Tobal No. 1 takes place in the
year 2027 on a fictional planet called Tobal, which has large deposits of
Molmoran, an ore that can be used an energy source. The planet's 98th tournament
is held to determine who has the rights to the ore. A number of humans and
aliens compete for the title.
The Dragonball Z art style
sure was catchy.
Tobal No. 1
is Dream Factory's first attempt
at a 3D fighting game. A PS1-exclusive fighter, Tobal No. 1 features a
solely by Akira
Toriyama (of Dragonball Z fame).
Its console exclusivity is possibly one of the main reasons the title never gained much
popularity, especially since arcade fighting games were still going very strong
in the mid 90's (and were retaining the interest of most of the hardcore fighting game
Tobal No. 1 offered one of the best 3D fighting game experiences you could get
for a console fighting game at the time. Tobal on PS1 also came packaged with a sampler disc featuring a pre-release demo of Final Fantasy
naturally assisted the game's sales tremendously).
Tobal No. 1 features a traditional
Arcade Mode, VS Mode, Practice Mode,
and a unique Quest Mode which utilizes the game's fighting engine
and combines it with a 3D dungeon crawler. Gameplay runs at a smooth 60 frames per
second, but compromises on textured polygons and graphical polish. Graphically, Tekken
2 (the big Playstation 3D fighter of the time) looked a lot better and not
to mention the later powerhouse of the arcades, Virtua Fighter 3, graphically
putting both of them to shame... but of course, let's compare apples to apples. Tobal
wasn't terrible-looking for a console game in 1996, but the
character models noticeably don't have any textures at all.
ol' PS1 polygons.... lolz.
Tobal's gameplay engine features free movement around the 3D ring
(AKA sidestepping), something that
very few 3D fighting games had at the time. Characters can perform high, mid,
and low attacks (much like Tekken 2), as well as counters and
some pretty cool-looking throws as well. As a hardcore fighting game fan in the
90's, Tobal naturally struck me as
somewhat of a "Tekken rip-off" in terms of animation. It seems like some of the same movements
and especially "damage" animations were ripped straight from Tekken and Virtua Fighter.
In fairness, Tobal has its own flow of animation and gameplay which is
much slower (and a bit clunkier) than the likes of Tekken 2 and
Tobal's Quest Mode was possibly one of the game's biggest selling points,
as it was very unique to fighting games at the time. On the downside, Quest Mode
simple, short, and has clunky controls in some areas. The graphics in Quest Mode
are also pretty bland to
say the very least, but at least it still held onto a steady 60 frames... not that it
matters all that much, since I wouldn't call this more "super fun" or
anything. With only 1 life (if you die you completely start over)...you and your blocky character try to advance through 3D maps (if you dare
call them that) filled with booby traps, a few cool useable items, and engage in fights
against all of the main characters in the game. Though it's not nearly perfect,
Quest Mode is still a
nice break from the 1-on-1 fighting system and was definitely innovative to
& character designs)
Tobal No. 1 features some
unique, yet very odd character designs... which isn't a big surprise
coming from Dragonball's Akira Toriyama... although, I actually expected better
from him in this case. Honetly, Tobal's character designs never held my interest.
Alas, I didn't have much incentive to
this game like I did other fighting games at the time. Also worth mentioning, all characters
have the same ending.
Boooooo (no doubt a big flaw for a console fighter back then).
the time of its debut, Tobal
was still a halfway decent console 3D fighting game. However, there's no denying there were
much more worthy fighting games out
in 1996/1997 to be putting time
into. Hardcore fighting game players were likely at the arcades racking up win streaks in
Tekken 2, VF2, VF3, X-Men VS Street
Fighter, Samurai Shodown 2, 3, 4, and MK3: Ultimate (to name a
I guess if you didn't have a ride to the arcade (or your area didn't have a
quality arcade), at least there were some "decent" console fighting
games around, and Tobal No. 1 was one of them. ~TFG