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In Toonstruck, Drew Blanc works as an animator on the Saturday morning cartoon "Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun Show". For nearly ten years now, the cute Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun has been a great commercial success. However, with the show's 10th anniversary approaching, Drew's boss thought that it could be judicious to bring in new youth to the show with more cute little bunnies. "If one was successful, why wouldn't a bunch of cute bunnies be", he said to Drew. As Drew had created the original character, he was of course chosen to work on the new project. There wasn't much time left for Drew to settle down on his job though, as the first samples had to be on his boss' desk the very next morning. Nevertheless, although the idea of more bunnies really didn't seem exciting for him, Drew courageously started working on it. Little did he know this was the beginning of an incredible adventure.

Fluffy Fluffy Bun
The "Fluffy and Friends" idea from his boss was not inspiring Drew at all; the sheet of paper on his drawing table was desperately blank. After hours that seemed an eternity spent trying to concentrate on bunnies, he soon fell asleep. While lightning was illuminating the night outside, the TV suddenly turned on with the sound of the "Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun Show" filling the room. Awaken by the sound, Drew realized that he had been sleeping and that nothing was still done. "Why was the show running at 4:00am", he wondered looking at the TV screen? Trying to use the remote control to shut the TV off, he was brutally snatched by a supernatural force that brought him into the cartoon show.

"Things like this can only happen in dreams", thought Drew, who immediately started thinking he was probably sleeping again. He then slapped his face several times hoping to wake up, but nothing happened except for trouble. Fortunately, he was saved in extremis from Nefarious's Malevolator by Flux Wildly, his favorite character among those he created. After a brief chit-chat in which Drew explained he needed to go back home, Flux told him there might be someone able to help and this person was King Hugh. In the palace, Drew learnt that the world of Cutopia is being threatened by the Count Nefarious and his ignominious invention, the Malevolator. However, King Hugh will only help if Drew can work with Bricabrac, the Royal Engineer, to recover a series of necessary items for the Cutifier. Drew, of course, accepted the deal.

The introduction, as well as many other cinematic sequences throughout the game, is a combination of live action video with traditional animation running full screen in SVGA mode. However, as the installation automatically detects your processor, you will have interlaced graphics if your system's speed is too slow, just like in the Wing Commander IV or Zork Nemesis video sequences. Using digital betacam footage with the green screen process, the character of Drew Blanc, played by Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future series), was well integrated into the hand-painted backgrounds of the game, and he is fully capable of interacting with the cartoon like environment. The movements though resemble those of a robot than a real person, but compared to other games featuring digitized characters (Phantasmagoria, Harvester), they are much better. While talking to another character for example, you will see him making gestures as he speaks, and the animation seems different every time. Besides the characters' animation, each of the over 100 backgrounds of the game feature animated objects or scenes that are truly well done, and funny to watch.

Flux Wildly
If so far, everything leads you to think that Toonstruck is just for kids, it is an illusion. Toonstruck, at least in Europe, is recommended for players aged 15 or above, which should indicate that there might be some scenes or dialogues that are not appropriate for small children. It is, to a certain extent, the case for a few scenes of the game which show a bit of violence, and for some sentences with a double meaning, but no doubt, there is way more violence on TV than in Toonstruck. And for the double meanings, I'm not sure if kids would understand them anyway! Regarding the difficulty of the game, Toonstruck can be rated as average, offering at least 20 hours of game play for a good adventure player and more for novices. The puzzles you will have to solve are not very complicated, but challenging enough to keep you in the game. Hints will be often revealed directly in the game if you explore carefully.

B.B. Wolf
Toonstruck's interface has been simplified to the extreme. As you move the cursor over the screen, it will shape into icons representing possible actions. The diagonal arrow pointer is used to move Drew, and whenever there are exits, paths or doors, the pointing hand will indicate them. When you left-click the mouse and the icon is an opening and closing hand, Drew will use whatever the pointer is over, while right-clicking will provide you instead with a description. The picking up hand will serve to get items, the magnifying glass to examine and the chattering teeth to talk with characters. When you start the game, Bricabrac will give you a bottomless bag, which will be very useful to collect the many items you will find in Toonstruck. From the inventory, you can also combine objects such as putting glue on another item for example.

