Tuesday, 30 June 2009

PC Game Review - Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures Episode Three: Muzzled!

Muzzled! is the third episode in the Wallace & Gromit: Grand Adventures series by TellTale Games. The games are 3D third-person adventure games featuring the famous claymation characters, with the player controlling either shrewd mutt Gromit or absent-minded inventor Wallace at different points in the game. Control is via keyboard and mouse, though the keyboard can be used on its own. The method I (and most people, I would think) prefer is using the keyboard to move the characters around, and the mouse for item selection and inventory management. Though this method did grate on the nerves a little at first, I'm quite used to it now and find it quite satisfactory. (If this is the first episode you play though, expect a bit of annoyance at first.) There is a tutorial which is quite annoying but does help you get used to the interface.

The plot is typical hare-brained madness... a newcomer by the name of Monty Muzzle visits town. A smooth talker and instant hit with most of the locals, he's aiming to set up a dog shelter for the local lost mutts in the area, hosting a funfair to raise the funs. Though all the humans seem to be taken in by him, Gromit soon smells a rat... but will he be able to prove that Monty Muzzle is not the man everyone thinks he is?

The graphics are good, with characters and sets that look like they could have come straight out of one of the films. Wallace and Gromit are both portrayed well, though Gromit narrows his eyes more and rolls them less than in the films. Ben Whitehead does a very creditable job of voicing Wallace (he's the official Aardman Animations stand-in for Peter Salis), and all the rest of the voice cast do a good job as well. There are some fun sound effects and a lively music score to help proceedings along. Aesthetically it's very pleasing if not amazing.

The puzzles involve talking to people and using various objects on things to achieve the desired result, as with all adventure games. There are some decent puzzles in Muzzled!, but the game's biggest problem is that it's far too easy. With a very limited number of locations, characters and objects there are not a huge number of combinations of things to try; in addition the dialogue contains a lot of clues, perhaps too many, as to what you need to do next. (This is with the hint system turned off completely, in case you wondered.) Coupled with the fact that it's an episode rather than a full-length game and you don't end up with much playing time - I'd be very surprised if it took anyone more than 2 hours to complete, and to be honest I can't think of any puzzles that too me more than a minute or two to solve.

Having said that, while there's not much to this game, it's still very enjoyable. The combination of good aesthetics, a simple but engaging plot and lots of humour make it a very agreeable couple of hours. Unfortunately this type of game has very limited replay value. It really comes down to whether you think nine dollars (just over a fiver in British money) is worth paying for a game that you'll complete in a couple of hours. Since it is very enjoyable I'd say yes... just about. Normally speaking I'd expect much more game play from any game, even a cheap one. Oh, and the ending is very funny - setting up an intriguing season finisher in episode 4 when it comes out.

System Requirements:
Operating system: Windows XP / Vista (Vista64 unsupported)
Processor: 2.0 GHz or better (3 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent recommended)
Memory: 512MB (1GB recommended)
Video: 64MB DirectX 8.1-compliant video card (128MB recommended)
Sound: DirectX 8.1 sound device
DirectX®: Version 9.0c or better

Well, those are the official system specs - but I ran it on Vista 64-bit and had absolutely no problems with it!

Related Reviews

More Adventure Game Reviews

Monday, 29 June 2009

First Thoughts - Tenis Elbow 2009 and Tennis Elbow Manager

Have tried the two tennis games I mentioned in this post - haven't been able to really get the hang of the controls for Tennis Elbow 2009 yet, but I'm really enjoying playing Tennis Elbow Manager so far. Not that I'm doing very well with it... at least, keeping your finances in order is pretty tough - currently I'm £33K in debt!

As soon as my young player starts winning more matches, I'm sure it'll even out...

