Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
This game is a new version of one of our old favorite detective yarns, Jack Orlando, but now all spruced up and upgraded so you can fully appreciate it on the newer computers. And appreciate it we did, all over again, not only because of being able to enjoy the crisp graphics on a large screen and the great circa 1933 music undistorted, but also because they have tweaked a few of the puzzles to create more of a challenge for the experienced gamer ..... and then some!
Jack himself, of course, never changes. He is an irascible and irreverent has-been private eye, once competent and respected but recently no better than any other common drunk. And now, as perhaps the final chapter in his miserable life, he has been framed for a murder that he didn't commit and has only 48 hours to prove his innocence.
The story is a classic, as is the setting: the period immediately following the repeal of Prohibition in America. The city is reminiscent of the Chicago underworld of that era and both the characters and the dialogues are right on target. It is during the middle of the Depression years and you are moving through the seedy and desperate world of the gangsters and common thugs, the whores and the derelicts, where anger and loss of control are always just under the surface and life is cheap. And they don't mince their words when they talk to each other: the attitude is combative and the words are the language of the gutter.
It is a 2D, 3rd person, point and click game with subtitles and inventory (the inside of Jack's trenchcoat in this new version) and, unlike in the original, there is plenty of room for saved games and a manual in English!
The buildings, objects and characters are all beautifully drawn and movement is both natural and convincing. And the voice acting is good: deliberate stereotypical caricatures of the 'B-Movie' story. The details included are magnificent and this upgraded version allows you to really notice them on a big screen, whether it's something like Jack tying the perfect Sheet Bend nautical knot on an anchor or the random pattern of the foot and automobile traffic in the dirty streets. And, as we noted previously, the great soundtrack by Harold Faltermeyer (he composed the music for the movies 'Beverly Hills Cop' and 'Top Gun') is clear and undistorted and can be appreciated as it was originally meant to be, even on big speakers. We especially enjoyed the wonderful song with lyrics by David Cooke that you hear in the Night O'Granis Club and the end credits.
Unlike the original game, this version can be played in either a Normal mode or an Easy mode where Jack doesn't die. Most of the puzzles in the Normal (default) mode are those found in the original game but many of them have had a 'wringer' or two thrown in to make them even more difficult. In addition, several new puzzles have been added and even one whole new section of the city in order to really challenge the experienced player. And they do, so much so that we found it necessary to write a separate walkthrough for the game (available below) in order to help all those poor souls crying for solutions.
Overall this is an excellent example of what can be done with some of the great old games, and we wish more companies would do the same. We really have only 2 minor criticisms of it, and they are that we wish that the new section had been more in keeping with the rest of the setting and that the inventory had been accessible from the mouse (it is accessed by hitting F1). But as we said, both of these are relatively minor quibbles in light of the immense amount of enjoyment that it makes available to a whole new generation of players. Highly recommended.
© October 2001 Mr. Bill's Adventureland
Originally developed (1997) by Topware Interactive and Upgraded (2001) by ZuxxeZ Entertainment. Published 2001 by JoWooD Productions Software
Rated: 15+ for Ages 15 and Up by ELSPA (European Leisure Software Publishers Association) (use of alcohol, some violence, blood)
Minimum System Requirements:
PC: Pentium 200 MHz; Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / ME; DirectX 8.0; 32 MB RAM; 240 MB Free Hard Drive Space; 10X CD ROM Drive; 4 MB Graphics Card; 16 Bit Sound Card; Mouse and Keyboard
Where To Buy This Game:
Walkthroughs or Hints: