reviews\ Nov 16, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Tony Tough and the Night of the Roasted Moths - PC - Review

Normally, when anyone goes out looking for a game these days, it revolves around action, sports, puzzles, or simulations. Major action and high speeds have become pretty much the norm, and I was pleasantly surprised by what Tony Tough had to offer in a fast paced gameplay world where it’s easy to forget how to slow down and enjoy your surroundings periodically. Remember playing games on the old Commodores and IBM PS2’s where you had to find an assortment of items and use them for something else later on amongst a world of still backgrounds? Read on …


The story to Tony Tough revolves around the 30 year old, nasally voiced little guy of the same name who has left home at 30 to pursue a detective career in the Wallen and Wallen detective agency. Over the past ten years, he has developed a record of completely absurd and ridiculous hypotheses revolving around an alien conspiracy and a connection to thievery of the local kids’ candy each and every year on Halloween. Well, Halloween has once again rolled around, so the bandit is on the loose again … but to make matters worse, Tony’s best (and only) friend Pantagruel the Tapir has been kidnapped. It’s up to Tony to crack the case of the candy thief and get his Tapir back.


Tony Tough is a puzzle solving, scavenger hunt set up in which you guide the little detective through a multitude of 2-D still backgrounds finding items, interacting with characters, and solving puzzles to get to the next area or getting himself out of a sticky situation. If you’ve ever played games like “Stupid Invaders” on the Dreamcast, you’ll know what I mean. To be a little more specific, each area that Tony goes into will have a variety of things that can be clicked on … such as a grate, a person, a door and a wig for example. You can select to either take, talk to, use, or examine each interactive object, and Tony will let you know if you are on the right track by either doing what you think he should do, or making some smart alek remark at you for asking him to do it. Select talk to the person, and he will have a conversation which may be ridiculous or have a clue in it somewhere to lead you to the next puzzle or item. Tell him to use the person, and he might say “Only if my attorney is present”. Basically, imagine that you are reading a detective novel and guiding the detective through the book itself and essentially are writing the story as you go. That’s about the best way I can think to put it.


The main attraction to Tony Tough is the humor and atmosphere. This game was very well written and the voiceovers are fantastic. The characters are zany and you never really know what the person you are talking to may say or do. I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions at various encounters, like a parrot who tells blonde and condom jokes and a private eye who scratches his crotch constantly. These are only two of the over 45 that you will run into, and each one has its own unique personality and weird (and sometimes irrelevant) things to say or talk about. Tony himself is a treasure chest of insults and one-liners himself … and some of his funny and off the wall comments will get you snickering even though the comment was directed at you and your intelligence … or lack thereof.


The overall stages and the game itself are set in a somewhat “Tim Burton” style kind of world, filled with some odd looking folks and attractions all under a dark night sky. Everything has a cartoon kind of look to it, and everything is very brightly colored and the backgrounds look like comic book art. The only downfall to this is that the 2-D environments can sometimes hide small clues that become necessary later on, so it becomes very important to check everything on a screen before moving to the next one.


The only two things that I can say take away from Tony Tough overall would be the difficulty and style of game overall. The game is a search and find, and some of the puzzles or item uses can get downright frustrating at times trying to figure out what in the world you are supposed to do with what. A little persistence and trying a multitude of things out can many times lead to the solution, but the style of game itself may not permit some gamers to do that. Due to the fact that there are no big explosions or high speed action, this may not appeal to a lot of folks in the younger or death match gaming modes, and it may not get the time nor patience that it deserves from some folks. On a flipside, the hilarious and sometimes borderline adult humor and jokes may also compel many people to carry on, just to see what happens next.


Overall, I definitely applaud Got Game entertainment for taking a chance and putting a game out that doesn’t go along with the normal, everyday high-speed style that we’ve all kind of grown accustomed to. If you are a fan of puzzle games or enjoy detective search and find style games, like Police Quest from back in the 80’s, this will be a welcome addition to your library. If you are more of an action buff or tend to get frustrated easily when stuck in an RPG or other game title, you will want to be cautious about the purchase and make sure to keep the receipt. Well, have fun GZ readers … I’m off to look for my Tapir.    


Gameplay: 7.9
Everything in this game uses the left and right mouse button, so it’s easy to get into and play from the get go. The game itself is a scavenger hunt and puzzle solver set among still backgrounds and character interaction, which may not appeal to everyone these days. In addition, the backgrounds can hide some needed items or clues at times, which can lead to a lot of backtracking or getting stuck. 


Graphics: 8.1
Very brightly colored and well done backgrounds are found throughout the game, and the characters themselves were done well. I did have some slowdown here and there only on a couple of areas, but nothing that took away from the game or frustrated me while playing.


Sound: 8.5
The voiceovers are great, and this game plays out like a big, dark comedy movie. The sense of humor is well done, and the story and interactions were well written. Some of the comments will get a groan or not be that amusing, while some will have you laughing out loud and telling a friend. The music is very Danny Elfman, and has that same “Nightmare before Christmas” kind of feeling to it.


Difficulty: Hard
There are two different difficulty settings, but the game is challenging either way you want to play it. A lot of times you may have to use multiple combinations and mixes of items and areas in order to figure out a piece of the mystery.


Concept: 8.2
It is a real welcome thing to not see another FPS clone or 3rd person action adventure that’s been done 100 times before. This one may not be for everyone, but it is definitely unique and can be a lot of fun and laughs.


Overall: 8.0
Tony Tough is a fun game that may get passed over or may take a backseat to an Unreal Championship or something, but to pass it off because it’s not as fast paced would be a mistake. It’s a funny, quirky little game that many will and some may or may not enjoy. My suggestion? Give it a shot; you never know … it may make a fan out of you. If you are more into the modern style, just keep the receipt and make sure it can be returned.  


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