Tuesday, 31 March 2009

PC Game Review - Runaway: A Road Adventure

Runaway: A Road Adventure is a traditional point and click adventure game starring Brian Basco, whose plans to start a PhD course are interrupted by the arrival of Gina Timmins into his life. Their meeting is quite dramatic - he runs into her with his car. When she comes to in hospital, however, she tells a tale of her father being murdered and her life being in danger by members of the Mafia - who seem to be after a strange crucifix which her father gave her shortly before her was kidnapped and killed. Unwilling to believe her at first, Brian is drawn into an incredible tale that changes his life forever...

The first thing that strikes you about this game is the graphical style - traditional 2d hand-drawn graphics though with elements of 3d here and there, they are very nicely done, cartoon-style and superbly animated. The voice-acting too is of a very high quality throughout, and the aesthetics, despite the rather old-fashioned look, lend a very good atmosphere to the game. Our main character, Brian, is a likeable enough fellow, and there are plenty of interesting / zany characters throughout the game. Oh, and the music score's very good too.

The interface is fine - similar to Broken Sword and a whole host of games (left click = interact, right-click = examine) - and having inventory / options at the top of the screen and dialogue at the bottom is a tried and tested method that works well. The main problem with the game is the amount of pixel-hunting you need to do - frequently the reason we couldn't get any further in the game was because we'd missed an item on an earlier screen. Sometimes the object was very small and it took guesswork or close examination to find something. Whether this is going to be an annoyance to you or if you like that sort of thing is of course something you'll know, but I find it rather frustrating. Still most of the puzzles were well-balanced and the clues were there if you took notice of what was happening. On a small number of occasions I felt the solution to a particular puzzle was too obscure, but most of the time they made sense.

A few tips to help avoid too much frustration when playing the game: 1/ some objects / locations that yield a useful object upon performing a "search ... for useful objects" will need to be searched more than once; 2/ some areas will have new objects in them when revisited after certain actions have been performed; 3/ virtually everything that shows up as being viewable / interactable has a definite purpose. If all else fails, try using unlikely combinations of objects. (Well... if all else really does fail, look at online hints / walkthroughs... I tend to do so when really stuck as I'm too impatient otherwise!).

The plot itself is rather simple but well developed, and combined with some great characters is definitely enough to keep the player interested. Some of the dialogue in the game is great, and there's a lot of humour. One or two dialogues have loops that insist you ask more questions when perhaps you'd want to just end the conversation, but as you can skip dialogues by pressing either mouse button that's not too much of a problem.

Overall

For anyone who likes point and click adventure games, Runaway: A Road Adventure is a good game. It looks and sounds good, plays well, and provides a fair amount of challenge without usually being too difficult. I admit the amount of pixel-hunting took the shine off the game for me, but it's still a good quality adventure game that's well worth playing. The system specs are, by today's standards, so low that any PC should be able to play it without any problems.


Getting Runaway to work on Windows Vista

Systems may vary but I got it to work by running it in computability mode for Windows 2000 and forcing it to run in 640x400 resolution. The compatibility wizard failed to work in this instance, and XP compatibility mode was no help. (My Vista is 64-bit so getting it to work in Vista 32-bit might be different.)


Age rating: 12+ (PEGI) - very infrequent swearing, some bad language an mature content at times due to the plot and characters.



See also:

My Top Ten Commercial Adventure Games


The Broken Sword series:

Broken Sword 1: The Shadow of the Templars
Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror
Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon
Broken Sword 4: The Angel of Death

Other Adventure Games reviewed on this blog:

And Then There Were None
Journey to the Moon
Return to Mysterious Island



More Adventure Game Reviews

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ruth

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Online Casinos said...

Nice review! I find road adventure games interesting, and I wanna try. where can I get a download link of this?

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