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© St. Petersburg Times, published October 12, 1998

It seems as if everyone is trying to create new genres these days, mixing action with adventure and role playing. Whoopee Camp's hope with Tomba! obviously was to put a new spin on the traditional and now trite 2-D platformer, and in many ways it both succeeds and fails.

Even if you are a diehard 2-D fan like me, you must be getting tired of jumping and doing any number of different torturous moves to your enemies, and Tomba! contains plenty of this. The lead character, a pink-haired little caveman, pounces on his enemies (mostly pigs), biting them and then hurling them off screen.

If this was all Tomba! was, then it would hardly be worth renting, but developer Whoopee Camp spices things up with a bit of role-playing and adventure elements that made games like Zelda such a hit.

Tomba! is set up as a role-playing game: The prehistoric dude encounters friends who offer advice and give him items. Tomba builds up his arsenal and uses it to solve puzzles and clear stages. The appeal is more toward the thinker in players than the mindless destroyer.

Unfortunately, all this thinking can get tiresome, leaving players trudging and retrudging through levels ad nauseam. The fact that Tomba can jump into the background in many stages helps add depth, but in the end you will be frustrated more often than you'll be having fun.

That is not to say you won't have any fun, especially for the first couple hours of play. And there is a good amount of humor, stemming mostly from the absurd characters in the games. Players also will enjoy the hand-drawn animation sequences, as well as the lusciously rendered graphics.

Despite its originality, Tomba! comes off as a mixed bag that is worth renting but inevitably will send you running back to its 3-D cousins.
-- Robb Guido, Times correspondent


Company: Whoopee Camp

Price: $39.99

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