PSX Mania – 039 – Tobal No. 1 (1996)

Completion time: 14:53

I feel bad for Tobal No. 1. The primary reason anyone spent $50 on the game was to access the Final Fantasy VII demo (I know that’s why I did). It’s a shame because back then, Tobal No. 1 was a rather spectacular release in terms of visual fidelity. Silky smooth 60fps with attacks and motions that perfectly suit such a crisp look. All these years later, it’s still a marvel in the visual department, and everything else is commendable enough.

The 3D movement added a lot to the experience with Tobal No. 1. Having that freedom was unheard of in 1996, where the best a 3D fighting game could do was hitting down twice to sidestep into a third dimension. It actually affects each fight pretty significantly if you can exploit it well enough. The actual gameplay though, is simplistic to a fault perhaps. It’s one of the easiest to pick up 3D brawlers that I can think of, and though there is depth to it, you’ll find yourself sticking to a few simple combos that work like a charm.

The character design was fine. It didn’t really resonate with me at all, but it fit the world well enough. The soundtrack was quality stuff. Everything else overall was functional, and not lacking much. I did not play the Quest Mode for this playthrough, but from what I remember, it’ll add enough replay value, with some poor controls to deal with

While Tobal No. 1 was unfairly forgotten in favor of the demo it provided, it’s still worth a look today. It’s a technical marvel so early into the PS1’s lifecycle, and it plays well enough to pick up right now and take out each fighter without much fuss. While I would recommend Soul Blade for any 3D fighting urges, Tobal No. 1 is one that won’t disappoint, though it won’t thrill you either.

Rating: 7

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I've been writing about gaming off and on since 1998, and a gamer since 1983. After an extended hiatus (and then a hiatus on top of the hiatus), I've decided to open up my own Wordpress site and get back to what's felt like my lifelong passion - writing about anything and everything gaming related. I'm always looking for new opportunities to extend my reach and share my work. If you like what you see, please email me at

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