Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
A LucasArts game with the leader of an outlaw biker gang for a hero? This is not the kind of theme that we would normally gravitate toward, but a friend of ours (a young mother of two) insisted that we play it because it was her "all time favorite adventure game", so we decided to give it a try. What we found was a tale of corporate espionage and murder set in a mini adventure format, with some arcade sequences (motorcycle gang fights and a demolition derby) thrown in to flesh it out.
In this imaginary world of the future, Corley Motors is the last remaining manufacturer of motorcycles. Our hero Ben, the leader of a gang of bikers called the 'Polecats', rides a boss top-of-the-line cycle made by the company, and the owner of the company, old man Malcolm Corley, is his friend.
As the story begins, Ben is ambushed from behind outside of a bar and awakens inside a dumpster to discover that his bike has been trashed, his fellow gang members are all in jail, and he himself has been framed for murder. Corley's business partner, Adrian Ripburger, in a plot to take over the company, has murdered Malcolm Corley and pinned the murder on Ben.
But with his dying breath, old man Corley makes Ben promise to find his daughter Maureen to head the company. So now Ben, on the run from the law and with no friends to help him, must find Maureen, expose the real killer to clear his own name and save his friends, and keep Ripburger from turning the company into a (heaven forbid) ..... Minivan company!
This is a 3rd person, point and click game with an easy to use interface. The cursor has been designed to fit the hero: a skull for 'look' or 'talk', a fist for 'use', and a boot for 'kick', and the inventory is in the mouth of an even larger skull.
The high quality cartoon style graphics are very impressive and are interspersed with some amazing animated cut scenes (with unusual camera angles) to advance the story. The sound effects are awesome, especially the roar of the bike, and the whole thing is set to killer hard rock background music (and one very funny country western selection!) that you can listen to from your CD (turn on your speakers and refresh to hear some now).
The main characters are perfectly drawn, with great voice acting. Ben looks and sounds like your worst nightmare, but he's really a teddy bear in a gruff suit (almost endearing at times), even letting himself be bossed around by a woman at one point. Ripburger is appropriately oily and evil, and Maureen is a tough-as-nails independent woman who's a better mechanic than Ben! And Horace, the souvenir concession owner, is hysterical: a perfect parody of Ross Perot fallen on hard times.
But despite its good points, in our opinion the game does have some drawbacks. First of all, it's way too short and the puzzles are so few and so easy (and Ben even tells you how to solve them) that most of the time you feel as if you're just watching an animated movie rather than playing an adventure game. On the other hand, the action/arcade sequences are not easy and you must complete them in order to progress. They are puzzles themselves which depend on using the right item at the right time, and there is a time limit on some (fortunately the game will auto-resurrect if you do make a fatal error).
And it certainly can't be called a non-violent game, even if there is no graphic depiction of blood and gore, since most of your 'action' consists of using everything from tire irons to chain saws to kill or wreck rival gang members (even women!).
As you all know, that kind of thing is just not our cup of tea.
Produced (1994) and published by LucasArts Entertainment.
This game was also available, at one time, with 5 other CDs ( The Dig; Monkey Island Madness - includes full version of the Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, and a playable demo of the Curse of Monkey Island; Dark Forces; Afterlife; and a Super Sampler ) in The LucasArts Archives, Volume III.
Minimum System Requirements: Available for both the PC and Mac, but on separate CDs.
PC CD-ROM Version: 486DX 33 MHz; DOS 5.0 and Higher; 8 MB RAM; 2X CD-ROM Drive (MPC Level 2 Compatible - Means can sustain a transfer rate of 300 KB / second while using no more than 60% of the CPU time); VGA 256 Color Graphics Card with VGA Color Monitor; Supports SoundBlaster, SoundBlaster Pro, SoundBlaster 16, SoundBlaster AWE32, Pro Audio Spectrum, Ensoniq Soundscape and Gravis UltraSound Sound Cards; 1 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; 100% Compatible Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard (Joystick Optional)
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