Games | NES | Toobin'

Article by Scott Lowe? | October 21, 2010


Developer: Tengen
U.S. Release: 1989
Format: NES

Like most of my NES games that weren’t Mega Man, I came across Toobin’ in a Blockbuster Video bargain bin sometime around the advent of the Super NES. I’m not sure if it was the goofy box art or the distinct, black Tengen cartridge, but it was hard to resist its calling.

Toobin’ is one of the many games of the NES era to begin its life in the arcades, but beyond the basics of tubing and throwing your litter at the locals, a lot was modified in the conversion. Two-player simultaneous play was out, changing the objective from a competitive river race to a game of pure survival. In addition to the normal tubing hazards, such as trees and islands, the players were tasked with avoiding such exotic fare as the laser Sphinx, six-shooter banditos and even dinosaurs. Bif and Jet aren’t totally defenseless, though, as they can toss soda cans at a 45° angle left or right to stun their assailants.

Along the way the player can collect extra points via floating jewels and gates, pick up more cans for attacking and the letters T-O-O-B-I-N-’ for a chance at continuing after they’ve completely run out of patches (i.e. lives). Some of these treasures are hidden behind the foliage and require a well-placed can to reveal their location. The music tops off the package, with everything from a rocking surf song for the opening stage to relentless cries of the dive-bombing penguins in the Yukon (why in the world there were penguins that far north is still a mystery). All in all, totally tubular.

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