As a kid, I loved the Toy Story film, and you know what else I loved? The Genesis game. Played that game every time I got back from school, before I went to bed, every time I got a chance. A fantastic game. It was pretty much Disney’s answer to Donkey Kong Country.
Bought a Sega Genesis yesterday. Got it from a very nice thrift shop around the block from the very kind old couple running the place. With that, were cartridges of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Aladdin, The Incredible Hulk, and, to my joy, Toy Story. Finally, I thought to myself, a much needed blast from the past. It was Friday, and I had just gotten the weekend off from my job at the local Walmart. I was ready for a weekend-long nostalgic bonanza. Just me and my Genesis.
So after blowing on the cartridge and inserting the disk, I switched the knob to on. After skipping the company logos and legal notices, I got to the title screen. It was Woody’s arms crossed, grimacing at Buzz, who was showing off to the other toys.
I hit the Start button and Woody cried “Yee-Haw!”, as expected. After starting the game, though? Well, after Buzz Lightyear flew across the screen and knocked over the Toy Story logo, things went downhill.
After a description of what happened in the movie, complete with photos, the first level started where you would have to free the green army men and prepare the baby monitor for Andy’s birthday party. An easy stage.
But things were a little off (“A little” being an understatement). The lighting was in the evening sunset, similar to the stages after the RC level, where Woody is confronted by the toys, and must help Rex escape from the room.
Level design was the same as in the original aside from that, but the background music was the Nightmare Buzz theme.
I didn’t know what was going on, but I played along, I guess.
As I ran through the levels, I noticed there were no obnoxious enemies in my path, but a few obstacles to attack with my pullstring. At the end of the stage, on the shelf where the baby monitor would be, there were small pieces of what looked similar to Bo Peep’s limbs. Buzz was standing there, waiting. When I landed on the ground, a cutscene was triggered. Words appeared over a black background.
No music. No digitalized images from the film. Just words in the normal white font.
“Bo Peep took a tumble. She’s gone, Woody.”
I was a bit startled by this. It wasn’t until Toy Story 3 that Bo was written off. So whatever happened? Is this a hack? A joke? Part of the original plot?
Then I saw a completely animated, digitalized CGI clip. It looked like one of those Sega CD clips with the 64-bit graphic capabilities. Much lower than 240p, but probably would’ve look slightly impressive for the time. The clip featured a shocked, heart-broken Woody holding and staring into the eyes of Bo Peep’s severed head, going into a sobbing fit and repeating the word ‘No’, Bo Peep’s eyes staring lifelessly back at him. The weird part? It was the same audio clip from the first Toy Story film, during the scene where Woody lights a match to ignite Buzz’s rocket, only to be thwarted by a passing car.
As Woody sobbed, Buzz pouted in shame.
Then, the clip ended when Woody turned his head toward the screen with a menacing glare, the look of an enraged killer. Then it faded to black, and another audio file played.
Another quote from Toy Story 1, when Andy abandoned the toys at a gas station by mistake.
Gameplay returned. Apparently, I was now fighting Buzz. He seemed to be walking quite slowly toward me. Seemed like an easy battle.
Things got real weird as soon as I whipped Buzz. His parts went everywhere and the Wilhelm scream sound effect played like in the movie. Felt corny at first. Then the screen faded to more white text.
“This was your fault, Buzz. I loved her more than Andy could ever love you.”
Now that really puzzled me. Woody wouldn’t even dare compare his love for Bo Peep to his devotion to Andy, let alone Buzz’s. This cartridge was getting stranger by the minute.
Next, was a still shot of Mr. Potato Head pointing at Woody.
“MURDERER!” cried yet another recycled clip from Toy Story 1.
The shot faded and was replaced with a clip of Woody again glaring at the screen.
Gameplay went back up and apparently, I was supposed to whip Potato Head, Robot, Rocky, Hamm, and strangely, even Rex, who helps you during the game. No music in the background. Just what sounded like a church bell striking twelve.
Pieces flew everywhere as I swatted the toys one after the other. Finally, after swatting Rex, the screen faded again.
More white text.
“I won’t live in a world without her.”
Then, it showed a CGI clip of Woody falling out of the same window that Buzz was knocked out of in the movie. Except he ended up landing in the driveway. His head shattered loudly and violently into shards of plastic as his body lay lifelessly.
After the cutscene faded, I was taken to the fight with Nightmare Buzz. Things were the same, except rather than the usual quote that played before the fight, “You wouldn’t want to be in the way when my laser goes off.”, the sound clip was of Buzz murmuring “Why did you do it, Woody?”
I tried to fight back, but the lasso would only go through him, unharmed, even when he was checking his wrist communicator.
After helplessly losing all my health, Woody went into his Game Over animation where he’d bleakly pound the floor. Then, Buzz flew into Woody and both of them dissolved into the background. Another fade, and more text…
“There’s only one place suited for your kind, cowboy…”
Then, a hellish cave with green fire faded in with the words Game Over, along with the normal Game Over music. Then, fade and one last text.
“I’m sorry, Bo…”
I couldn’t skip the text. It seemed to be one of those unskippable screens, like when you beat a game.
I shut off the system, pulled out the cartridge, and played some Aladdin.
I didn’t sleep all weekend.