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Update to PC Game Reviews list

Since I've decided to add a rating out of ten to each game I review from now on, I've put a rating next to each game on the Game Reviews by Genre list. So far the only game to earn a perfect 10/10- is Sam & Max Season One.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

First Thoughts - Keepsake

Not quite sure what to make of this one yet... the graphics look nice, the interface isn't bad, it successfully builds up a mysterious atmosphere and the humour is quite good once the game gets going; however there seem to be a huge number of locations with absolutley no interactable objects in them. It seems to me that the developers have tried to make it a cross between a traditional third-person adventure game and a Myst-like game... since I've never been a fan of the Myst games, this doesn't seem like a good thing to me.

Anyway, will keep playing and post again once I've got an overall impression of the game... it just crashed on me so I'm downloading the two patches available on the game's official site, hopefully that will sort out the problem I encountered.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Saturday, 27 June 2009

PC Game Review - New Star Grand Prix

If you have fond memories of Super Sprint – or in fact any 2D racing game – then New Star Grand Prix is definitely a game to interest you. At its heart is a simple but supremely playable racing game with extra bits thrown on to make it a more interesting gaming experience.

The heart of the game is the Formula One World Championship, comprised of 17 authentic race tracks from across the globe. At the start of the game you choose your team and which driver you’re going to replace – naturally the team you select will have a bearing on how well your car will perform. I’ve currently got 2 games going, one in normal mode with team Brown (the team names are those of the real-life teams with a letter or two changed – same for drivers), and the other in easy mode with Form Indie (the worst team as far as I can see). With the first game I’m doing relatively well but only have 2 race wins halfway through the season, the second I’ve won or virtually every race. The cars do genuinely handle differently, with the superior acceleration and higher top speed of the Brown car very obvious. There are two difficulty levels above Normal, so even if you master the lower levels quite quickly, you should still have some challenge from the game.

The graphics are relatively simple but are stylishly done – in fact the whole game from race interface and game menus to aesthetics have a simple elegance about them. There is also a nice level of attention to detail which isn’t necessarily obvious immediately, such as the visible slipstream behind your car. The engine noises sound okay, they can get a bit monotonous but then they can in any racing game. The effect of several cars revving up at the same time is pretty realistic, and the music is very good.

The races do require a certain amount of strategy despite the simple control system. Pit-stop strategy, overtaking techniques and weather conditions all play a role in the game and however good a driver you are otherwise, if you ignore these aspects your success will be very limited – even in Easy mode to a large extent. You may also find that skipping every practice session may be a bad idea!

It’s not all about the driving however – you also have to keep your boss, friends, pit crew and fans happy. There are various ways of doing this, and obviously your performances on the track have a lot to do with it. Race wins or good positions will make your boss and fans happy. Going to the casino with pit crew or friends cheers them up. Conversely, damaging your car tends to upset the pit crew, while lousy performances will upset your fans – and probably your boss, too. Apart from the little star ratings for your boss, fans, pit crew and friends, there might be other benefits that come up later in the game because of having good ratings – for example I got a $100,000 contract due to my popularity. Money can be used to buy fancy cars or properties.

All in all there’s a surprising amount of depth to New Star Grand Prix, which ably backs up the instantly accessible game play. There’s a certain amount of retro feeling to this game – which to me is a good thing – it harks back to the days where a game could keep you playing for months without you having had to read a detailed manual or play a lengthy tutorial first. There’s a track editor with the game too. Oh, and as if that’s not enough, there are online leaderboards as well – just in case you feel that your times can challenge the best in the world. Sadly I don’t think mine would get close... Mods and tracks are already being (and have been) developed for NSGP, so the game’s possibilities will continue to expand. With that in mind and considering how good the game is already, I’m rating it 9/10. At just $9.99 / £7.49 / 7.99 euros, this game represents superb value for money.

To get your trial version or buy the game, Click Here.
To see what’s going on in the official NSGP forum, Click Here.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

New Indie Game Releases

To be honest I'm not quite sure how new these are, but they've only come to my attention very recently...

Well-known budget label Mastertronic (whose games I've been buying ever since the days I owned a Commodore 16!) have recently taken the decision to go back to their roots and promote games by indie publishers - the first release under their new label GIG ("Great Indie Games") is the weird and potentially wonderful World of Goo Good title, anyway... Click here for the info page.

