Have You Played… Toonstruck

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

As recently decreed by the Unquestionable Authorities as better than Monkey Island 2, it seems that just about everyone should be playing the marvellous Toonstruck [GOG]. But are they? Have you? Played it?

A buoyantly entertaining and superbly structured adventure, in which Christopher Lloyd (yes, him) gets transported into a cartoon world of his own creation. Teaming up with Flux Wildly, voiced by Dan Castellaneta (yes, him), you must thwart the evil Count Nefarious Tim Curry (yes, him) in his attempts to turn the toons evil.

It also features a pre-rubbish Ben Stein, Major Charles Emerson Winchester III himself, David Ogden Stiers, as well as some of the all-time greats of voice acting, Tress MacNeille, Jim Cummings, Frank Welker, Rob Paulsen and Regretsy creator, April Winchell. Seriously, go look up who those people have voiced. It’s an all-star cast beyond its obvious stars.

It’s hilarious, it’s smartly designed, the inventory puzzles are ace, and the acting is as stunning as you’d expect from such a cast. It’s a horror that it’s not more popular, and you can put that right by playing it today.

38 Comments

  1. Da5e says:

    I have played Toonstruck, and I will play it again!

  2. amateurviking says:

    I have not played Toonstruck, but I will play it!

  3. noom says:

    I have played Toonstruck, but am not going to play it again!

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      Phasma Felis says:

      I have not played Toonstruck, and I would quite like a sandwich!

  4. davidgilbert says:

    Anyone know if the puzzle with the cookpot has been made easier on GoG / new game editions? I remember getting to that part of the game and not being able to progress due to my PC being too fast at the time and not being able to react fast enough to do the puzzle.

    • MisterMumbles says:

      GOG’s copy runs via SCUMMVM, so that timing bug is a non-issue. I played through the entire game a few months back when GOG first re-released it without any issues. :)

  5. Pazguato says:

    Oh, there’s nothing better than Monkey Island 2!!!

  6. Joe Clark says:

    I have played Toonstruck and would like to play again!

  7. LionsPhil says:

    Obligatory lamentations over the second half/sequel never being released. Link to Previously, on RPS Comments.

  8. jrodman says:

    I have not played Toonstruck, and I will play it again!

  9. trn says:

    Yes, but – as I recall – when it was on a PC Zone demo disc and that makes me feel OLD.

    Thanks, RPS.

  10. Shazbut says:

    Again! Will I not play Toonstruck?

  11. ansionnach says:

    I won’t restate all my thoughts on Toonstruck but it’s a terrible game. Terribly unfunny, (terribly) annoying puzzles (the worst of which have overly-long animations before you can try them again – that damned clown!) and worst of all: its terrible commercial failure cemented the notion that graphic adventures were no longer commercially viable. The good ones were.

    Monkey Island 2 is the second-best graphic adventure ever released (behind the untouchable Fate of Atlantis) and is several orders of magnitude better than this tosh – wash your mouth out, sir!

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      John Walker says:

      Your mum is a terrible game.

      • ansionnach says:

        I don’t think she’d like Toonstruck either. She’s more of a solitaire or scrabble person. Vastly superior games to Toonstruck, which came in an ugly, green cardboard box… and that was the best thing about it!

    • klops says:

      I’m with you on Monkey Island 2 and Indy’s untouchability. That’s why calling Toonstruckt terrible sounds weird. It was a very good game. Bit too easy, if I recall correctly.

      • ansionnach says:

        I really can’t understand the love for Toonstruck. I hate puns and its literally crude attempts at humour. It was about as unsubtle in its attempts to be “mature” and “edgy” as something like Mortal Kombat. It wasn’t remotely smart and all the enthusiastically terrible jokes just grated with me. It’s probably the case that when you’re not having fun this impacts on how you view the mechanics of the game, but they weren’t anything to write home about, either. I thought the script and acting was poor (although there were a few good lines here and there) and the Roger Rabbit-style aesthetic really didn’t work. I could go on but the simple explanation is that there’s a vast ocean of understanding separating me and those who find this kind of thing funny. I might as well be sitting in an airport, severely jet-lagged, watching a bunch of hyper-kinetic children running around screaming and laughing about fart jokes. Even so, I did complete the game because I bought it at release and had to save up for it. Even though I hated the bit with the clown he did have the best lines in the game. There was certainly something about gherkins that I thought was much funnier than farts. Can’t remember what age rating was on the Toonstruck box but the warning should have been that people over that age shouldn’t play it!

        I love Monkey Island 2. Guybrush is so anarchic and scampish – completely unlike his other incarnations (with the possible exception of Guybrush Mark IV). I really enjoyed messing everyone around to get the things you wanted off them. MI2 also dispensed with insult fighting, which I never really liked. It was really silly and genuinely funny… and I don’t remember any fart jokes… although the bit where you can ring the Lucasarts helpline and ask them how babies are made had me roaring with laughter. That was MI2 down to the ground with its unexpected and out-there juxtapositions. You’re talking to a carpenter and there’s the option “Nice apron. Are you some sort of Chef?”. Then it goes from the sublime to the silly with “How much wood could a wood chuck chuck…?”. To me there’s real craft in the humour of MI2, although it could have been a bunch of really funny lads on a roll having a good laugh.

