Toy Story (video game)
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Toy Story is a side-scrolling platform game released by Disney Interactive Studios in 1995 for the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, and Microsoft Windows. It is based on the film of the same name, and follows its plot. The game was followed by a sequel based on the second film, called Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue.
Players control Woody through several stages that encompass the entire plot of the film. Several obstacles lie between the player and the goal of each level, including an assortment of enemies. Woody is equipped with a pullstring whip, which will temporarily tie up opponents, letting Woody pass by unharmed. It cannot, however, kill enemies (with the lone exception of Nightmare Buzz, the only boss in the game to be permanently defeated through the whip). This whip can also latch onto certain hooks, letting Woody swing above perilous terrain.
The game occasionally changes genres for a stage. Players control R.C. in two stages: one in which Woody knocks Buzz out a window, the other in which they both race back to the moving truck. Both play largely the same; the game takes an overhead view of the level, giving the players basic acceleration, braking and steering, and tasking players with reaching the end of the stage while not running out of batteries (which drain constantly, but can be replenished by bumping them out of Buzz in the former stage, and merely finding them on the ground in the latter). Another stage is played from a first-person perspective as Woody searches through a maze to find alien squeaky toys lost inside the claw machine and return them to the play area, where the rest of the alien toys reside, all within a time limit.
The Sega Genesis version has 18 levels, while the Super NES and Microsoft Windows versions have 17. The Game Boy version is the shortest version of the game with 10 levels. The Genesis and Windows versions have an additional racing level named "Day-toy-na", absent from the other versions, in which Woody rides R.C. from the moving van to Buzz. The Windows version lacks "Really Inside the Claw Machine", the first-person maze level.
The game closely follows the plot of Toy Story, with a few minor differences.
It is the day of Andy's birthday party, and his toys are riled up about the possible newcomers and their potential replacement. In an effort to calm their nerves, Sheriff Woody sends a troop of green army men, along with a baby monitor, to report. The mission goes over smoothly; however, they receive an abrupt warning that Andy is returning to his room, sending everyone in a frenzy to return to their positions. Once things have settled down and Andy has left the room, the toys find a lone newcomer: Buzz Lightyear. They, except Woody, are impressed with him and his features, and Hamm decides that Woody and Buzz should have a race to settle their argument. Buzz wins the race, but Woody, still unfazed, challenges Buzz to fly around the room with his eyes closed, which Buzz does. Although Woody convinces himself that he is still Andy's favorite toy, he begins having nightmares about Buzz.
Jealous of all the attention Buzz has been getting, and wanting to be brought by Andy to Pizza Planet, Woody attempts to use R.C. to knock Buzz behind a cupboard, but accidentally knocks him out of a window, drawing the other toys' ire at him. Woody manages to escape from the angered toys with the help of Rex, who dislikes confrontations. Woody is chosen by Andy as the toy to go to Pizza Planet, but during a stop at the gas station, Buzz hops in the van and attacks Woody. Buzz is defeated when Woody traps him in a spare tire. However, Andy and his mother leave, without noticing their absence. Woody and Buzz hitch a ride on a Pizza Planet van to return to Andy. Once there, the two toys disguise themselves as litter and sneak into Pizza Planet, avoiding contact with humans. Buzz sneaks into a claw machine, mistaking it for a rocket to return to his home planet; Woody sneaks in the coin slot and works through the hazardous innards in pursuit. Woody is greeted by the squeaky toy aliens inside, who task him with saving some of their own, lost even deeper inside the machine. Woody is successful with the task and the aliens thank him. However, Sid Phillips, Andy's toy destroying neighbor, notices Buzz in the claw machine and tries to fetch him out. Woody delays Buzz's capture by launching the Aliens at the claw, but is unable to prevent it, and instead goes along with him to Sid's house.
