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Sharky Extreme : Games November 30, 2008

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    Disney's ToonTown Online Review
    By Vince Freeman :  January 30, 2004

    A Toon is Born

    The first step in ToonTown Online is to create a new character, with six slots allowed for available Toons. This involves choosing the type, gender, color, height, size, clothing and other aesthetics of your character, and the game allows quite a few variables to get that right look. Character types include mice, cats, dogs, ducks, etc. and it gives you not only the opportunity to tailor your creation to emulate a favorite Disney Toon, but also to individualize it through the other choices.

    Within the game world, you'll see all kinds, from short, rotund Ducks to eerily tall Goofy clones. The only limitation is in the character name, and although there are may stock combinations to pick from, if you choose a custom name, it needs to be approved first. This is to keep offensive names off the system, and the admins usually take only a day or two to approve.

    The next step is to take part in a short Tutorial. This spells out the basics of the game through a hand-holding exercise. A gent at the ToonTown HQ walks you through the rudimentary steps of movement, tasks and other basic skills, and ending with a battle against a single Cog, which you are predetermined to win. This is a nice touch, and easily slides the newbie Toon right into the game world.

    The ToonTown Game World

    The financial structure of ToonTown Online substitutes jellybeans for money, and you'll need to find or win these to purchase anything. There are a few ways to gain jellybeans, including taking part in Trolley Games (tug of war, water cannon, a Pac-Man-like maze game, etc.), completing certain tasks, or even catching fish and selling them to the Pet Store. The financial aspects of ToonTown is probably the weakest link, as it moves away from the standard "fight baddies for money and experience" and instead relies on outside tasks to build your bankroll.

    The actual game world is broken up into different regions, most named for a specific Disney cartoon character. Donald's Dock, Daisy Gardens and Minnie's Melodyland are a few obvious examples, and these regions are connected by a network of streets. At first, staying close to ToonTown Central is the most logical course of action, as the Cogs get tougher the farther away you home you venture.

    Moving from region to region involves running through connecting streets, which are one-route and easy to navigate, all the while fighting (or evading) the Cogs that prowl the open streets. As the game progresses, you will be given "instant teleport" abilities to move from one region to another, but these teleport options come slowly and you'll still be doing a lot of legwork. Another alternative is to build your Friends list (similar to an AIM/ICQ list) which gives you the opportunity to warp to any listed character's location, or vice versa. There are also multiple "worlds" (or game servers), so if you find your game lagging, check the world numbers and maybe warp to a new server.

    In-game control is a combination of keyboard and mouse. To move, you use the arrow keypad, while menu selection and battle is purely mouse-driven. For example, running and turning are up/down/right/left arrow-functions, but when accessing the game options, information screens and battle selections, it's point and click. This system is quite easy to pick up, and is nothing out of the ordinary for the majority of gamers, especially those familiar with the first-person shooter variety. There is also a rudimentary Chat feature, which in its basic form allows a drop-down menu of canned phrases and physical movements. This works fine, but in order to actually type in comments, you'll need a parental password, which is a nice safety feature.

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