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          Risingson says:

          And what about the puzzles?

          I replayed Monkey Island 2 recently and there was something I did not remember: the backtracking. And how mean is Guybrush Threepwood: I could not remember not liking him that much, and now it makes sense why Simon The Sorcerer (which was obviously made after Guybrush) is such an a%$$·&%ole.

          • ansionnach says:

            I’ve already said that I liked this Guybrush. He’s a scampish rascal I think he gets away with his mischief. Simon the Sorcerer was just an annoying, patronising little git. Those games weren’t funny and I didn’t really like them (only played the first two).

            As for the puzzles: there’s usually some sort of hint as to what you need to do in the dialogue. I really loved the main part of the game where they opened up all the islands for you to explore. When you have so many places you can go backtracking will probably happen. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

          • ansionnach says:

            As far as Monkey Island goes, all the other ones are much inferior to the second one. I probably liked the fourth one (yes, really) the next most as I found it very funny and it seemed Guybrush was more like GB #2. After that, I’d pick the fifth one, which was severely limited in its complexity by its episodic structure, but still very funny in places. Next, I’d pick the first one, which was mildly funny, if quite short. Wasn’t a big fan of the third game. It certainly had its moments and some memorable characters, but it was rarely very funny. Copying the insult sword fighting annoyed me (although I found the Monkey Kombat in 4 hilarious and an acceptable twist), as did its attempt to explain away the Monkey 2 ending. It was too much like a try-hard fan fiction effort that didn’t in my view “get” Monkey Island. It very obviously suffered from not having Ron Gilbert’s involvement.

            I had a lot of enjoyment with all the Monkey Island games but I think the third one is Lucasarts’ weakest adventure that isn’t Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken. Haven’t finished the last of those yet so maybe they’ll leapfrog Monkey 3 when I do. Not a big fan of adventures with dead ends, though.

            If Ron Gilbert came along and announced that he was going to make the real Monkey 3, making 3-5 non-canonical I’d say “fair enough”.

          • ansionnach says:

            Meant to say that I hadn’t finished both Maniac and Zak but I actually did finish Maniac once. That was using a guide though, so it doesn’t count. That was a long time. Never use guides any more, even if it means it takes years to finish a game. At least I’ll fully-appreciate its frustrations.

    • death_au says:

      Being the second best adventure game is humorously appropriate for any Monkey Island game

  12. JFS says:

    Absolutely. Loved it as a child. Still somewhat disturbed about the cow and sheep after the incident.

    • TheSplund says:

      yup, that cow was kinda creepy.
      I’ve not long installed it on my daughter’s PC with ScummVM if I recall

  13. Vandelay says:

    Never did play it. I recall seeing it in screenshots in magazines and wanting to play it, but I never did pick it up.

    I really should get it from GoG. Thanks for the reminder!

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    Bluerps says:

    I’ve played it when it was fairly new. I got stuck somewhere and gave up, but I played it.

    Now that I think about it, I think I still have the CD somewhere.

  15. limbo12 says:

    I roflstomped Ben Stein’s son in magic cards back in the summer of ’95 in a small town in Idaho. Turned out his family was staying at a lake house nearby. I remember being all haughty after winning and very ostentatiously clawing my newly won cards when I hear “that voice”; of course, it wasn’t as droll as it is in movies/TV, but it was still discernible – totally had him sign a card. Man that was weird.

  16. Lokik says:

    I first played it as a little kid, then bought it from GOG and played it again. It’s one of my all time favorite adventure games and I really hope that sequel/extended version will get made some day. Too bad it seems that the guy who tried to make it happen has ran into too many obstacles on the way.

  17. oyog says:

    Balloons?

  18. int says:

    Never played it. Of FMV games I have only played A Fork in the Tale, with Rob Scheider… Rated PG-13.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It isn’t really a FMV game; it’s just that the protagonist’s sprite is made of video capture. (It does have cutscenes, but it’s way more Sam & Max than The 7th Guest.)

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

    Yes I have! And it was great. Got all the way to the last segment where I’d collected all the mcguffins and everything but I don’t think I ever finished it back then.

  20. Mokey says:

    The only thing I remember about Toonstruck is that I played it for ten hours straight on the day Princess Diana died, while my parents watched the news.

  21. jj2112 says:

    I love it. And I’d play or watch anything with Christopher Lloyd in it.

  22. Arthur ASCII says:

    Wait… Tim Curry?? I have not played Toonstruck, but I will now! Thank you!

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    Risingson says:

    It’s a wonderful game in my memory. It made me laugh in my early 20s but what I remember the most about it is the wonderful puzzle design of its first part, an absolute wonder.