Woody and Buzz try to escape from Sid's room, which is overrun with metal bugs and live firecrackers. Sid occasionally pops in to torture Woody by setting his head on fire, sending Woody dashing for a nearby bowl of cereal to douse it. Woody and Buzz have a run-in with Sid's collection of mutilated toys, keeping them back with Buzz's karate-chop action. Sid decides to destroy Buzz with a large rocket, and takes him away. To save him, Woody then befriends the toys, and riding on the back of Roller Bob, sneaks out into Sid's backyard, dodging various pieces of litter and Sid's dog, Scud. The toys attack Sid and save Buzz, but Andy's family moves out of their house without either toy. Woody manages to catch up to the moving truck, but Buzz falls behind. Woody finds R.C., hops on his back on the road, and drives back for Buzz. Securing him, they proceed to ride R.C. back to the truck. However, R.C. is too slow to get there, so Buzz and Woody light the rocket on Buzz's back, cutting it off once they gain enough airspeed and glide all the way back to the van of Andy's mother. The two toys have gotten over their differences over the course of this adventure, and go on to be good friends in Andy's new house.
Development and release
The Game Boy version was developed by Tiertex Design Studios, while the other versions were developed by Traveller's Tales. The Sega Genesis version of Toy Story was the lead version. The game features 3D-rendered graphics, and Pixar provided Traveller's Tales with the film's animations of Woody and Scud. The development team and Pixar initially had issues rendering the animations with correct lighting that would allow the development team to convert them for the game. Pixar provided final animations to the team only two weeks before the game was to be submitted to Sega for final approval. If the game didn't receive approval the first time, its release would have been delayed, failing to coincide with the theatrical release of the film. As a precaution, Traveller's Tales rendered their own animations of Woody in case Pixar could not provide them on time.
Jon Burton, the founder of Traveller's Tales, served as both the designer and programmer for the game. To pass Sega's strict approval process, Burton disguised game glitches as part of the game; instead of receiving an error message, game testers would be sent to a bonus minigame, which Burton said was part of the game. While the film had vibrant, vivid colors, the Genesis had only a limited array of colors. As a partial solution, Traveller's Tales utilized a special mode that provided access to additional shades of red, green, and blue. The Windows game features instrumental versions of two Randy Newman songs from the film.
The game was published by Disney Interactive. In the United States, the Genesis version was released in November 1995, coinciding with the film's release. The Super NES version followed shortly thereafter. The Game Boy version was released in May 1996 and the Windows version was released in 31 October 1996. In Europe, the Genesis version was released around Easter 1996,[a] while the Super NES version was released in June 1996.
|EP Daily||PC: 8/10|
|Game Informer||SMD: 8.75/10|
|M! Games||SMD: 62%|
|Mean Machines Sega||SMD: 92/100|
|Next Generation||SMD: |
|Nintendo Power||SNES: 14.3/20|
|PC Gamer (UK)||PC: 69%|
|PC Gamer (US)||PC: 27%|
|Super Play||SNES: 79%|
Eurogamer reported in 2018 of Toy Story garnering "millions of sales" upon release; according to Jon Burton, this changed other companies' business models to have games launch at the same time the film was released. According to Disney Interactive, the Super NES and Genesis versions were both "tremendous successes", though a Super NES chip shortage prevented them from producing as many copies of the Super NES version as they believed they could have sold.
Toy Story was received positively on the Genesis and SNES, while reception to the PC version was mixed. The game was praised for its impressive visuals, varied gameplay, and the PC version's enhanced soundtrack, but criticized for its poor controls and uneven difficulty, with some levels which reviewers found to be too frustratingly difficult, particularly for the young target audience. The visuals were best received on the Genesis version due to the game's 3D-rendered graphics, which had several precedents on the SNES and PC but were completely new to the Genesis. Critics were varied in their overall impressions; GamePro concluded that "despite the stunning graphics, Toy Story's uninspiring gameplay makes for merely fleeting fun", while Game Informer decreed the game "a humorous and fun adventure that will certainly entertain everyone in the whole family". Roger Burchill of Super Play wrote that while the Genesis version "marked a new high point" in graphics and gameplay, the Super NES version "can't help but be compared to Donkey Kong Country 2 and that's a comparison where it will lose every time".
