HOME



Bargon Attack

Reviewed by  Wendy Mann


Introduction

Bargon Attack is an old DOS game that was released in 1992.  It was developed by Coktel Vision, the same team that created the wonderful  Woodruff and the SchnibbleLost in Time,  and the three Goblin games.  I could not get it to run in DOSBox, but it ran perfectly in ScummVM on my Windows XP PC.  Bargon Attack is a 3rd person, 2D, point-and-click adventure, and the view of the playing area is mostly from the side.

As far as I am concerned, Bargon Attack is a love/hate game.  I loved a lot of it, and I hated several parts of it.  Before I put you off from reading further:  yes, I definitely would recommend Bargon Attack to those who like old point-and-click adventure games.  But be prepared for some frustrating aspects such as a bit of precise pixel hunting and a tough shooting mini game.

This is a science fiction type game with Bargons / aliens that you need to avoid or shoot while finding out how to keep the Earth from being destroyed.  It relies mostly on puzzle situations, with some elementary shooting as well as a tough underwater crab mini game (shoot the small crabs without hitting the big crab).  It also relies on finding items and clues and figuring out how to use those items in the correct way and in the correct places.  At one stage of the game you acquire an armband, and then find disks to insert that allow you to use the armband to shoot, mutate or translate.  The game has a fairly satisfactory ending:  you save the earth (of course).  But the ending does feel abrupt and left me wondering, “what was that last bit all about?” (Maybe the developers meant to write a sequel).

The game is logically designed and the puzzles are logical.  But a few of them apparently rely on being able to look up things in the manual, which does not seem to be available anywhere on the Internet, hence they would be impossible without referring to the walkthrough at those places in the game.  I read a review on a well-known Internet gaming site that really slams the game and sees little of worth in it.  But I actually enjoyed Bargon Attack.  The graphics are fairly good, clear and colorful (for the era) and very detailed, the story is longish and confusing but fairly standard save-the-earth stuff, and the puzzles range from easy to tough but are very interesting.  However I must admit that I would never have been able to play the game without the walkthrough to refer to when stuck.

There are several scenes where you have to shoot Bargons and other creatures, but they are not too tough and posed no real problem, even with my slow reflexes (apart from the difficult crab shooting mini game, which I had to ask my 12-year-old nephew to do for me!).  But you can die fairly often in the game, so you will need to save frequently.  The controls are very easy to use, relying on mouse clicks.  The game has no overall time limit, but in several places you cannot delay action too long or you will die (no problem, just load your last saved game again).  I had to rely completely on the walkthrough for a few puzzles where I had not encountered clues, so I presume the answers were in the manual, for copy protection.  Thank goodness for the walkthrough.  The quality of the game is quite good despite the pixel hunting, but a few items to be found in the game are literally only one pixel in size, so all you see is a very small dot or glint!!!

I can recommend this game to any point-and-click adventure game fan, but with reservations because of the few pixel hunts, the puzzles that did not have clues within the game (or if they were there, I did not find them, even on a second play through), and the tough crab shooting mini game.  I personally enjoyed it, but it is definitely not at the top of my list of excellent games.  The game does however hold one’s attention very well, and it has an interesting story and puzzles that keep you coming back for another try.  There is no blood or gruesomeness in the game, but there is a fair amount of elementary fighting and dying in various non-gruesome ways.  In my opinion the game would not frighten very young players, but it would probably be too difficult for them.

Story

Green aliens called Bargons are invading Earth.  Needless to say, you need to find a way to save the Earth from ultimately being blown up.  Along the way there are plenty of puzzles to solve, plus a trip to the planet Bargon.

The story is in fact fairly interesting but a bit confusing, especially since the several 'text' screens that periodically appear to flesh out the story tend to move a bit too quickly (or do I just read too slowly?).  Also there are quite a few situations where there are few clues to help you along in the story / game, and you must find out by trial and error what to do.  However that is all part of the fun.

Walkthrough

The walkthrough listed below this review is excellent, and only occasionally leaves out a step or two, which can be figured out.

ScummVM Needed

I could not get the game to run under DOSBox, but it runs very well indeed under the latest version of ScummVM (which I downloaded in Feb 2008).  The game installation is very easy.   Install Bargon Attack, and then install ScummVM (if you do not already have it).  Then open ScummVM, and use the ADD button in the menu of ScummVM to BROWSE to Bargon Attack, and hence add it to ScummVM's game menu.

Interface / Controls

The controls are very easy to use, relying mainly on mouse clicks:

The game is fairly linear...  you cannot move freely about the game world, and certain new screens will only appear when you have triggered the relevant item or solved the current screen’s puzzle, as in many other games of the era.  There are few conversations, but those that there are serve to help the story fall into place.  Happily the inventory can hold all of the items needed.  In fact there are very few items carried in inventory at any one time.  As in many old games, once you have used an item for its intended purpose, it no longer shows in inventory.  In several places, I was amused to see how an inventory item was gotten rid of (e.g. tossed away after use, etc).  There is no game map; you mainly follow a preset path from screen to screen.  And there are only 14 saved game slots, so you have to overwrite previous saved games once you have used up the slots.

Graphics, Music, Sound Effects

In my opinion the graphics are good.  I liked the different colors and the detailed drawings.  And for the most part, it is easy to see what items are (except for the occasional item represented by only one pixel).  The music and sound effects are quite good, especially given that this is a 1992 game.  I actually enjoyed quite a few of the sound effects.  Speech is nonexistent in the game (at least on my PC), and everything is conveyed via text boxes (which is fine because lack of speech does not detract from the game).  There is speech and good music in the introduction.

Puzzles and Gameplay

The puzzles are fairly typical of a point-and-click adventure game.  Some of them require fairly good reasoning.  But a couple left me totally puzzled because I had seen nothing to give clues about how to tackle them, so I had to resort to the excellent walkthrough.  Presumably the clues were set out in the game manual, which I could not find anywhere on the Internet.

The puzzles consist mainly of:

The challenge / difficulty level ranges from easy to tough.  There are no mazes (hooray!).  The game is very easy to control, but requires fairly quick action in several places.

Longevity...  the game is fairly long with a surprising quantity of puzzles, and there are lots of enjoyable features and interesting scenes, so it keeps your attention very well.  However you would probably only want to play it once or at most twice.  And some people may find it too frustrating because of the pixel hunts and the mini game, and because of the couple of puzzles without clues in the game.

Bugs / Hiccups

I found no bugs or system problems.

Conclusion

I personally recommend this game fairly well.  It is good fun, the graphics are well done, the story is the usual save-the-earth basic scenario, the puzzles and connections are very logical (except where the unavailable manual is required or the walkthrough), and it is very satisfying to play when you solve a tricky puzzle or situation.  Try to play it without the walkthrough, but you will definitely need to resort to the walkthrough at a few points.

Bargon Attack is an interesting and attention holding game that I am sure many people will enjoy and some people will hate.

©  May 2008  Wendy Mann



Full View Screenshot as seen within ScummVM


Developed (1990, 1992) and published by Coktel Vision.   Later published by Sierra On-Line .


Not Rated !


Minimum System Requirements:  DOS


Where To Buy This Game:


Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Walkthrough" available here!



Mr. Bill's  Adventureland
Copyright © May 2008
http://www.mrbillsadventureland.com
All Rights Reserved