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Extend your arm. Make a “thumbs up.” Now extend your index finger forward, as if to point. Don’t make any sudden movements. You might be shocked to learn that your hand is now a fully functional, über powerful, laser blaster. Be careful where you point it, and make sure you turn on the safety before you holster (pocket) that bad boy! Now that you’re armed and dangerous, it’s time to explore the streets of London, with an upbeat soundtrack behind us. There’s an army of demon cartoons out there–and we’re going to stop them!
Toon Crisis was made originally as an advertisement for a now-defunct Sony Walkman product, though unfortunately the game has since been updated to remove the (rather funny) product placement. Luckily, the excellent music of Gogol Bordello remains to set the tone. The game is a rail shooter which moves you automatically, so all you have to use is the mouse to aim and shoot. Unlike typically violent rail shooters like House of the Dead or other games you might find in an old-school arcade, Toon Crisis is far more lighthearted and fun for everyone.
Just because it looks bright and happy, however, doesn’t mean this is an easy game. Cartoon baddies rush at you with alarming speed, and bullets fly toward you from every direction, forcing you to shoot them down or risk losing hearts. You’ll need to really work that clicker finger–holding the mouse button down works too, though you’ll shoot much more slowly. You can also shoot boxes for temporary power-ups like devil fingers and double barrels.
The contrast between video footage of real-world London and the goofy cartoon villains is reminiscent of 90’s classic Space Jam, and it works just as well here as it did then. Above all, the game is an absolute blast to play, enough to keep me coming back. Plus, once you’ve beaten the (exceptionally tough!) final boss, you can try out the sequel!