Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
Back in the days before the advent of all the high tech stuff, a game was evaluated solely on the basis of whether or not it could entertain you. Well, this little old fashioned jewel does just that! It's like a throwback to an earlier period in adventure gaming, and it reminds us of many of the things that we loved about those old games.
The developers must have had a ball making it: you can almost sense the fun they were having! It's sort of a combination Monkey Island - Indiana Jones adventure, with a unique little 'time warp' background story that lends itself to all sorts of unexpected and delightful twists and turns.
Tim, the self described hero with "brains like Rambo and brawn like Einstein", and his true love, the beautiful Diana, are walking home from a date one night when they inadvertently stumble across a group of thugs, apparently in the midst of committing a robbery. Suddenly noticing that Tim and Diana are watching them, the thieves quickly scramble to leave while their leader, a man with a wooden leg, fires a strange laser-like ray gun at the couple.
In the ensuing gun battle between Tim and the thugs, Diana is hit first and she collapses in a heap to the pavement, obviously stunned. But just as Tim reaches out to try to help her, she disappears before his very eyes, leaving only her clothes behind on the sidewalk! And before he even has time to register this new turn of events, he himself is hit ..... and awakens to find himself naked and alone back in another time, somewhere on some God-forsaken island that is run by a pirate named (believe it or not) Captain BlackOneEyedRavenWithOneLegBroken!
This is a 2D, 3rd person, point and click game with multiple paths and endings, a smart cursor, inventory (in Tim's amazing pants, once he has some again!), and subtitles. And don't worry about the fact that the box and the instruction sheet are in German: the game itself (voices, subtitles) is in English and it installs very easily. The game does require a patch however in order to progress beyond Chapter One, but that can be downloaded HERE and installed either prior to playing or after you have begun.
The retro 2D backgrounds and characters are detailed and charming, with periodic higher quality cut scenes to advance the story, and the care taken to make movement realistic (climbing, uncoiling a rope) is impressive. There is a choice of background music (modern or pirate), and you do have controls to turn it down.
The puzzles are pure old timey adventure fare: they're fun to do, and we loved them. They are not too difficult and ample clues are provided. But if you do get stuck, just remember to revisit all areas, check everything in your inventory, and if all else fails, look behind Tim!
The humor is good and all low key. There are some places where both the voice and the translation could have been improved, but it doesn't really detract because most of the humor is visual. And many small 'sight gag' touches have been added throughout just to make you smile (Tim's embarrassed way of walking when he's naked, and the way he stores inventory items, and the look on the fly's face after it's hit with the cannonball).
The unusual nature of the story of course provides the perfect opportunity for some good natured spoofing of the classic adventure themes, and that means that you're never quite sure what you may see next (an Egyptian temple? a Spaceship?). But that makes for an engrossing game. It is a little short, but it has a great ending which more than makes up for what it lacks in length. You can't die in the game, but make sure that you save at least twice toward the end: once just after you escape from the well so you can experience both paths from there, and once after that just before you cross the rope bridge so you can see all 4 wonderful endings.
They'll leave you smiling ..... and that's a sure sign of a good game!
Developed (2002) by Mayhem Studios and published by ARI Germany.
Minimum System Requirements:
PC: Pentium 100 MHz Processor; Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / ME / XP; 64 MB RAM; 4X CD-ROM Drive; DirectX Compatible Graphics Card and Sound Card; Approximately 450 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; Keyboard and Mouse
Where To Buy This Game:
Walkthroughs or Hints: