Fluffy Fluffy News! Toonstruck Arrives On GOG

It's been a while, friends -The Phantom Alt-Texter

It bothers me to my core that Toonstruck is not a more widely remembered and adored ’90s adventure. It deserves to be celebrated alongside LucasArts and Sierra, and yet so often goes forgotten. Thankfully, attention is being drawn to it once more as it finally arrives in GOG’s collection. It’s brilliant! You should play it.

Toonstruck, like so many other things from 1996, will be twenty years old next year, but I strongly contend this cartoon/human interaction adventure really holds up. Combining some utterly lovely hand-painted backdrops with exquisitely well animated cartoon characters and live action actors, it tells an amazing story of cartoonish Drew Blanc (Christopher Lloyd) getting sucked into his own cartoon creation, accompanied by his favourite character, Flux Wildly (Dan Castellaneta). There they must thwart the evil Count Nefarious (Tim Curry) and prevent all-out cartoon war.

Did you see the names I so nonchalantly popped in parentheses above? Christopher Lloyd off of Back To The Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit! Dan Castellaneta off of Homer Simpson! Tim Curry off of every FMV game of the ’90s, and Clue! Clue for heavens sake! And there’s Ben Stein too, I guess.

I blabbered my enthusiasm for the game in greater detail on Eurogamer back in 2010, which you can read here.

I really don’t understand the price, however. How a 19 year old game can possibly be £6.69 I do not know. I’ve gotten in trouble before for suggesting games of this age should be in the public domain by now, anyway. I’d love to see a price that’s at least less than what it cost in its budget release in the sodding ’90s, however. Grumble grumble.

31 Comments

  1. BooleanBob says:

    Hay.

    What?

    Hay.

    What?!

    Hay!

    WHAT?!?!

    It really is up there with the greats. Great characters, striking art, jokes that actually landed (usually with a loud crash and commensurate property damage), and a story that is really well paced across its two-disc span – the twist in the middle is a real kicker.

    It even sounded great, with a fantastic score and better voice acting than you find in most modern games (and a better performance from Lloyd than he was turning in in most of his films). There’s some slightly opaque puzzles, but nothing to rival the worst excesses of the genre.

  2. It's not me it's you says:

    This game was awesome when it came out (it probably still is but I haven’t played it in years so I wouldn’t know for sure). It stands as one of the few adventure games I managed to get through all the way without resorting to FAQs or walkthroughs.

    I remember it blew my mind that the professor from BttF was in this. Still kind of does, I guess.

  3. bad guy says:

    I finished the story back in the day, and have no interest in repeating it. Very good at the time, but no masterpiece in my books.

  4. Brosecutor says:

    Oh, I loved Toonstruck. Not sure if I want to revisit it, but back then it was an underrated gem.

  5. DrMcCoy says:

    Oh, and they even outright say “This game is powered by ScummVM” this time. Neat! :)

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Ah – that answers the question I had: I remember having to use a computer slow down utility to be able to run the game on my 233 MHz computer in order to make some sections playable. It was also very difficult to get it to work with my video card. SVGA on DOS…

  6. Sardonic says:

    Somebody get Slowbeef and Diabetus on the horn, we’ve found our next Darkseed 2.

  7. klops says:

    This was great. The pricing isn’t so much.

  8. Challenger2uk says:

    Played this game many a year ago with my sister. It took some time to complete and boy were we happy, its funny and trying to remember something you were told to solve a riddle later helps with two people. We had a load of fun and excitement with this game. Definetly a game worth playing again, I recommend playing it with another.

  9. Herbal Space Program says:

    I’m still waiting for a gigawatt joke on the alt-text.

  10. LionsPhil says:

    Wasn’t there talk some time back (probably years by now) that the partially-finished follow-up second half of the game was going to get, if not exactly released, dumped for the community to poke at with sticks?

    Not to dissuade anyone from buying this. It’s a complete game, it just has an unresolved sequel hook cliffhanger on the end. It got in half in development because it was actually huge enough to be two games, not that they ran out of money. (They may also have run out of money, but it doesn’t show.)

    But, yeah. Toonstruck. Proof that LucasArts wasn’t the only game in town for great comical, no-failstate adventuring.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Yes, there was talk, but unfortunately I very much doubt that anything will come of it. Something should have happened by now if that was the case.

      • MegaScience says:

        Actually coinciding with the GoG release was a teaser announcement from Keith Arem. Sources:
        link to twitter.com
        link to twitter.com
        link to facebook.com

        Besides these, there has actually been somewhat relatively recent talks on bringing the game back from its hiding place. From what I recall, they had public discussions about thoughts on how the project would have to go. For example, in wanting to bring the game to modern platforms, they want to bring the quality of the videos and audio up. Some parts were recorded at high enough quality to not need adjustment, but other content might need to even be remade. But all of this was in consideration, and the suggestiveness… suggests breakthroughs might have been made to get the project rolling.