"World of Goo is an innovative blend of puzzle and construction games...

48 different levels in five different chapters with wide-ranging objectives and a variety of goo. New goo is introduced early on in each chapter, and subsequent missions progressively ramp up the challenge and force you to put it to good use."
Also, our friends at New Star Software have developed two new sports games - Tennis Elbow 2009 and Tennis elbow Manager. I'd always intended on coding a tennis management game myself, but never got round to it... I'm sure New Star have done a much better job of it than I would have anyway! With Wimbledon in full swing, this is a great time to check out a new tennis game. Will post my thoughts on the demo version in the near future.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Monday, 22 June 2009



New Star Grand Prix has been updated to version 1.1. It now features hugely improved driver intelligence, up to date car stats and a whole raft of tweaks and fixes. A trial version is available from www.newstargames.com.

Oxford, UK – June 22, 2009 – New Star Grand Prix has been updated to version 1.1. New features include improved driver intelligence and updated car stats to make it the most exciting and realistic top-down racer available.

New Star Grand Prix is a top-down racing game inspired by classics such as Super Sprint and Micro Machines, but brought bang up to date to feature all the teams, drivers and tracks of the 2009 GP. It features a full career mode that spans up to 10 seasons where you must compete against the world’s best drivers on 17 real-world tracks. During your career you will need to manage your finances and relationships with the team boss, pit crew, friends and fans. You can gamble at the casino and even purchase sports cars, but it is on the track where you must really prove yourself. Races feature changeable weather conditions, tyre wear, car damage and fuel loads, all of which affect your car’s handling and will require careful monitoring if you want to make tactical pitstops. The camera can be zoomed in or out to suit your driving style and after the race you can upload your best laptime to the online leaderboard. The game also features a comprehensive track editor that will allow you to design and race on your own tracks and is playable in 12 languages (English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Polish, Finnish, Turkish, Slovenian.)

Trial versions for PC and Mac are available from www.newstargames.com/nsgp.html and the full version for can be purchased for $9.99. Please contact Simon Read for a review copy.

Based in Oxford, UK, New Star Games is a small independent company with a passion for sports games. They pride themselves on giving gamers what they want and can often be found interacting with fans on the forum: www.newstargames.com/newstarforum.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog



New Star Soccer 4 has been updated to version 4.07. Exciting new features include better player AI, more realistic goalkeepers and a whole host of improvements. It is now playable in 9 languages. A trial version is available from http://www.newstarsoccer.com/.

Oxford, UK – June 22, 2009 – New Star Soccer 4 has been updated to version 4.07 and now features a much more realistic match engine due to improved player and goalkeeper intelligence. Along with various bug fixes and gameplay tweaks, it is also now playable in 9 languages (English, Bulgarian, Brazilian-Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese and Romanian.) A trial version is available from http://www.newstarsoccer.com/.

About New Star Soccer 4

New Star Soccer 4 is unique title that sees you starting out as a young footballer on the road to success, fame and fortune – if you have what it takes. Whether you choose to start at a premier team or in the lower leagues you will need to prove yourself on the pitch and off it. Build your skills in training then show the boss what you can do on match day. You will also need to keep an eye on your relationships with friends, media, girlfriend and more because if your personal life suffers so will your performance. There will be difficult situations to deal with and the choices you make will ultimately determine your success.

NSS4 features over 90 leagues from around the world, with more than 3,000 clubs and 30,000 players. The new 3D match engine gives you complete 360 degree control and allows you to view the action from any angle. Play roulette, blackjack or the slot machine at the casino, have a bet at the races and even buy and train race horses. Earn sponsorships to unlock new features such as different boot colours and obtain up to 50 achievements, including the illustrious ‘Player of the Year’ award. It is playable in 9 languages (English, Bulgarian, Brazilian-Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese and Romanian.)

Trial versions for PC and Mac are available from www.newstarsoccer.com where you can also purchase the full version for $24.95. Please contact Simon Read for a review license.

