Toki was an arcade game featuring a guy that was transformed into a misshapen ape after an evil wizard kidnaps his girlfriend. It is still a “save the princess” tale but that was the norm for when Toki was released. Throughout its life, Toki has seen releases on many platforms including the Atari Lynx, Sega Genesis and Nintendo Entertainment System to name a few. The interesting thing about this port of Toki is that the title screen shows a 1993 copyright- LONG after the 7800 was commercially a dead system.
Well, besides that date being pretty unique, it is not the only title that was in development during this period for the defunct Atari platform. According to internal Atari documents listed in the Digital Press Collector’s Guide, there were actually four other titles in development for the platform. Pit Fighter, Rampart, Road Riot 4WD and Steel Talons were all in development around the same time that Toki was listed to be nearly complete.
Nearly complete here means that Toki was probably ready to hit the final phases of development. According to Beta Phase Games, the team that possess this, never before known, version list some differences between the 7800 version and the arcade original. One glaring omission by Atari is that the final level is simply not available- not even on the over world map- which means it was probably never intended to be in the game. This could be for many reasons, particularly due to the lack of memory, but could also be due to budget constraints.
Other omissions include no swinging ropes, many background graphics not being present and of course, sound effects being different. These are changes that are obvious though considering the limitations of the hardware versus the arcade unit.
Beta Phase Games are currently investigating options for release of Toki. More information to come.
We are going to be following Toki for the Atari 7800 quite closely, hopefully landing an interview with the team at Beta Phase Games soon.