memories of playing this with my Dad, and he still does the “Hellooooo” sound effect from the 3D level from time to time. And being that Toy Story is one of my favorite childhood movies of all time, I think this game deserves its spot on the shelf.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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