Playing the story mode of Tokyo Jungle, I took control of a lot of different animals: deer, cats and dogs, just to name a few. I helped a lonely pomeranian survive in this new human-less world and played both sides of a war between beagles and pitbulls. One mission even had me as a lioness, hunting for food around Harajuku station. But it wasn’t until my first mission as a hyena that things really got crazy. Minor spoilers to follow.
In an abandoned train yard due south of Harajuku station, I stood surrounded by a giant pack of my fellow hyenas. At our head stood a dark brown lion with a jet black mane — his body covered in scars. Indeed, it seemed as if the Lion King had come to life inside Tokyo Jungle — but I had no idea at the time how twisted this re-imagining of the tale would be.
“Scar” (as I will call the evil lion for the rest of this article) ordered my hyena to scout across the remains of the Yamanote train line and make my way to Harajuku Station — or “Pride Rock”, if you will — without being discovered. Going in and out of train cars — past crocodiles, hippos, ostriches, water buffalo and lions — I made my way to the rival lion’s train car. Once I had Mufasa’s location pinpointed, I slowly and carefully made my way back to the train (read: elephant) graveyard. Yet just as I crept back in, a young lion cub made his way into our forbidden area and, upon discovery, tried to escape back to Pride Rock. I snapped his neck in my jaws and ate his corpse. With Simba good and dead, Scar gave a rousing speech as our lion/hyena army marched toward the station.
For the next mission, I was put in the shoes of Mufasa, trying to protect my remaining cubs from Scar’s invading army. After wave upon wave of evil lions and hyenas decimated my pack, I faced Scar with only one remaining lioness and cub at my side. At the conclusion of our epic final battle, Scar was defeated-banished from the Pride Lands forever. With Simba #2 safe and Scar gone, this twisted Lion King tale had a happy ending.
And as for Scar and the remains of his army… well, you’ll just have to play Tokyo Jungle to find out the rest.
Tokyo Jungle was released in Japan on June 7 on the PlayStation 3 and is scheduled for a Western release later this year. Stay tuned to Kotaku East for our import preview later this week.