Based in Oxford, UK, New Star Games is a small independent company with a passion for sports games. They pride themselves on giving gamers what they want and can often be found interacting with fans on the forum: www.newstargames.com/newstarforum.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Completed: Wallace & Gromit - Muzzled

Well, this episode was short but sweet. Really enjoyed it, but felt that it was probably too easy - even with some fairly lengthy cut-scenes I wouldn't expect it to take more than 2-3 hours for most people to complete.

Full review soon...

Related Posts:

Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures: Muzzled now released!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Friday, 19 June 2009

Game Ratings Change in the UK

Age Ratings are under review in the UK for all games, with stricter regulations it seems. .

I tend to stay with games rated 12+ or less, though some such as the CSI games have had a 16+ rating because of the crime details being for a more mature audience. It seems that a lot of games are going to be affected by the new PEGI ratings... we'll just have to wait and see whether this turns out to be a good thing or not (or, indeed, makes no significant difference).

Read more about this on Gamespot

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures: Muzzled now released!

The third episode of Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures has now been released - see Muzzled!, the third episode of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – please alert your readers! The episode is available for PC from www.telltalegames.com/store/muzzled for more details.

Here's the video:

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Screenshots from the forthcoming "Flash DC Online Game"

The Flash Online Game - not Adobe Flash, the superhero...

... got a kind of weird press alert sent to me on behalf of Sony Online Entertainment today... maybe comic book fans will be able to make more of it than I did?!

Sony Online Entertainment Reveals The Flash in DC Universe™ Online!

The Fastest Man Alive, Wally West easily runs at light speed, vibrates through objects, create explosions through friction – and, when at agonizing top capacity, can manipulate time and bridge dimensions.

The Flash is a time-honored member of the Justice League. The latest in a long line of Flashes, each with their own unique way of tapping into the primal “Speed Force,” Wally is determined to live up to the noble legacies of speedsters such as Barry Allen, Max Mercury, and Jay Garrick.

Flash’s enemies call themselves the Rogues Gallery. This deadly collection of brutal foes includes Captain Cold, Heatwave, Mirror Master, and the lethal speedster Zoom – villainous threats not just to Keystone City, but the world.

Er... that's all they sent. Trying to build up suspense through mystification?

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Freeware Adventure Game Review - Breakdown

From One Dollar Productions comes this short but sweet game that spoofs Star Trek and sci-fi in general. When the Captain decides to dispense with the autopilot and manages to break the ship, it's left to you, a lowly ensign, to fix it. Don't expect much help from the crew...

So, ship's handbook in... well, in hand, and courage in your heart, you go off on your quest to get the engine working. It's a small game, not many locations or characters, but it's well put together. It has retro style graphics which are very nicely done, and some cool animation effects - I particularly liked the animation when you're being transported between rooms on the ship. There's a lot of humour in the game and the puzzles are done well, not too easy but still logical.

I also liked the fact that there's a lot of humour packed into this game - yes, mostly at the expense of dear old Star Trek. The intro features some good lines, in particular:

"... our mission to go where others have gone before...

... and make sure it's still all right".

If you liked adventure games and sci-fi, you'll definitely want to play this game - a mere 1.6Mb download size.

Here's the link you'll want having read my short (but excellent - ?!??) review of this short but excellent game:

One Dollar Productions Website - Breakdown

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Monday, 15 June 2009

This Blog's 1st Anniversary!

Slightly belated, but I just noticed that 12th June 2008 was the date of my very first post on this blog. 430-odd posts on, it's still going strong and, I hope, becoming a valued resource for a number of PC Gamers.

I'd especially like to thank my regular readers (come on, there must be at least 2 of you... Gnome, SSH and Dualnames pop in quite often I know) - without you I'd be... er... unread?

I wonder how many times I've used the word "er" in the last 436 posts?

Oh well...

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Sunday, 14 June 2009

First Thoughts - Strong Bad Episode 1 - Homestar Ruiner

Well this is... odd. Oddly enjoyable, but still very odd.

