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SEGA It's no longer thinking, but the occasional topic still pops up. Besides, the Dreamcast doesn't really feel old enough to be called Retro.

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Old February 28th, 2010, 02:14 AM   #1
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DCGW 24: Toy Commander

Yet another example of a game that achieved much critical success, but little to no actual success (sales).

Toy Commander
Released: November 4, 1999
Platform: Dreamcast
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: No Cliché
Genre: Simulation
DB Link

No Cliché was a Sega first party developer in Europe from 1997 when Sega of Europe purchased Adeline Software International. At the helm was Frédérick Raynal, designer of Alone In the Dark. The company operated until 2001 when SOE decided to stop all in house development. No Cliché was the first in house studio that Sega pulled the plug on as they exited the hardware biz. Raynal now consults for Ubi Soft.

Toy Commander is an example of a game that simply has too much originality. Casual gamers love familiarity. The feeling that gamers get when they pick up a game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and within the first ten minutes they know the game because they've played essentially the same game dozens of times before in the past 10 years.

Another one of Toy Commander's obvious flaws is imagination. The development team was clearly trying their damnedest to piss of casual gamers. First originality and now this? Get the fuck out of here with that bullshit! Just see what I mean.

Players take control of a little boy's toys. The boy has set up various scenarios in different rooms in his house. Each room contains multiple missions. After clearing a room other rooms become available. A room can never been truly cleared until the "room boss" has been defeated. However, the boss is not available unless you beat his completion time for at least three missions.

Early missions are little more than training exorcises to practice landing aircraft, using helicopters to put sugar into a bowl, or using a jeep to push eggs into a pot.

Later missions are combat and strategy centric. Using an airplane to prevent submarines from sinking a supply in a flooded house. Disabling an enemy base with a fighter plane so that a waiting truck can sneak in, steal a bomb, and blow up their own bridge to thwart the enemy convoy. Preventing a gigantic fire breathing monster from destroying a toy town. Several missions allow for multiple types of vehicles to be used, and they must be used in conjunction to clear the level.

Of course, these are toys and aren't really armed. The little boy in the game "imagines" that thumb tacks are land mine, that pen caps are missiles. As if a boy growing up with modern video games could ever imagine such things. What a total joke! Weapons, repair kits, and fuel can be found through each stage and often respawn. Other times they are rewards for destroying enemies or household objects. (There's even four player versus modes!)

What's worse is that No Cliché were creative when designing the levels and physics in the game. You literally cannot get a vehicle stuck behind an invisible wall. There's no place you go where there's not a way out from.

The physics don't even make sense. Gamers used to ultra-realism would probably be so shocked they would simply need to turn the game off. You see, jeeps and trucks can actually drive up walls. Not just speed boost up a wall, but actually drive on them as if it was the ground and even come to a stop without falling off! Fixed wing craft are no better. If if the engine is cut completely it won't stall or crash. I guess players just have to "imagine" that there's really supposed to be a little boy holding on to the toys this whole time.

If there is such a thing as a videogame archeologist, then that's the only person who I could, in good conscience, recommend playing Toy Commander. Everyone else has existing in a world of cookie cutter sandbox games for so long that playing Toy Commander would come about as naturally as hunting woolly mammoth.


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