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Video Game / Tomba!

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"Tomba loves you, and by golly, America loves Tomba."
US Commercial for Tomba.

Tomba!, known as Tombi in Europe and Ore! Tomba in Japan, is a cult-favorite 2½D platform-adventure series composed of two games starring a pink-haired jungle boy. Tomba must fight the Evil Swine, who have turned the world into a much darker place through the power of their own evil magic, using platforming skills across a fairly large game world.

The game is notable for its quest structure, in which you receive points for every objective completed, instead of just simply going from one point to the next as is the case with many platformers. Also, the plethora of hidden objectives made this a kind of Platformer-RPG fusion.

Two games were released for the PlayStation:

  • Tomba! — 1997
  • Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return — 1999 (known as Tombi! 2 in the UK and Europe and Tomba: The Wild Adventures in Japan)

Both games provide examples of:

  • Airborne Mook: Flying Pigs.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • In the first game, some quests gave you new pants which had different abilities, like moving faster or jumping farther. The second game gives you new pants and suits (like the flying squirrel outfit) from quests and treasure chests.
    • The 100% ending for the second game takes this to its literal extreme; for getting 100% Completion, you get a tuxedo and Tomba trying it on. That's it.
  • Anime Hair: Tomba, who is one of the few male characters with a pink hair.
  • Backtracking: Expect to do a lot of this if you want to get 100% Completion.
  • Badass Adorable: Tomba and Baron the dog.
  • Big Bads: The Evil Pigs who place curses on several areas of the land and collect gold to power their magic.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Baron.
  • Clean Dub Name: The series is known as Tombi in Europe, presumably because "tomba" is Italian for "grave".
  • Mercy Invincibility: Every time you get hit, of course.
  • Messy Pig: The Evil Pigs, led by the Seven Evil Pigs (or Five Evil Pigs in the second game).
  • Metroidvania: You get more and more abilities and items as you progress through the game, allowing you to find secrets and solve quests that you couldn't before.
  • Mooks: The different types of pigs found in both games, of course.
  • Old Master: The first game has four of these! And they go up in age - from 100 to 1,000 to 10,000 to the Million-Year-Old Man. Kainen from the second game is even older.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • In the first game:
      • Break the rolling Spiked Barrel on the Mushroom Forest bridge and that's it! The event involving that Barrel will never be fulfilled!
      • If you go straight for the Gold Medal in the racing minigame, you'll be unable to get Bronze and Silver ones afterwards.
      • You can trigger the Take Out event, but if you accidentally eat the special lunch box before you find who it belongs to, there's no way to ever complete it.
    • In the second game:
      • Make sure that you have every side quest you want to do completed, because once you enter the door with the final Evil Pig Gate, time will stop and you can only finish the main story.
      • One of the Pots of Life in Kujara Ranch is well-hidden and can only be obtained before the curse is lifted.
  • Puzzle Boss: The fights against the Evil Pigs, which consists of trying to throw and trap them inside their dedicated bags.
  • Red Ones Go Faster: In both games, red pants go faster. Or rather, wearing red pants makes Tomba go faster.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Present in both games... until you do a couple of missions in the first game or get the Swimming Pig Suit in the second.
  • Warp Whistle: The Wings (which are one-use) and, later, Baron (who can be used infinitely).
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Everyone comments on Tomba's pink hair. It was even part of the ad campaign.