It's an adventure game by the people who brought you Sam & Max, but (so far) I haven't found it to be anywhere near as good. It's got a strange style, mad characters and insane mini-games - certainly it's a breath of fresh air to the gaming industry, and it certianly looks like it has potential. I remain to be convinced however, will let you know when I've got further into the game...

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Evony - Yes, the Adverts Get Even More Stupid!

In a previous post, Evony - the daftest advert yet?!? - I thought that perhaps Evony's marketing department had managed to surpass themselves in the stupidity stakes. (Not necessarily a stupid marketing plan, incidentally... I'm sure many people clicked on the advert, in which case it was clever marketing, but undeniably a stupid advert...)

Er, anyway... the thing is... they've now got one that is, to use terrible grammar... even more stupider.

Seriously, this one takes the biscuit.


CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Saturday, 13 June 2009

New Retro Gaming & Emulation Blog Launched!

I've been blogging about quite a bit of retro gaming and emulation stuff over here, but since this is a PC Gaming Blog, I don't want that side of things to take over. To this end I've launched a Retro Gaming and Emulation Blog to deal with all my 8, 16 and 32-bit memories, and talk about emulators and the games I've been checking out on them.

Isn't it ironic though... you buy a high-powered gaming PC, then spend most of your time playing games that are ten or more years old! Madness... but the good sort of madness - I think!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

ZX Spectrum Emulation - even on Vista!

Took a while to find a Speccy emulator that worked well (or at all) with Vista, but I seem to have found one. Emulating a number of Spectrum (and Amstrad, I think) machines on your PC, I present to you: ZX Spin.

So, all you Speccy lovers, check out the website and grab that download at: http://www.zxspin.com/

The screenshot, for those so appallingly uncultured and uneducated that they don't immediately recognise it, is from Feud - one of the greatest games of all time. Well, to me and quite a few others!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

First Thoughts - Tribal Wars

Tribal Wars is an MMORTS similar to Evony, but I've heard reports that it offers better player protection for beginners / while you're offline. I guess your opinion on that would vary widely depending on how successful you've actually been in other online games, or perhaps whether you'd unwittingly upset or become the repeated random target of powerful players in the game. My own motivation is, of course, to try out as many games as possible and post my findings on this blog, so I'll leave you to decide what type of game you want!

Anyway, Tribal Wars starts you off with, as you would expect, one city. You build that up and upgrade your town hall, resource collectors, etc. To be honest it doesn't look like the battles enter into the game until a bit later; I'm just building my city up for now, anyway. Looking pretty good so far.

One nice feature is that the game will actually send you an email when a construction is complete. This is a very good idea since there often isn't a great deal to do in these games until you've completed a building project, and you safely forget about the game and wait for the email. Another nice touch is that the email contains a link that actually lets you log straight into the game (of course, make sure no unscrupulous folk have access to your email!). Nice clean interface too with plenty of well-placed links to help functions.

So, looking good so far, will comment more when I've played a bit further into the game.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Friday, 12 June 2009

Farmersi - Online Game Information

In a comment elsewhere on this blog, someone mentioned a game called Fermersi (rather clever title really). Apparently it's really big in Poland where the game originated, but not very well known to the rest of the world. Though I've not got time to try this one out at the moment (gotta check out Tribal Wars first), it does look interesting so I thought I'd give it a plug here.

Set in the Wild West, it's a turn-based strategy game that is for those "not afraid to think". Here's the official blurb:

Farmersi is not just another mindless multiplayer browser based game. It is an economic game in which players manage their virtual farms in the Wild West - they grow crops, raise cattle and make investments.

Create your own farm and manage it better than other players to win! Make continuous progress with your character while you challenge opponents in normal, league, scenario, and team play! Individual games are 1-9 players at a time and last for 6-17 turns, with turns calculated every 5/10 minutes, 12h, or 24h. While you are having fun you just might also learn helpful business skills and develop insight into how economies and markets function.

If anyone gives it a try and would like to review it, drop me an email.

