and the Night of the Roasted Moths
Release date Italian version: 1999
Release date US-version: 11/2002
Developer: Nayma Software / PROtonic (today Prograph Research)
Publisher Italian version: Prograph Research
Publisher US-version: GotGame Entertainment
Game language: English
ESRB: Teen (comic mischief, mild violence, suggestive themes)
A review by slydos 17th December 2002
"Tony Tough and the Night of the Roasted Moths" was already finished by its Italian developers 1999 and marketed in Italy. PROtonic, who are called today Prograph Research, had actually planned the 2D point&click adventure for a larger international market - an extensive English demo version is existing for years - but since most publishers link the success of games to graphic criteria as 3D or absolutely necessary new soft- and hardware, the fans again had to wait years, until a publisher was found in GotGames Entertainment (The Watchmaker), who knows, that the standards in adventure games, particularly cartoon adventures, must be applied to other characteristics, to please the gamers.
Story, jokes and puzzles made Sam & Max and Leisure Suit Larry classic and exactly there "Tony Tough" also sets its emphasis.
Since "Tony Tough" pursues his job as a private detective with Wallen & Wallen, he gets a bizarre thief in his sight, who robs sweets from children, particularly at Halloween. For Tony Tough this theft is however only the tip of the iceberg: "Today sweets, the whole world tomorrow!" is his conviction. For him an alien invasion is behind that all, what's already apparent in the X-Files-like features in his office. Here we become also acquainted with Pantagruel, Tony's companion. Our hero always calls Pantagruel "dog", although it's actually a pink tapir. This also sweet-indulging little animal is kidnapped at Halloween and that lures Tony into the Halloween amusement park. We spend our time in the park to look for Pantagruel with the small private eye - if we could find the solution of the theft-cases and find the one who might be behind it, the end will show.
"Tony Tough" comes on 1 CD as well as an English manual in the now usual mini box with flap-cover. During the automatic installation one can select between normal (150 MB) and minimum (300 KB), whereby there are sound delays with both later.
Once at the beginning you can select the difficulty level - an important decision, since the game surely has some cunning puzzles already in the easy mode and is no game for beginners, the level "hard" can only be recommended to experienced, advanced players.
During the intro we observe an episode in Tony's life at Halloween 30 years ago. Tony, already at that time as a child equipped with giant eyeglass, sits on the window ledge and reads a book. He's attacked by the neighbour boy with a slingshot. The malicious aggressor becomes victim of his doing himself by the feather of a likewise shot bird, which causes the fall of a pumpkin hanging over the front door on his head.
Again one Halloween evening, 30 years later, Tony Tough welcomes us in his office at Wallen & Wallen, for whom he is now working 10 years already - mainly busy with his slightly paranoid search for the candy thief and the alien invasion. Today is the day, on which "Spooky", how he is called among his colleagues, expects a profound break-through. At this point the gamers can take over.
"Tony Tough" is a 3rd-person-adventure exclusively mouse controlled. We move Tony with a left-click. In places, where a yellow, fluttering duck appears, Tony can enter another scene.
All interactive objects are identified by their name, which appear always well visible and in large letters, if one drives the animated cursor over a hotspot. If one clicks on one of this hotspots with the right mouse button, an object menu in form of a medallion opens, showing pictures of Tony and Pantagruel. If you keep the mouse button pressed and drag it over Tony's eyeglasses, you can look at an object, Tony's pistol stands for "examining" or "manipulating", Pantagruel's hands for "taking" and its face for "speaking". With his tie Tony can introduce himself. With each action one receives detailed spoken and written comments from Tony. Dialogues with other characters use the multiple-choice-procedure, whereby a question/answer-list opens from below covering approx. 1/3 of the screen.
The inventory (depending upon your selection in the options menu placed at the bottom or top of the screen) opens with a right-click. Here again you get an additional object menu with a further right-click, similar to the described medallion. Here you can "Examine", "Use" and "Talk". Inventory objects are selected with a left-click, and you can then apply them to a hotspot or another inventory item. Unfortunately the selected object disappears each time after one-off use and must always be selected again and again, which is rather laborious with the large number of objects, which must be scrolled in addition if more than 8.
One reaches the main menu with the ESC-key or a click on the upper left corner of the screen. Here is also a link to the options menu beside "Load", "Credits" and "New Game". The options menu is divided into 3 different sections. All functions are represented without describing texts, what nevertheless urges to look up their functioning in the manual. One can e.g. adjust the text and character speed and the volume of music, sound and speech, switch on and off sub-titles and anti-aliasing, determine the position of the inventory at the screen and some more.
In the option menu one can also save and load. There are 95 scrollable save slots, in each case with a picture of the current scene and a text input by the player. In addition there is an autosave function, which works each time, Tony changes to another scene.
