A review for Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure is still in progress and life seems to be continually grabbing me and shaking out any money I was carrying. As a result, your Wednesday content is a little different today. Playing a point and click adventure game always gives me a sense of nostalgia so until the review is ready I have some amazing blasts from the past for you that are still worth playing. Time to fire up the ScummVM, boot up the DOSBox, login to GOG and check out some golden oldies.
There was a time when Discworld was king of adventure games. The sequel Discworld II: Missing Presumed…!? was the only title that came to mind for anyone interested in the genre and although Discworld Noir was an attempt to shake things up the first game will always be best in my eyes. The sprite animations are still fantastic to this day but what really sets it apart is the voice acting. Voiced by Eric Idle, Tony Robinson, Kate Robbins, Rob Brydon, Nigel Planer, Robert Llewellyn, and Jon Pertwee. You’ve not only an all star cast but amazingly well written dialogue and incredible puzzles to boot. It’s abandonware for now but if you do go download it from a site just remember to get the CD-ROM version not the DOS disks otherwise the only audio you’ll be hearing is delightful bit-tunes.
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars
A murder mystery in Paris, where a bumbling American teams up with a witty stylish French journalist and accidentally uncovers a secret cult. It seems like this plot now has its own genre these days but Broken Sword is one of the best. The weight of the plot and the acting is superb. Puzzles that are just the right amount of complexity and a balance of adult themes to add weight to the animation that lasts all the way through without being too graphic. There was even an incredible port to the Gameboy Advance but I wouldn’t recommend using a Micro unless you’ve really great eyes. I would avoid the Director Cut of the game like the plague though, I think the additional extra scene and puzzles really ruin what is an explosive start to the original tale.
Going through a catalogue of past titles and looking for one that’s worthy of remastering isn’t that difficult for Tim Schafer. He had his hand in almost every point and click classic from the golden age and there’s a good reason he could successfully fund so many games off a single kickstarter (I actually preferred The Cave over Broken age despite backing the latter) One of the more overlooked titles despite getting a Remaster is Full Throttle. A plot that isn’t focused on the wacky humor expected from his games and more of a gritty tale of a biker gang struggling to adapt to a future time with humor peppered in. The puzzles haven’t particularly aged too well but the technology that allows you to warp between old and new graphics in the Remaster is a wonder to see.
The Curse of Monkey Island
Look. Every human being knows that The Secret of Monkey Island is a stone cold classic. It’s the 2001 AD of the genre and the follow up Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge is the Terminator 2 to this. We’ve even had remasters of those titles and they both function fantastically on the Xbox 360 to this day. The title rarely given as much spotlight despite being well deserved is the third iteration, The Curse of Monkey Island. Granted the overarching story isn’t the strongest and it comes off the back of one of the greatest endings to a video game ever made, But the humor, animation and simple coin interface system is brilliant. It also has one of the greatest musical numbers of any video game ever made. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9bXjttMxKY
Sam & Max Hit the Road
As I was writing this and digging out some very old CDs (hoping they still worked) I bumped into a curiosity. Sam & Max’s intro sequence not only still holds up well to this day but is worryingly relevant given social media in general at the moment. The twisted villain monologues to the bound lady on a box, “Friends!? You just want to be Friends?! After 3 dates?! And for that! You will FRY!” What saves our damsel in distress? An anthropomorphic dog and rabbit who happen to be freelance police. Superb music tracks and fantastic animation, Sam & Max is full of greatness. It even includes a few mini-games just encase you’ve not heard enough voice-lines from the wonderful duo.
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary
Let me tell you this now. This game is a pure Marmite title. Half space simulator half point and click adventure it’s only really on this list for one reason. It was my first point and click adventure game that I finished by myself. Running on a PC that I only faintly remember having a custom Windows build (a 386/468 of some variety) It could just about handle such groundbreaking graphics and gameplay. Star Trek: 25th Anniversary still runs pretty well and the voice-work is by all of the original cast which is nice (I do prefer TNG/Picard for the record) If you do pick this one up, expect to kill crew members a little more often than is healthy but at least Spock will tell you off for it.
Christopher Lloyd. That’s all you really need to know about Toonstruck. Voiced and acted throughout an adventure that takes you not only into a wildly animated and lived surrealist Disney nightmare but full of incredibly dark and twisted themes of being crushed out of a creative mindset. It’s really the most stand out game of this list and if you’ve only ever heard of it but never played it, you owe it to yourself to pop onto GOG or Steam and give it a go. Toonstruck even runs on a Windows 10 high end machine without any issues so what are you waiting for?
Here’s a few more “maybe” games for your list if you’re still hungry for more but these are essentially the list that didn’t make the cut (with the reason why before you @ me):
Flight of the Amazon Queen – It’s good but I don’t really feel like it has aged fantastically.
TeenAgent – It had its time.
Day of the Tentacle – I think it’s great and I’ve a lot of time for it but it’s possibly the most awkward to get back into and you have to get through a lot of grind to get to the good parts.
Beneath a Steel Sky – I’m looking forward to the follow up but I’m not sure about the original.
The Dig – I LOVE IT but I’m very aware I’m not in the majority on this one and the puzzles are pretty awful.
Dark Seed – Gruesome yes but fun? No.
Grim Fandango – I’d say it’s technically much more an adventure as you’ve got those strange tank controls and I can’t just fill this list with double fine games!
The 7th Guest – less a traditional adventure and more a theatre production with obscure minigames
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream – You’re better off watching a walkthrough than guessing the logic here
Simon the Sorcerer – A bit like Phantasmagoria, I love the idea but I just struggle to get into it.
Think I’ve missed a classic from the list? Get in touch!
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