Here's the link:


CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Onilne Game Review - Molehill Empire

Only a short review of this one because, to be honest, there's not a huge amount to this game. It's basically a farming game where you start off with a garden and a few seeds, which obviously you then plant. As you get more points from growing things, your level goes up and a greater variety of plants become available to you. Different plants have different yields, and some planning is required if you are to keep your customers happy - some NPCs just wander up to you with certain requests (in effect, shopping lists!), while there are also market stall features where you can sell to other players. You can also buy from other players, and there are other features to enable you to buy special items and decorations for your garden. So you plant, water, harvest, sell, and then use the money to clear more spaces in your garden to plant seeds, or buy decorations to make it look pretty.

All this may sound rather unexciting to you, and to be honest it's not the most thrilling game around. There are other features to the game that I've not yet come across, but the basics are those detailed above, and I get the impression that the main game remains much the same in later levels. However there is something about this game... somehow it's quite compelling, and despite myself I keep coming back to it. It is definitely a game for those who maybe don't want as competitive an atmosphere as most multiplayer online games have, and some gentle relaxation for others who might not think it's their sort of game.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Screenshots from Wallace & Gromit Episode 3: Muzzled

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Coming Soon - Wallace & Gromit Episode 3: Muzzled!

Episode 3: Muzzled!

Introducing Monty Muzzle - charitable philanthropist or canine conniver?

Monty Muzzle, a newcomer in town, is holding a grand fundraiser to rebuild the local dog shelter. Gromit soon realizes that Muzzle's intentions aren't exactly charitable and he must foil the huckster's plot to save the town's investment and rescue his canine friends.

Press embargo until 16th June, hope to resolve the problems I'm having with my review copy by then so I can give you some feedback!!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

How to Choose an Adventure Game

Well, most of you already know perfectly well what sort of adventure games you like... but for those who might be interested I've written a guide, including a brief history of the adventure game on home computers, over on Epinions. If you're insane enough to want to read it, click here!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Monday, 8 June 2009

Further Thoughts on "Molehill Empire"

I dunno... it's weird, somehow compelling in a completely indefinable way, but I doubt that this is a game I'll be spending much time on. You plant seeds, water them, wait for them to grow, harvest them, and can then sell them so that you can clear more of your garden to sow more seeds, or buy ornaments for the garden.

While I applaud the game designers for making a non-violent game, I've yet to see anything about it that would really make me want to play it long-term - being able to buy things to make my garden look pretty and then save a screenshot of it somehow doesn't make me tingle with excitement. If anyone has any experience of this game, particularly of perhaps more interesting things you can do when you've levelled up a bit, please leave a comment!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

PC Game Review - Full Throttle

Full Throttle is one of the games that comes from what it commonly known as LucasArts' "golden age" of adventure gaming, and has a sizeable cult following - maybe not quite on the scale of Monkey Island's fan base, but still impressive. For this reason my expectations of the Full Throttle were high, especially considering I've enjoyed almost every one of Lucasarts' adventure games immensely. While I wouldn't rate Full Throttle as one of the very best, it's safe to say that anyone who likes adventure games will enjoy it.

The game's setting (a post-apocalyptic biker-gang dominated world) is rather different from most other LucasArts adventures, and this in itself makes Full Throttle stand out a little. Effectively what happens in the lengthy introduction can be summed up as: Ben (your character and leader of the Polecats gang) is offered a job by an old man who heads an influential company. The old man is sympathetic to the bikers, having been one himself, but his associate isn't so principled... soon enough Ben finds himself wanted for a murder he didn't commit, his gang have been ambushed, and he must find a way to help himself, his gang, the world in general, and a woman he will inevitably fall in love with.

Though it obviously looks very old by today's standards, the graphics were obviously lovingly crafted and the animation very detailed. There are some 3D sequences which look horrendously primitive now but must have been quite an innovative feature in an adventure game at the time. Back in 1995 when the game was first released, I guess it all looked mightily impressive, but today only retro gaming fans will truly appreciate them.

