Tony Tough and the Night of Roasted Moths
Review by Old
Mr. Peepers Solves a Crime
Perhaps your parents or even grandparents may remember an old black-and-white
T.V. show entitled Mr. Peepers, staring Wally Cox. Peepers
was a nerdy little guy, with a squeaky voice, large glasses, and
generally reticent demeanor. He did, however, on occasion, thrust
himself into problem-solving situations and take on a brave persona,
particularly when someone he loved was threatened. If we cast for
someone to play Tony Tough, it would be Mr. Peepers.
Let's set up the game premise, from the box notes: "Tony is
a seasoned private eye for Wallen & Wallen Investigations, on
the beat for ten years. Now, Tony has the case of a lifetime, a
job for which he just may risk his neck. He must nab the swollen-headed
psychopath who is stealing candy from the children, and who may
very well have kidnapped Pantagruel, Tony's very devoted and oddly
The Sun May Not Come up Tomorrow
Of course, Tony's adventure moves far beyond the rescue of his
"dog" (a tapir, actually). This "Sherlock Gnome"
of detectives finds the entire planet in jeopardy on, of all nights,
Halloween! Through 61 nonlinear levels and encounters with 45 really
weird characters, our hero weaves his way through the occupants,
rides and attractions of the most bizarre amusement park you've
ever experienced. As Tony says: "It's going to be a long, dark
In terms of gameplay mechanics, Tony Tough is rather retro: 2D
point-and-click, third-person movement, mouse-managed. After a painless
150 MB (recommended) installation, we are presented with a
somewhat esoteric, initially peculiar, interface that, eventually,
becomes comfortable. There are some occasional delays accessing
voices, but moving between scenes is very quick and smooth. The
positioning of your mouse may reveal a person or object with which
interaction can occur. A right click brings up the options of examine,
use, take, or talk. Your readily accessible inventory pops up from
bottom of the screen when called upon and holds sufficient slots
for your problem-solving. There are a total of 95 available save
slots; as well, an automatic save game kicks in each time a scene
is changed. Onscreen text can be displayed, or not, and some traditional
adjustments can be made to graphics, sound, voices and music.
"A Good Wig Is the First Step on the Road to Success"
Our adventure primarily is about solving puzzles. Ranging from
the obvious to mind-boggling, Tony gathers clues from conversations
and recoverable items that lead him further into the machinations
of the evil Swollen-Headed Psychopath.
At first glance, the graphics and character movements appear dated,
although certainly vivid and colorful. However, as with all great
games, the lack of 3D and a resolution beyond 640x480 become secondary
to the play, scripting and acting. Clearly, this creation of a small
Italian developer, Prograph Research, placed its emphasis on content.
Rather than make or lease a 3D engine, Prograph realized that adventurers
were more interested in substance than style. They put their energy,
time and money into play that pleases the mind. Of course, our hats
need to be raised to Got Game Entertainment, as well, for the wonderful
"Englishification" of Tony Tough.
"I Have Some Problems Imagining What a Stuffed Tail Could
Be Used For" Tony
Without giving too much away, let's just say that the entire game
takes place in the huge, weird and colorful amusement park, generally
trying to solve problems for the fortune teller to help resolve
your overall situation. There are some hints, such as the obvious
one above, but one of the critical options, and one that actually
modified my rating for the game, is the choice of "Baby"
or "Adult" Tony (beginner or advanced). Unless you're
a MENSA member or masochistic, choose "Baby" level! The
difference between the two is like a contrast between high school
and a graduate program. The puzzles at the "Adult" level
can become so absurd and illogical, especially well into the game,
that a walkthrough virtually is required. Whereas, at the "Baby"
level, you can have the fun of character interaction, colorful settings
and reasonable puzzles, without pulling out your remaining hairs
in frustration. I've played the game both ways, and I strongly recommend
at least playing the first time through with the easier setting.
Finally, Tony, thank goodness, has a map ("notebook")
that evolves as he visits various places, which allows for rapid
movement between locations. Given the large number of carnival attractions
and the nonlinearity of the game, this is a critical addition, although
it would have been more useful if it had been complete at the beginning
instead of evolving along the path of the adventure.
"He's Known for the Uncommon Ability to Salivate"
Spitting, drooling, and various other avenues of expectoration
seem common to the carnival characters. Perhaps it's an Italian
thing. A green blob expands in and out of the nose of a sleeping
boy. A parrot and other characters spit when they talk (it was kind
of like being at one of my senior citizen lunches!). Indeed, even
a sea captain on a stationary ship spends most of his time vomiting
over the side! Visual humor abounds, sometimes in a fashion to make
you groan, but often in a way that makes you laugh out loud.
The script and related fine acting also will bring frequent amusement.
Examples abound, but one that springs to mind is when a bearded
lady tells Tony: "They all said I had my mother's smile."
Tony's voice can be a bit grating, but his character, along with
the others, is obviously professionally acted.
This is a game for lovers of Stupid
Invaders, Toonstruck, Discworld 2 and, obviously,
Sam and Max. It has neither the seriously grim logic of The
Watchmaker nor the procedural detecting of Law
& Order. What it does have is a fantastic blend
of earthy humor, bizarre settings, rich graphics and ingenious puzzles.
It may be a game for fans of the genre, or even subgenre, but it's
almost unique in today's market and certainly one of the best ever
of its type.
"Now That the Last Traces of My Dignity Are Abandoning
Can you cast aside your stuffiness for a little while? Are you
able to let yourself go gameplaywise? Does verbal and visual slapstick
European humor make you feel silly all over? Do you worry about
the dire implications of a psychopath stealing candy? If your answer
to any or all of the above is "yes," than I highly recommend
Night of Roasted Moths as a wonderful way to spend 30+ hours
in one of the most strange, inventive, comical and memorable settings
I've ever experienced. Let's hope Tony Tough, having been so successful
saving the world, gets another case!
Release Date: November 2002
Four Fat Chicks Links
P200 (PII recommended)
32 MB RAM (64 MB recommended)
300 KB free hard disk space (150 MB recommended)
Where to Find It
Game Entertainment 29.99
Prices/links current as of 11/24/02
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