The first game provides examples of:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: The "Iron Boomerang"; It has good range and can flat-out kill most if not all normal enemies in game. It can even kill a Needlegator while it's still in its shell. Problem is, you can't even get it until just about the end of the game, and the earlier-acquired GrappleJack, while less powerful offensively, is infinitely more useful overall.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Evil Pig Curse over Baccus Village has turned everyone into mice.
  • Bottomless Pits: Lava Caves is riddled with these.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Masakari tribe, courtesy of the Jungle Pig, act hostile towards Tomba and have laid traps for him.
  • The Chosen One: Tomba is said to be this by the Million-Year-Old Man.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • There are Red, Blue, and Green gems that gave you Fire, Water, and Wind powers.
    • Averted with the Evil Pigs, as none of their colors related to their respective attacks or elements, except for the True Evil Pig, who was the final boss.
  • Cute Witch: Mizuno, who's actually referred to as such.
  • Dark Action Girl: The Jungle Pig, the only female Evil Pig.
  • Death Mountain: Phoenix Mountain, especially when under the Evil Pig curse.
  • Developers' Foresight: Baron is needed to open the last Evil Pig's gate. However, if he had not been given all of the healing items, or even if he was ignored entirely, he will be given to Tomba, fully grown, by the Million Year Old Man, who mentions he had been looking after Baron.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: "I Want a Silver Medal" requires you to NOT beat the par time on the kart race, but still not do bad enough to get a Bronze Medal (27.5 seconds). On that note, "I Want a Bronze Medal" also requires you to play just bad enough that you get the worst possible time without either going over that and getting nothing, or going below that and getting a Silver Medal.
  • Eternal Engine: Iron Castle.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Yan's father wears one.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Forest of All Beginnings.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of the side quests will require this.
    • Some of the side quests are so obscure that even finding them is enough of a hassle.
    • Two words that'll make everyone flinch, "Seven Friends". This is one of the last and mandatory quests in the game. The required friends are in random places all over the world, and when you find the first six, you might go crazy looking for the last friend only to find out that it's actually Baron.
    • Finding The Evil Pig Gates.
  • Gusty Glade: Phoenix Mountain under the Evil Pig Curse.
  • Heart Container: The Vitality Max items, which increase Tomba's health by one for each one he collects. Collecting the Golden Bowl increases the maximum amount of health Tomba can have from 8 to 16 total.
  • Heroic Mime: For some reason, Tomba seems to be fairly able to understand what people say, but he's unable to talk.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Hidden Village fits this trope exactly to the point where it actually is almost impossible to find.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Something Tomba is terribly guilty of, by stocking countless items, including living creatures and objects bigger than him, inside of his stomach!
  • Incendiary Exponent: The Jewel of Fire lets you do this. It also gives you the appropriate hair color.
  • Jungle Japes: The Masakari Jungle.
  • Lean and Mean: The Yellow Evil Pig.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The inside of Phoenix Mountain.
  • Meaningless Lives
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: You start the game with the Blackjack, good for smacking around enemies. Outside of the Lava Caves, you get the Grapple, which lets you swing around and hang from walls and ceilings. If you complete the "Power Up for Tools!?" event, you can get the Grapplejack, which functions as both.
  • Ninja: Yan.
  • Parasol Parachute: Charles's parasol acts like this when equipped.
  • Plot Coupon: The Evil Pig Bags, which Tomba needs to collect so that he fight Evil Pigs directly.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang
  • Protagonist Title: Combined with Excited Show Title!.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: One of the Evil Pigs in the game wears a pink outfit and is male.
  • Remixed Level: Every level becomes one when it is lifted from the Evil Pig Curse.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: At the end of the first game, the Million-Year-Old Man asks "What? Your heading back home already?" A few seconds later, the 100-Year-Old Man says "Now who's memory is fading, ehh gramps?"
  • Running on All Fours: Tomba does this when he learn to run faster with the Animal Dash move.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: What Tomba does to the Evil Pigs when he traps them in their dedicated Evil Pig Bags.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Possibly coincidental, but an early task in the first game requires the rescuing of seven dwarves.
    • When the 100-Year-Old Man tells Tomba about the coming of the Evil Pigs, there is a scene in the FMV of the seven Pigs scattering all over the lands that is similar to the seven Dragon Balls scattering after a wish has been granted.
  • Smurfette Principle: Only one of the evil pigs in the game is female, and no, it's not the Pink Pig. It's actually the Navy Blue one.
  • Speaking Simlish: Characters speak in gibberish when talked to. Averted in the second game, which was fully voiced.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: How the game is presented. Averted in the second game which has a much higher proportion of polygons.
  • True Blue Femininity: The Navy Blue Pig is the only female villain.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Tomba himself. Less so in the second game, where he can wear a variety of costumes.
  • Wild Man: Tomba, our hero.
  • Wutai: The Hidden Village.

