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 have any textures at all.

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


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 also much slower (and a bit clunkier) than the likes of Tekken 2 and VF2.

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: May 21st, 2020
Developer(s): Dream Factory
Publisher(s): Squaresoft 
Designer(s): Seiichi Ishii              Director
Koji Yamashita
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, Nork, Hom, Gren Kutz, Oliems, Mary Ivonskaya, Ill Goga, 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

 5.0 / 10

Overall Graphics

 6.5 / 10


 8.0 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 7.5 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Art Direction

 6.5 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 7.0 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 7.0 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 6.0 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 6.0 / 10


 5.0 / 10


 6.6 / 10



Final Words:

Tobal No. 1 debuted some uniquely odd-yet-somehow-likeable character designs... which isn't a big surprise coming from Dragonball's Akira Toriyama. To be honest, I originally actually expected better from him in this case. Tobal's character designs never held my interest for some reason... but in retrospect, they weren't that bad.

Alas, still didn't have much incentive to replay Tobal No. 1 like other fighting games in 1996-1997. I'll admit I overlooked this one, because it didn't seem "as good" as TEKKEN. I remember being disappointed by the fact that all characters have the same ending. Boooooo (no doubt a big flaw for a console fighter back then).

In retrospect, Tobal No. 1 was still a decent console 3D fighting game for the time... and yeah, perhaps underrated. I'm still on the side of: "There were far more worthy fighting games in 1996/1997 to be putting major time into," but Tobal's art style was definitely likeable, and the gameplay had the foundations of an early, high-quality, 3D fighting game. 

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 still had a pretty cool console fighting game going on over on PS1. Still love them PS1 polys. In closing, Tobal's art style seems to look even better with age... I've come to appreciate Toriyama's designs and style for this very unique PS1 fighting game. Now, I kinda miss the days when Squaresoft was publishing fighting games.  
~TFG Webmaster