Atari Lynx Review: Toki on Lynx Lounge
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By Brian Thomas Barnhart |
Hey, what’s up everybody? I’m your host, BTB, and welcome back to another episode of Lynx Lounge! Now I woke up this morning, had a little cup of coffee – excuse me, mmm that’s good… and I said to myself “I want to play a side-scrolling adventure! I want to play a run-and-gun type game. But I want to make sure it’s an actual arcade game, not something made up. I want an arcade, run-and-gun, platform game. What do I play?”
Well, there’s only one game that you can play on the Atari Lynx, and that is Toki. That’s right, Toki! Let’s take a look at Toki right now:
“The wicked Vookimedlo has kidnapped the beautiful Princess Miho and hidden her within his evil palace! He plans to marry her in three days. Only the mighty warrior Toki can save Princess Miho from a fate worse than death. But the wicked Vookimedlo turned Toki into an ape! Toki must rescue the princess if the realm is to survive in peace. But Toki must also defeat the evil wizard king if he ever hopes to become man again.”
– Atari Lynx Toki Manual
In Toki you play this really buff guy that got his girlfriend stolen by this wizard. But the wizard turns you into a monkey, and you’ve got to rescue her, and kill the wizard. I mean, that’s classic drama right there, right?
Well, what can I say about this game? Other than it is just really beautiful to look at. And you know what? It’s weird. Honestly, it’s a weird game, and that’s a good thing. It’s just sort of bizarre. The characters are bizarre-looking. The bad guys are bizarre. The whole concept of it is just a weird game! But it’s just so fun, I love playing Toki.
Freak-Out Mode: At continue screen wait for 1st beep, then press Up + Option 1 when “9” appears. Continue to hold buttons at “Game Over” and demo screens. Cycling colors and new song will begin. D-Pad will play game sounds.
A lot of the complaints about this game are that it’s a slower type game. However, I think it’s paced perfectly, I really love it. Because you know what it boils down to? It boils down to great controls. This game really feels like you have absolute control of this little monkey. And you know what else do you need, other than for it to shoot fireballs, and it certainly does that.
The music on this game is really wonderful. It just sounds so great. I just can’t say enough good things about the music that you hear on Atari Lynx, because – it’s true – it sounds awesome.
Not only do you have to face a boss at the end of each level, but you also have to face mid-bosses along the way. This is one of those games where you could really get into it. You get a really solid groove going, you’re beating the bosses, you’re getting farther and farther, and then all of a sudden you could go from five men to zero men real quick.
“The hit detection is a little on the chintzy side. I feel like maybe there are certain times where I should have passed that fireball if I ducked, and I still ended up getting hit. Like Bruce Hornsby says, you know that’s just the way it is.”
– Brian Thomas Barnhart
Hey, remember this is an arcade game… And what was the main goal of arcade games back in the day? To take your quarters. Luckily, I don’t need quarters when I’m playing on my Atari Lynx. In fact, I could take this bad boy to go. The graphics look amazing on this game. Toki is a beautiful looking game. There’s so much stuff going on. It scrolls really well, it controls really well. What more can you ask for? Boom.
Although the final Atari 7800 had been released in 1991 and the system ceased production in 1992, Atari was quietly developing new games to be released in 1993. Unreleased 7800 games such as Electrocop had been demoed at CES in 1991 and have yet to be found.
New Atari 7800 games in development during 1993 include Pit Fighter (very early in development), Rampart (close to completion), Steel Talons (close to completion), Road Riot 4WD (completed), and Toki (nearly complete). Toki on the 7800 is a relatively faithful port and retains many elements from the arcade and Atari Lynx versions. It’s a shame Toki and these other games weren’t released for the 7800, although it’s odd that new games were in development for the 7800 as late as 1993, with the Jaguar being released later that year.
“It’s absolutely mind-blowing that Toki was going to be released for the 7800 in 1993. I was already retro-collecting for the Atari 7800 in 1993. Games were so hard to find, I was buying directly from Atari. Lynx was still at Toys R Us and Jaguar was about to be released. It’s unthinkable that Atari came so close to giving us new 7800 titles so late. I would’ve been thrilled.”
I always loved Toki growing up. It’s always been such a weird concept to control this, you know.. monkey that shoots fireballs.. but this game in particular I remember very, very well. I have very fond memories of Toki because this was one of those roadtrip games. My grandparents at the time had just bought an RV, and they were kind of driving all over the place. We would travel with them and would visit places like Calico Ghost Town. On other trips we’d travel down to San Diego.
I’d always pack the Atari Lynx, and Toki was one of those games that I bought specifically for a road trip. I remember playing this game all the way to Calico Ghost Town, and I couldn’t wait to get back in that RV to play the game on the way back. Don’t get me wrong, the ghost town was cool and everything, but I mean.. come on, it’s Toki.
I never remember seeing Toki in the arcades, but that’s okay because I had it for my Lynx and that’s pretty much all I needed! So how is Toki? Is this a game that you should buy? Absolutely you should buy this game! If you see it out in the wild, pick it up. If you see it on eBay, try to search it out.
“Toki is bananas! It’s enough to make you go ape!”
– Atari Joe
Get Toki because Atari Lynx is very lacking on side-scrolling platformers. They do a really, really great job at arcade translations. Obviously, we’ve been going through this huge block of arcade translations here, and we are not even close to being finished. But Toki a side-scrolling platformer game which the Lynx does not really have. So you have to ask yourself, are you itching for a side-scrolling Mario-type game for Atari Lynx? Then your answer is YES, you should go get Toki! Trust me, that’s a BTB guarantee that you can take to the bank.
If you’re a fan of Lynx Lounge, check out 7800 Avenue where we play 2600 games and 7800 games. All in the name of Atari, because we love talking about this great American company that kind of started it all, and we love showing off these really fun two player games where you get to sit on the couch with a buddy, and play some great video games. So check out 7800 Avenue! And if you are interested in reviews for the Atari Jaguar (some of you don’t even know what that is) check out The Jag Bar where we play Atari Jaguar games. Hey, have a great weekend, enjoy Toki, enjoy your Atari Lynx, and remember to take it to go, that’s what it’s made for! Thanks again for joining us today on this deep dive into Toki. All right, talk to you later!
TOKI was released to arcades in 1989 and ported to the Atari Lynx by D. Scott Williamson, Robb Mariani, Bob Angel, and Matt Scott at Atari in 1992. Toki Copyright 1989 Tao Corporation, licensed by Fabtek, Inc. Licensed to Atari Corporation.
Brian Thomas Barnhart is a classic gaming aficionado, retro pop culture connoisseur, and a Senior Fellow at Atari I/O. He is host of The Jag Bar, Lynx Lounge, 7800 Avenue, and the Atari I/O After Hours Podcast. Brian is a Moderator in the Atari I/O Forums under the name btbfilms76. You can follow him on Instagram and at his YouTube channel.
model # PA2066
D. SCOTT WILLIAMSON
D. SCOTT WILLIAMSON