The Evil Swine Return provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Physics: The propeller that can somehow carve steps out of stone - said steps also seem to be able to stay there perfectly fine without any kind of supports at all.
  • Ass Kicks You: When wearing the Pig Suit, pressing X while in the air causes Tomba to take on a position similar to a cannonball. This is strong enough to kill any enemy that is immediately vulnerable by landing on them.
  • Backtracking: Like in the previous game, expect to do a lot of this if you want to get 100% Completion.
  • Bag of Spilling
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Evil Pig Curse over the Circus Village has turned its inhabitants into pigs.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: One of the Last Evil Pig's attacks is shooting a Blackjack from his staff, just like the same spiked ball Tomba's been wielding since the start of the game.
  • Big Bad: The Last Evil Pig, like in the previous title.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Donglin Forest under the Evil Pig Curse.
  • Blessed with Suck: Some enemies will turn you invisible, which might seem cool at first, until you realize that you can't use any of your clothes or interact with anybody.
    • One adventurer lampshaded it. Semi-subverted, due to Tomba being able to interact with the invisible adventurer.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The translation starts to suffer around when you get to the Water Temple, with grammar errors and pronoun trouble here and there. An earlier and probably the worst example is Mizuno saying that the Hot Powder and Cold Powder "boosts damage due to heat or cold", which may cause players not to use them - why would you use an item that makes you take more damage from hot and cold? Actually, it turns out it was just translated badly - they actually make you impervious to damage from heat or cold.
  • Bottomless Pits:
    • The Pipe Area starts having these after defeating the Evil Fire Pig.
    • There are also some gaps to fall into in Deep Forest, Kujara Ranch, and the Water Temple.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Donglin Forest.
  • Casting a Shadow: The power of the Ghost Pig.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: There are 4 different colors of Inexplicable Treasure Chests: red, green, blue, and white. Random people all over the world have the keys for them, and you need to complete quests involving them in order to get them.
  • Cool Old Guy: Kainen.
  • Damsel in Distress: Tabby.
  • Dark Action Girl: The Water Pig, who, despite her voice, is clearly female.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Earth Pig is a big fan of this trope.
  • Drop the Hammer: Part of Tomba's arsenal, including the Fire Hammer and Torch Hammer.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Only two elements, though. Fire and Ice.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Golden Powder. See Invincibility Power-Up for more info.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: There is an item called Getwell Plant that is used for... getting well.
  • Excuse Plot: Screw the plot, people play the game to bite pigs.
    Quick! Tabby went missing! She was captured by the Evil Pigs because they wanted her necklace for no reason whatsoever! You've got to save her by capturing them in colored purses! You may also deviate from your objective to do ridiculously unnecessary quests that add nothing to the story whatsoever, like transporting cement in a trolley, washing up oversized chickens, and guiding a worm through a series of booby-trapped seesaws so it can eat a leaf!
  • Fat Bastard: The Earth Pig is really fat compared to his colleagues. If his claims are to be believed, he's 78% body fat.
  • First Town: The Fisherman Village. Sometimes, it's even referred to as The Starting Beach.
  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim: Inverted. Somehow, Tomba forgot that he can swim!
  • Foreshadowing: Even if you lift the curse on the Donglin Forest, Baron remains as a statue. This is because he's under the curse of the Last Evil Pig, whose last-ditch effort to stop Tomba involves him doing this to the entire game world.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Baron has been Taken for Granite and left as a statue in Donglin Forest. You're supposed to use Holy Water to un-petrify him, but the thing is that this is a sidequest, and thus you don't really have to free him. Even if you don't, though, he still shows up in the ending.note 
  • Gentle Giant: Gran.
  • Guide Dang It!: "Precious Ring". See Violation of Common Sense below.
  • Hamster-Wheel Power: The lift of Kujara Ranch is powered by a couple of Kujara (giant, rotund bird/seal hybrids) running in one of these. Tomba needs to find their favorite food if he wants to go further.
  • Heart Container: Collecting 2 Half Pots of Life (or the single Pot of Life) increases Tomba's health by one. Completing a certain quest involving Charles prompts the monkey to give him a fruit that allows Tomba to have up to 16 health.
  • An Ice Person: The Ice Pig.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The Golden Powder. In order to get it, you have to get the Golden Moon, Golden Star, Golden Sun, Glacier Boomerang, Torch Hammer, and Doka Pin and then go to the Golden Tower and talk to the Pig Elder while wearing the Swimming Pig Suit. What you get for doing all of that is invincibility that you can enable and disable whenever and wherever you want.
