Antihero from outer space

Tonic trouble

A janitor in space as the protagonist of a computer game already existed in the 80s. That’s when roger wilko went from broom wielder to bona fide hero in sierra’s space quest series. In tonic trouble, the hero is a little auberird named ed who makes a tragic mistake out of lovesickness: a can of magical brew he hurls at our blue planet turns peaceful vegetables into aggressive killer tomatoes and a nondescript drunkard into a boss. Ed is sent back to earth to fix the bug.

The corn spits not only coarse clays but also grains

Once the player has mastered the rather difficult sledge ride at the beginning, he is rewarded with a jump-and-run game of the finest kind. To defeat the boss grogh, ed must help a professor build a catapult. The professor sends him to different places from a wild vegetable patch to a glacier, a volcano and a prere cooker. In the beginning ed has to avoid all dangers, but soon he finds vending machines with popcorn, which briefly transforms him into super ed, who bends grates, kicks in doors and eliminates aggressive vegetables with ease. The animation of the transformation is one of the most enjoyable scenes in the game. The muscle play and proudly fierce facial expressions alone are a pleasure to behold. Later ed is allowed to use a staff for fighting and as a lever for automatic doors. A blowpipe serves ed not only as a weapon, but he must also use it to operate remote switches. Eventually he learns the art of flying and the magic of transformation.

Popcorn makes muscles

New skills take ed to new places: the volcano, for example, can be reached only in flight, as ed was dropped into the glowing lava without wings. The player must constantly adjust to new control options and ways of solving the problem. The player can first try out new techniques such as blowpipe pushing or flying in the training camp. The controls are developed step by step, so that the player does not have to learn a multitude of combinations from the very beginning, but learns new skills during the game.

Ed is allowed to move in all three dimensions during the whole game. So that the player does not lose the overview, he can switch the view and look at the world from ed’s eyes. This view is also helpful when using the blowpipe to precisely aim at a target. The different places each bring special characteristics. So ed finds in the pyramid a series of old traps and riddles. He has to fly over the lava of the volcano, but in the glacier jumping is a very slippery affair. In some places, it takes not only dexterity to jump, but a little thought. For example, in the pyramid the walls must first be moved and then rotated to create a staircase. Nevertheless, frustration never arises, since all puzzles are rather simple and straightforward, and the controls never demand the utmost from the player.

Antihero from outer space

The professor helps ed in the fight against the bose

Tonic trouble is an excellent jump-and-run game. With regard to console games, it does not represent a revolution of the genre, but it does not need to shy away from direct comparison there either. Pc users who do not own a game console will find only a few games that can compete with the game about the little alien ed. The currently strongest competitor, rayman 2, is distributed by ubi soft, as is tonic trouble. In a direct comparison, rayman 2 is funnier and more lovingly designed in terms of the characters, but in terms of gameplay, tonic trouble is a bit more varied for it. A clear plus for tonic trouble is its stability: the game did not crash once from entering the planet earth to defeating ed’s nemesis grogh, while in rayman 2 restarts are part of everyday life.

Rainald menge, ct