Mark East of GameSpot praised the soundtrack of the Windows version but had several minor criticisms of the game, including keyboard control issues, delayed sound effects, and brief pauses that occur when the soundtrack restarts. Adam Douglas of PC Gamer considered it to be rushed, unoriginal, difficult, and frustrating, and concluded that the game failed to recapture "the magic of the film".
The Game Boy version received little coverage. A brief review in GamePro opined that it did not live up to the legacy of the film and previous versions of the game, citing "plodding and repetitive" gameplay, rudimentary graphics, and the inaccuracy of Woody's drawstring.
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Woody: O.K. everyone... Today is Andy's birthday and we need to find out what presents he is going to be given. / Rex: Andy's birthday is today? Quick! Send the Sergeant downstairs with his team of green army men to see if Andy has any new toys! / Woody: O.K. Sergeant, this is a Code Red! We need a recon post downstairs. Now how can I help? / Sarge: Sir! Remove the lid on the bucket of soldiers so my men can get out. Then find the baby monitor on the shelf and knock it down to my men below.
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Red Alert!.
Sarge: Come in, Mother Bird. This is Alpha Bravo. Andy's opened all his presents and there are no toys to replace us. ...Wait... Oh no! A surprise present! Andy's taking it upstairs. Look out!
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Ego Check.
Woody: Hey! Rex, Hamm, Potato Head... come and check out Andy's new toy... Hel-lo... are you Andy's new toy? / Buzz: Erm, no. I'm Buzz Lightyear, space ranger, universe protection unit. I'm stationed up in the gamma quadrant of sector 4. / Woody: What! You think you're a real space ranger!! Hey guys! Andy's new toy thinks he's got lasers and can fly! / Potato Head: Hey, you say he has a laser! How come you don't have a laser, Woody? / Woody: It's not a laser! It's, it's a little lightbulb that blinks! / Hamm: Gee Woody, sounds like laser-envy. Maybe we need a race to settle this!
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Nightmare Buzz.
Buzz: Well Woody, while you did keep up with me, you know I could fly around this room with my eyes closed! / Woody: Okay then, Mr. Lightyear! Prove it. / Buzz: All right, then, I will. Stand back everyone.... To infinity ... and beyond!! / Narration text: Buzz leaps off the bed... diving down, Buzz lands on a big rubber ball that bounces him back up and into a toy plane mobile which swings him around the room. Woody can't believe it as Buzz lets go of the mobile, sails through the air, and makes a perfect landing back on the bed. A crowd of Toys rush up to Buzz, cheering loudly. / Rex: Wow, Buzz! / Buzz: Thank you, thank you all! / Woody: Aww! Now all the toys think Buzz can fly! Hmm. Well, in a couple of days everything will be just the way it was. They'll see. In the morning I'll still be Andy's favorite toy. What I should do now is stop worrying about Buzz and just get some sleep...
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: A Buzz Clip.
Narration text: The days pass and Woody finds he is no longer Andy's favorite toy. As the last boxes are packed so the family can move to a new home... Woody watches Andy playing with Buzz. / Andy's mom: Dinner at Pizza Planet? And bring a toy! / Woody: Bring a toy! Andy will take Buzz unless... unless I can hide him behind the cupboard so Andy has to take me instead!! / Narration text: Woody picks up RC Car's remote control and starts up RC... / Woody: Now, if I can just bump the car into Buzz...
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Revenge of the Toys.
Narration text: While trying to knock Buzz behind the cupboard, Woody sends him out the window by mistake! The other toys rush to help... but there's no sign of Buzz. / Potato Head: Maybe Woody knocked off Buzz because he was jealous of him. / Rex: Woody! The toys are really mad at you for what you've done to Buzz! Personally, I don't know, but I hate confrontations! Oh, I'm so upset, I don't even know where I'm going! If you can just help me get out of the bedroom, I promise I will do the same for you should you ever need me!
