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Tobal No. 1
  

 
 
STORY:  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.

 

Dragon Ball Z... Art Style? Nobody was complaining.

 
REVIEWTobal No. 1 is Dream Factory's first attempt at a 3D fighting game. A PS1-exclusive fighter, Tobal No. 1 features a roster designed 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 players). However, 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 VII (which naturally assisted the game's sales tremendously).

Gotta give it to Hom... these polygons have personality!

 
 
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 really have any textures at all.
   


Yo, look at Nork.

 

Tobal's
gameplay engine features an interesting free 8-way movement system around the 3D ring (with Ring Outs possible), something that few other 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 (and throw reversals) as well. Interestingly, some of the hit animations and certain kicks & punches seem ripped straight from Tekken and Virtua Fighter. However, Tobal has its own flow of animation, camera speed, and unique gameplay elements that make it stand out (albeit a bit slower and in some ways les responsive than the latest iterations of Tekken and Virtua Fighter.
 

Those good ol' PS1 polygons.... lolz.

 
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 is rather 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 fighting games.

Page Updated: January 27th, 2021
Developer(s): Dream Factory
Publisher(s): Squaresoft 
SCE 
Designer(s): Seiichi Ishii              Director
Koji Yamashita
      Producer
Akira Toriyama      Artwork & character designs
Artwork By: Akira Toriyama
Platform(s): PlayStation
Release Date(s): Aug. 2nd, 1996       
Sept. 30th, 1996
    
Jan. 1997
                   
Characters Chuji Wu, Epon, Fei Pusu, Hom, Gren Kutz, Oliems, Mary Ivonskaya, Ill Goga, Nork, Emperor Udan

tobal1-p1.png (242758 bytes)

Featured Video:

Related Games: Tobal 2, Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring, Tekken 2, Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Fighter 3, Fighters Megamix, Soul Blade, Battle Arena Toshinden, Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Bushido Blade
  

Gameplay Engine

 7.5 / 10

Story / Theme

 6.0 / 10

Overall Graphics

 7.5 / 10

Animation

 8.0 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 8.5 / 10

Innovation

 8.5 / 10

Art Direction

 8.0 / 10

Customization

 5.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 7.0 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 7.0 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 6.5 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 7.0 / 10

Characters

 6.5 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

 7.8 / 10

   

 

Final Words:

Tobal No. 1 is some kind of perfect blend between Virtua Fighter and Tekken. It borrows ideas and even animations from both series. In retrospect, the graphics and animation were pretty solid for 1996. Tobal has a unique mix of uniquely odd-yet-somehow-likeable character designs... which isn't a big surprise coming from Dragonball's Akira Toriyama.

I'll admit I slept on this game, as the cast didn't seem as cool as other fighting game rosters... but even if it wasn't "as good" as Tekken 2 / 3, Tobal was an interesting contender in the PS1-era of fighting games. However. I remember being disappointed by the fact that all characters have the same ending. Boooooo. (Kind of a big flaw for a console fighter back then).

While there were more popular fighting games to be putting time into in 1996/1997 arcades, Tobal No. 1 was a surprisingly good console-exclusive fighting game, and by an interesting dev-team, for sure. Especially since some of the devs worked on several of the Tekken and VF games.

While hardcore fighting game players were definitely 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 few)... Tobal No. 1 was holdin' up the PS1 library with smooth animations and a neat 3D camera that moves seamlessly around the fighters. Character movement also has 8-way controls, and this way before SoulCalibur! While painfully slow at times, Tobal has compelling depth for an mid 90's 3D fighting game. Still love them PS1 polys! In closing, Tobal's art style and kooky characters aged kinda well. I've come to appreciate some of Toriyama's most obscure character designs - as loud as some of them are. Now, I kinda miss the days when Squaresoft was publishing fighting games.
~TFG Webmaster | @FIGHTERS_GEN
  

 


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