Talking with someone has never been so easy than in Toonstruck as Drew will always have the right greeting. At the least, you will have two icons on the screen, an ice cube and a hand. Clicking on the ice cube will literally "break the ice" to begin the dialogue, choosing the hand will end it. Most of the time, you will have additional icons representing specific topics of conversation for you to discuss with the character. When the ice cube is reduced to a pool of water, this means you have exhausted all the possibilities. You can always try to come back later, and see if there is anything else you can talk about with the same character. Sub-titles are available through options, and you can even change between small and large font, and select the text speed.

It sometimes happens in adventure games that dialogues become too long, or that the voice-over is just so bad that you want to turn it off. Well, fortunately this is not the case for Toonstruck. The voice-over is just brilliant, with a team of well-known professional actors that apparently know their job. Besides Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry lends his voice to the mean Count Nefarious, and Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson's voice) to Flux Wildly. But there are also David Ogden-Stiers (M.A.S.H.'s Colonel Winchester), Dom Deluise (All Dogs Go To Heaven I & II), and other voice talents from popular series Animaniacs, The Simpsons, Disney's Aladdin, and more. Combined with the spectacular graphics of the game, playing with Toonstruck is like watching a cartoon on a Saturday morning! Sound effects and voices are top-notch featuring stereo CD-quality, and a music that is ever changing from one location to another. One moment you hear jazzy music from the 50's, the next instant, melodious tunes from Verdi, Rimsky-Korsakov or Tchaikovsky. A real pleasure indeed!


Overall, Toonstruck is a very pleasant adventure game to play with. Not only will its witty humor make you smile endlessly, but the fine graphics and the lovely soundtrack will definitely appeal to you, not mentioning the remarkable voice-over that all other adventure games should learn from.

Written by Frederick Claude

Click here for screen shots.



System Requirements:

IBM PC 486/66 or 100% compatible (Pentium recommended),
MS-DOS 5.0 or higer,
Min 8MB memory (16Mb recommended),
Hard disk with 30Mb free,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster (Quadruple speed recommended),
1Mb SVGA video graphic card (PCI or VLB),
Microsoft mouse or 100% compatibles,
8-bit sound card (16-bit Stereo sound card recommended).




In North America:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
18061 Fitch Avenue,
Irvine, CA 92714.

Technical Support:714-833-1999
Fax Support:714-833-2011
BBS Support:714-833-3305
Hint Line:1-900-288-4744 $.75 per minute

Web site: Virgin Interactive Entertainment

In Europe:

In UK:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment (Europe) Ltd
2 Kensington Square
London W8 5RB

Technical Support:+44-(0)171-3682266
Fax Support:+44-(0)171-4682003
BBS Support:+44-(0)171-4682022
Toonstruck Hintline0891-333528 45p per minute cheap rate and 50p at all other times

Internet Support: Virgin Interactive Entertainment UK
Web site: Virgin Interactive Entertainment UK

In France:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
233 Rue de la Croix Nivert,
75015 Paris.

Technical Support:+33-153681000
Fax Support:+33-140450199
Hint Line:08-3668-9495 2.23 FF per minute

Web site: Virgin Interactive Entertainment France

In Germany:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment GmbH,
Borselstrasse 16B,
22765 Hambourg.

Technical Support:+49-040-391113

In Spain:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment Espana,
Hermosilla 46,
28001 Madrid.

Technical Support:+34-(91)-5781367
Fax Support:+34-(91)-575458

In Pacific:

In Australia:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment Ltd.,
The Novelle Building, Level 21,
201 Miller Street,
North Sidney, NSW 2060.

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