When it comes to the sound, however, there's no such negative comparison to today's games - the voice acting is superb (albeit I did find the main character's gravelly voice a bit annoying after a while), the sound effects are very good and the soundtrack seriously rocked. It is the excellent music, effects and voicing that really gives this game its atmosphere. Among the voice talent for this game are Roy Conrad and Mark Hamill, who had famously lent his voice to just about every computer game apart from any Star Wars games. Talk about being typecast...

Er... anyway, the game itself is pretty standard stuff, with some good puzzles and a good plot to keep things going. The tone is a lot darker than most of the LucasArts games of the time, though there is a little humour to lighten things up a little. There are a few mini-games, the most common of them being the bike battles where you have to knock your opponent off their bike before they do the same to you; to be honest these mini-games are of dubious value to the game. While the game play is generally good, it doesn't really add much new to the genre. I wasn't too thrilled with the interface either; Full Throttle uses a verb-coin that's quite fiddly to use at first, though it's easy enough to get used to and having the option to kick things is rather novel and can lead to some unexpected results!

The game ran fine even on Vista for the most part, though there are some serious problems (which, looking online, seem to affect the game with varying frequency in different versions of Windows and even when running the game under VirtualSCUMM). The most serious of these is that the key to bring up the load / save menu simply doesn't work at times - for no apparent reason, you will be completely unable to save your progress. This eventually stopped me in my tracks, though not until I'd got a good way into the game. In addition to this, the hotspot recognition often seemed quite erratic; objects would be picked up by the mouse cursor one minute, not the next.

Creator Tim Schafer, a gaming legend in his own right, has created something with a unique atmosphere here. All in all though it comes down to Full Throttle having more style than substance, though it has style in plenty and certainly there is a worthy game in here. Without the bugs I would have given it 4 stars; as it is (unless I can find a fix which I've been unable to locate so far), it's 3 stars but still worth picking up if you like other LucasArts adventure games.

PEGI Rating: 12+ for some violence and language

Speaking of other LucasArts Adventure Games:

The Monkey Island Archives (MI 1-3)

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

More Adventure Game Reviews

Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Start of a Brave New World for PC Adventure Game Fans?

With the recent news of Monkey Island: The Special Edition being in production along with the new “Tales of Monkey Island”, plus TellTale Games’ sterling work with Sam & Max and Wallace & Gromit; the recently released Ceville and the soon to be with us Runaway 3, adventure game fans have never had so much good news all in one go. But when you look at it in terms of actually new games, and actually long games in the style we’d become accustomed to in the glory days of Sierra and LucasArts, the news isn’t so good. LucasArts are talking about re-envisioning other games in their back catalogue, and from what I’ve seen so far, that will also be good news. The episodic formula of TellTale’s games works very well. But...

But but but... what about some genuinely new games (whether or not they’re part of a series I don’t care), that are done in the style of the classics but a bit more modern (by this I mean... yes good graphics etc are nice, just don't make them more important than the gameplay)? Because of the way they’re doing the Monkey Island: Special Edition, it’s clear that at least one person at LucasArts has realised that we’re really not very impressed by 3D graphics. We don’t care if a game is visually stunning if the storyline and puzzles aren’t as good. What we want is good old-fashioned adventure gaming with a strong plot, mind-bending puzzles (okay, maybe not too mind-bending!) and preferably lots of piratey humour. Okay, not necessarily piratey... but definitely lots of humour.

So basically what I’m saying is... I hope this is the beginning of a new golden era of adventure gaming, I really do. But shouldn’t companies be looking to make great games and not just remake great games? (I’ve said this for many years now, but wouldn’t a sequel to Zak McKraken and the Alien Mindbenders be great? There was of course an unofficial sequel made by LucasFan, pretty good but now unavailable [I think].) The market should be there as there seem to be enough adventure game fans to support new releases.

What are your thoughts? Don’t forget to comment!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Molehill Empire

Decided to try a new online game... not really sure about it yet, so far all I seem to have been able to do is plant a few seeds, water them, harvest the results and plant some more seeds... Still this one looks kind of interesting in a slightly odd way, will keep you updated as I find out more about the game.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

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