Posted in Retro Gaming

Toonstruck: Doing serious time

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1996’s Toonstruck. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

The more I play Toonstruck, the more I become deeply impressed with the skill and art that went into this adventure game. No corners got cut here; everything is simply superb. Now that Drew and Flux have entered the sinister Malevolands, I’m impressed all over again at how this nails the cartoony evil landscapes that we’ve seen on TV shows and the like. At least it’s not as sickeningly sweet as Cutopia!

Gotta say, I’ve seen many a prison in video games, and this one is not the worst by far. I don’t think it’s possible to exaggerate proportions or skew those windows any more than they are, but it’s certainly fun to look at, if not break into. Hope those two manage to stay on this side of the bars, though!

Had to open my big mouth, eh? Drew and Flux got nabbed by Nefarious’ nefarious henchmen three screens later, ending them in the slammer without their inventory. Flux freaks out, what with the prison sentence being obscenely long, and the only way to get out is by using some selective static electricity to short-circuit the door.

I am NOT too keen on the fact that the game makes me do this slidey puzzle thing to open a safe to get my inventory back, however. These kinds of puzzles should be taken out and shot… many, many times.

Count Nefarious’ takeover of Cutopia continues even as Drew and Flux scramble to build their machine. The Carecrow, moments after getting a new outfit, is turned into a horrifying version of his former self.

Back in the Malevolands, the duo encounter a cybernetic cliche — a Dalek-wannabe who talks like Christopher Walken. He’s like HK-47’s nerdy younger brother, all antagonistic and quick to suggest “death” to anything that crosses his path. He even drops a bit of a Terminator 2 reference, but his superior attitude is blown to smithereens when Drew gives him a book he can’t absorb. All this nets me a plunger, which I assume will save the day.

There’s very little logical progression in Toonstruck; it’s a lot of backtracking, trying to figure out which thread can be advanced on which screen. That had to be frustrating to a lot of folks trying to get through the game. Personally, I’d rather a few screens at a time with puzzles inside of them that had to be solved first before advancement.

The fish toilet room in Zanydu instantly became my new desktop wallpaper. It’s so “What The…” that it appeals to me greatly.

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