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Buzz Battle.
Narration text: Andy, unable to find Buzz, takes Woody with him as his mother starts the car. Next stop: Pizza Planet!! But as the car drives away, Buzz appears and grabs the bumper, eager to settle the score with Woody for knocking him out the window. / Woody: Buzz! I'm so glad you're alright! / Buzz: You know, Sheriff, we don't practice revenge on my planet... but we're not on my planet, are we? / Narration text: Buzz swings at Woody and when the car stops for gas, they tumble out unseen.
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Food and Drink.
Narration text: Buzz and Woody finish just in time to see Andy and his mother driving off! / Woody: I'm a lost toy! / Narration text: But then, just when all seemed lost, a truck arrived that could take them to Pizza Planet! Quickly, they hopped on board. Woody and Buzz arrive at Pizza Planet, but find the entrance closely watched! How can we get inside, wonders Buzz, until he spots Woody with a Mega Gulp cup on his head.
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Inside the Claw Machine.
Narration text: While Woody looks for Andy, Buzz spots a claw machine. He mistakes it for a spaceship that can take him back to sector 4 and jumps into it! Woody, knowing he can't face the other toys without Buzz, drives into the machine after him.
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Really Inside the Claw Machine.
Alien: If you will help save our friends who are trapped inside the machine we will reward you by taking you to see... the claw!
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: The Claw!.
Alien: Thank you, stranger. For your help, we will take you to the claw! It decides who will go and who will stay. Shhhhh. The claw moves! / Narration text: In horror, Woody sees Sid, a kid who's cruel to all his toys, controls the claws... and he plans on getting Buzz!
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Sid's Workbench.
Narration text: Sid uses the claw to pick up Buzz. Woody, trying to keep Buzz from being taken, grabs Buzz's legs and before he can let go, is lifted up into the air as well. Smiling, Sid moves both toys towards the prize chute. / Sid: All right! Double prizes! A Buzz Lightyear and a stupid cowboy doll all for a few measly quarters! Hahahaha! / Narration text: Sid stuffs his new toys deep into his backpack and, with a second evil laugh heads home to... play.
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Sid's Workbench.
Narration text: Sid closes the door to his bedroom and pulls Woody out of his backpack. Lifting up a large magnifying glass to catch the sun, Sid trains the spot of hot light on Woody's forehead...
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Roller Bob.
Narration text: With an evil laugh, Sid picks up Buzz and straps a large rocket to his back. / Sid: Houston: We are go for launch! / Narration text: Laughing, Sid takes Buzz outside. Woody, with little time to save Buzz, calls out to the mutant toys... / Woody: Look, there's a good toy out there... and he needs your help... please. / Narration text: The toys will help, but to get to Buzz they'll have to face Scud, Sid's dog.
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Day-Toy-Na.
Narration text: The toys save Buzz by showing Sid they are really alive, which scares Sid so bad he vows never to hurt toys again! The toys celebrate until Woody sees a truck leaving Andy's house next door. / Woody: Buzz! Andy's moving without us! / Narration text: Woody is just able to grab hold of a strap, hanging off the back of the fast moving truck... but Buzz is left behind! I know, Woody thinks, I can use RC to go back and find Buzz!
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Rocket Man.
Woody: It's no good ... RC isn't fast enough to keep up with the truck! We need to go even quicker... / Buzz: OK.. Let's light the rocket on my back to boost us after the truck! Hold on tight... here we go...
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Ending cutscene.
Andy: Woody! Buzz! They were right here in this box!
- Traveller's Tales (November 1995). Toy Story. Disney Interactive. Level/area: Ending cutscene.
Woody: What we found, is that we toys have to stick together, eh Buzz? / Buzz: Woody, I couldn't agree more. / Narration text: From that day on Woody and Buzz were best friends, and whenever a new toy came into the bedroom, they were welcomed as friends as well.
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