  • Knights and Knaves: The "Who's the Liar?" sidequest has Tomba listening to what 3 girls say and then presenting the "Badge of Liars" to the liar, 3 times. The second session of this quest has the girls calling each other or themselves liars or truthful people, requiring Tomba to figure out which one is feeding him bull.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Great Underground Mine/Pipe Area under the Evil Pig Curse.
  • Making a Splash: The Water Pig.
  • Meaningful Name: The Toradako, those tiger-striped octopodes, are named after tigers (tora in Japanese) and octopus (tako).
  • Minecart Madness: Two of the sidequests in the game have you delivering quick-drying cement by riding minecarts that you must keep on their tracks.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Like the previous game, you start with the Blackjack. In Laughing Crying Forest, you get the Grapple, which lets you swing around and hang from walls and ceilings. If you find the Tower of Wisdom, you can get the Doka Pin, which functions as both.
  • Mood Motif: The music playing during a conversation or cut scene usually depends on the situation. For example, during a normal situation, peaceful music will play. Also, during a emergency or a serious situation, really frantic music will play.
  • Mr. Exposition: Zippo takes the trophy, although there are a few others serving this purpose as well.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Zippo, who acts as Tomba's mouthpiece.
  • Old Save Bonus: Several of the quests in the game are only available if you complete a series of quests and have a save file from the first game (at the Grapplejack point or later).
  • Playing with Fire: The Fire Pig.
  • Power Copying: Defeating one of the Evil Pigs grant you a robe with the powers of said pig.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: One of the miners in the Coal-Mining Town has a pot made for him by another resident of the town. Interacting with it twice causes it to fall on the floor and gives you the Clay Spatula, which you can give to the guy who made the pot. Giving him the spatula along with clay lets you defy this trope by making another pot, which you aren't allowed to break, and giving it back to the first miner finishes a quest.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Judging by the dialogues, it seems like the True Evil Pig is this. He even refers to his battle with Tomba as a "play".
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The five evil elemental pigs: the Fire Pig, the Ice Pig, the Ghost Pig, the Earth Pig, and the Water Pig.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Both Zippo and Tabby, introduced at the start of the game. They are Tomba's friend and girlfriend, respectively, but were never even mentioned in the previous game.
  • Revenge of the Sequel
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Win's machine.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "This is called a Fire Hammer. As you can see, it's a hammer that has the power of fire."
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Kujara Ranch, when it's under the Evil Pig Curse.
  • Taken for Granite: Tomba's canine companion Baron was turned to stone. Fortunately, a bucket of Holy Water will cure him (and even if you don't, he shows up during the ending).
  • Time Master: The Last Evil Pig.
  • Time Stands Still: What the game's final antagonist does to the rest of the world before the final confrontation.
  • Underwater Ruins: The Water Temple.
  • Vent Physics: Tomba's primary means of navigating around the Pipe Area.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • The best way to get oil off of yourself is to swing the Flame Hammer as soon as you're covered. Normally exposing yourself to flames while covered in oil deals damage and removes the oil, but using the Flame Hammer during your invincibility from being hit by the oil instantly gets it off without a problem. And since the only enemy that can cause the Oil status effect is found in an area full of icy blocks that need the Flame Hammer to break, getting oiled is basically just a minor inconvenience.
    • There's a sidequest where you have to fall into a very specific spot in the huge pit in Pipe Area in order to find a clump of mud with a Miner's Ring in it. Falling in the incorrect area is an immediate Game Over. At least Death Is a Slap on the Wrist.
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • Apparently, the voice actor for the Water Pig didn't realize that she was female, even if she refers to herself with feminine pronouns and has a clearly female-shaped body and lipstick. (They may have just thought she was a crossdresser or a transvestite or something.)
    • Mizuno has a mild case of this too - she's supposed to be young and cute, but the voice actress made her sound like an old woman.
    • The three little girls who speak with adult womens' voices in the Kujara Ranch.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Tomba can wear the Water Pig Robe. Despite what her voice would tell you, the Water Pig is female.


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