        Fingers crossed…

  11. cpt_freakout says:

    I had never seen this, and it looks fun. I will correct that mistake… sometime during 2015.

  12. ananachaphobiac says:

    It’s FLUFFY FLUFFY BUN BUN TIME!

  13. Da5e says:

    I bought a Scott Walker record the other week for £15; it was released 45 years ago. Should it actually have been 13p?

    Toonstruck is worth £6.70, man.

  14. melnificent says:

    Finally. This game is awesome, and one of the few I enjoyed playing til the end.

  15. XhomeB says:

    It’s certainly one of the best adventures ever made… BUT THAT CLIFFHANGER!!!
    We never got a sequel and probably never will. Now pardon me, I need to punch a wall to vent my frustration.

  16. Zaxwerks says:

    It’s only a guess but it could be that for every copy sold they still have to pay Christopher Lloyd etc royalty payments.

    Personally I have more of a problem with the antiquated copyright system where the copyright on a lot of things doesn’t expire until 75 years after the person who actually produced it died. I mean I can appreciate it should still be constructed as a peudo-pension for the spouse of the deceased but I see no reason why “freeloading children” should receive regular payments off a work they had nothing to do with creating for up to 75 years.

    Hey my dad made double-decker buses, should I get a percentage of the ticket fares for the next 75 years after he dies even though I couldn’t build a bus to save my life?

  17. tomimt says:

    As this is Interplay title it’ll soon be in -50% sale. Interplay -50 is propably the most common sale at GOG.

  18. Geewhizbatman says:

    Blaaaaghhahaa! So exciting. I played this when I was far–far too young (13.) But, really, it wasn’t actually any worse than other cartoons. It just didn’t try to hide its sexual/violent jokes like most of the things that assumed the children watching were too stupid to be paying attention. I’m sure my parents just trusted that if Christopher Lloyd had agreed to be in it that it must be good for something. Heck, I had already seen the rocky horror picture show and I’m betting they assumed if that hadn’t screwed me up that this couldn’t do any worse.

    They were always the best kind of negligent ^-^

    The memories they are fond, SO FOND!!!!!

  19. MrStones says:

    Woo!! I know what I’m doing tonight! Strange that I have such fond memories of a game I tried to play sooo many times and never actually got to finish due to some show stopping bugs that I’ll take have been fixed over the years.

    Vaguely remember it had something to do with parts of the game being tied to your processors clock speed and running way too fast with anything over 100mhz. Would love to know the thought process behind that decision, somebody must have never heard of Moore’s law.

  20. ansionnach says:

    I ran out and bought this straight away when it was released. Once I completed it I consigned it to the very back of my collection with Ultima IX. It’s often been written that the failure of this expensive and well-reviewed adventure was a sign that the genre was on the way out… but I contend that it was the reviewers that were mistaken in lavishing it with praise. I found it a cringe-worthy, unfunny mess of a game. Writing is pretty much all misses and there isn’t one funny moment that I can remember. The unstable clown almost works, and the voice acting for him was great… but I think he was also guilty for some of the more frustrating moments as poor design and over-long animations made trying puzzle solutions way more infuriating than was necessary. For me there was zero incentive to complete the it… other than I was sixteen and probably had nothing else to play. Should have just played Day of the Tentacle a few more times. (Just played that again for the first time in maybe fifteen years and there was one puzzle I couldn’t remember the solution to. Will have to wait for that mind-wiping technology from Eternal Sunshine…)

    Perhaps this is going a little too far, but I still see the failure of Toonstruck as a tragedy in that it dragged the adventure genre down with it. Had the game gotten 30 – 40% in reviews and sold poorly, perhaps things might have been a little different? Maybe not, but Toonstruck is still far from a classic. It’s best left where it is, in bins and attics. My immaculate big box copy is safe with me in the game library equivalent of that warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. ‘Tis a heavy burden to bear but I’ll guard it ’till the end of my days, preventing any unfortunates from opening it and bringing doom on us all!

    In summary, Toonstruck aims low with its humour and can’t even get that right. It doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as any adventures from Lucasarts (even Last Crusade) or the likes of King’s Quest VI and Gabriel Knight.

  21. April March says:

    I remember this mostly because I had it in one of those “658 Great Games!!!” CD compilation, of which only about twenty would run, and this is one of the many that wouldn’t. I could only stare at the screenshot in the accompanying magazine and weep softly.

    (Though Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy did run, so it wasn’t all bad.)

  22. idmah says:

    Haha!! I worked on this game. way way way back..

  23. Ahtaps says:

    Balloooon?