As soon as Tony is in the amusement park, his notepad is added to the inventory. He automatically uses it to draw all new locations, so locations can be reached faster. Tony himself cannot be moved faster in the game. The controls are relatively easy to use, but from time to time an inadvertent mistake occurs with the actions "Talk" and "Take", which are too close together in the object menu. The drawing in the notepad not completely corresponds to the actual ways. The option menu is quite complex and its functions should better be reread in the manual. Calling the menus, saving and loading is fast and easy and also starting and exiting the game is absolutely unproblematic. Interactive areas are very clear designed, so that there are very few "pixel hunt"-situations.
In the "easy" mode several puzzles are already solved and some objects of the "hard" mode not available or rather easy to discover. Our search for the pink tapir deals almost exclusively with object/inventory-based puzzles supplemented by some dialogue puzzles. The absurd-bizarre story requires a just as unorthodox approach to the solution. While at the beginning the puzzles are kind of logic within the story, in the further process rather the mad is normal. For example Tony must procure coffee for a recipe. Tony uses a mixture of water and the waste water of a toilet as coffee replacement! - and the whole thing even functions - well.
Logic is missing to me also with the following: use doll with dress doesn't work, while use dress with doll is correct! But where neither logic, nor luck nor "try and error" succeeds, even advanced gamers will have to fall back to a walkthrough. This happened to me 3-4 times and I am sure that trying out all possibilities would result in a playing time of more than 40 hours ("hard" mode). In addition there are one or two puzzles, which are called bonus level. They have nothing to do with the game process and are thus rather tricky-funny extras.
Despite the quite high difficulty level the puzzles make great fun, because of Tony's and the other 45 character's funny comments, and of course through the bizarre puzzle design itself. For players, whose native language is not English, an understanding problem is possible with the mass of texts, since Tony often expresses in technical terms and other rare English words.
Not only the comments, but also the dialogues are often extremely long and partly deal with topics, which do not have to do much with the actual story. Of course one can continue fast by right-click and also even don't need to try out all text choices. However a puzzle solution can emerge in a later dialogue part, so that one must endure everything nevertheless. In this respect I particularly think of of the well-read beast behind bars, who recites incredibly long poems and thereafter still wants to discuss them!
The game is to a large extent nonlinear within individual locations (office building, park, castle), so that you have the freedom to visit nearly all locations and speak with many other characters. There is always something new to discover and the frustration factor is extremely small, despite the degree of difficulty, for a very long play phase.
The graphics in 2D-comic style of course don't come near the current top game in this respect - Runaway - , but are colorfully painted and correspond to the funny-mad story.
We find 61 individual scenes - called levels by the publisher - among them Tony's office and the cellar of the office building, a ferris wheel in the amusement park, a pizza hat, a fortune-teller, an alien exhibition in a rocket (with a "Purple Tentacle" in a showcase), the tent of the Bearded Lady, a pirate tavern, the Love Tunnel and many more.
These scenes are populated by 45 scurrile characters, with which our likewise scurrile hero can interact to a large extend.
Different quiet and unobstrusive music themes accompany Tony during his task. Nothing remarkable, nothing disturbing. The sounds like occasional rumbling in the castle or crackle of the fire, splashing of water or dog barking fits the overall view. The dubbing of the bizarre characters succeeded quite well. With Tony's voice I had the impression at the beginning that it could possibly be a somewhat deep female voice, what would'nt be mismatching, since the 40 years old private eye definitely stopped growing physically at a certain age. His representation as hypochondric mama's boy, who didn't free himself until the age of 30 of his family, prevents a too strong identification reflex.
His weapon is his tongue, because he really has a more or less precotious or cynical comments about everything.
The texts - like actually the whole game - are not really addressed to younger gamers, although there is only slight violence (against animals!) or sexual allusions. It's simply the fact, that adults will understand the sarcasm and ironical allusions rather then the kids, apart from the fact that one should as German gamer have good English knowledge and as an adult rather the perseverance to master the large text portion. With this quantity of text naturally some jokes miss their target, nevertheless, Tony Tough can confidently follow into the footprints of Sam & Max or Day the Tentacle.
"Tony Tough" is a further example for the fact that the point&click adventure does not need 3D-environments, in order to capture the players. For me it was a challenging game and I can only recommend it to all connoisseurs of classic comic adventures, who like to be occupied 35 to 40 hours with tricky puzzles. Fortunately there is the "easy" mode for all others, so that the crazy humor and the funny ideas of Tony Tough become accessible also to a larger fan community without desperately grasping a walkthrough! Since good English knowledge is a condition to feel also very well entertained by "Tony Tough" one can only hope that the game finds a German publisher, realizing a good localization as GotGame Entertainment did for the American market.
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- Windows 9x/2000/ME/XP
- Pentium 200 Mhz
- 32 MB RAM
- DirectX 6.0 or higher
- DirectX-compatible sound card
- 8x CDROM-drive
- 300 KB free hard disk space
- Mouse, keyboard
- Windows XP
- P IV 1,6 GHz
- 512 MB RAM
- 16x DVD-ROM (Artec WRA-A40)
- nVidia GeForce 2MX400 64 MB graphic card
- Sound card DirectX-compatible
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