Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
This is the first time that we have ever reviewed a free game. Usually, when we happen to run across a free adventure game, we simply add it to our Free Games page as a little bonus for our readers, without mentioning it. But we had so much fun playing this one that we decided to bring it to your attention with a Review.
It is what is called a 'Fan Game'. A fan game is a game that was created by someone, usually an amateur, who is such a big fan of a certain game (or games) that he has decided to try making one like it himself. Most such games 'borrow' heavily from the original, and wind up being mediocre at best. But in this particular case, what has resulted is a little gem that is, in some ways, as good or better than many of the professionally produced games that we have played.
It was created by one Roy Lazarovich with a little help from his friends, a man obviously in love with the early Lucas Arts games (as are we) like Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max, etc. It was designed to look and play like those games, and it stars Herman Toothrot, the cantankerous old hermit that we first met on Monkey Island.
As Lazarovich tells it, "it has now been 8 years since that pesky Guybrush left the Island. Herman has spent all of the money that he earned from that game, and things have started looking pretty bleak. Then one day a message in a bottle shows up, saying that his grandfather has died and left him his big mansion on Badger Island, somewhere in the Caribbean. So with visions of starting a new life, Herman packs his few belongings and sets out to claim his inheritance.
But the thing about bottle mail is that it's slow, very slow. So by the time Herman gets to Badger Island, he finds that someone claimed the mansion years ago, and turned it into the sleazy Crippled Badger Motel. Herman decides to spend everything that he has left (which is 12 dollars, 45 cents, and some moss) for one night at the motel, determined to find a way to reclaim what is rightfully his. And this is his story ....."
This is a 3rd person, 2D, point and click game with inventory and subtitles. It was apparently made available in 2 versions: one with subtitles only, and then (later?) with the addition of voices (we played the version with voice). Both the graphics and the interface are very similar to those early Lucas Arts games, and as a result, although they may look crude by today's 3D standards, they nevertheless have a certain nostalgic charm.
With the exception of one short jaunt on a cruise ship, the entire game takes place in and around the motel located on the beach. But that turns out to be more than enough room for Lazarovich and his friends to create some very imaginative situations and over a dozen unforgettable characters. We particularly loved the 'guard dog', and we definitely recommend that you play the 'talkie' version so that you can enjoy some of the surprisingly good voice acting. Ed Day was especially good as Herman.
The game is quite lengthy, never boring, and the dialogue is often hysterically funny. And the many puzzles are the good old-fashioned kind: wacky, original and challenging. In addition there are 10 hidden Easter Eggs (puzzles not directly related to the game) that are absolute delights. Even the credits are funny, both the end credits and the quit credits: you can tell that the people involved were having a ball making this game.
We encountered only 2 minor problems: (1) a few sound problems where occasionally one voice would be louder than another, or the voice would be missing for a line of dialogue; and (2) the game crashed once after picking up a weight, but that was easily avoided the next time by clicking the mouse button immediately.
All in all we were impressed with the talent shown in this non-commercial game, particularly with the original dialogue and puzzles. We enjoyed it and we think you will too. Perhaps you'll even be inspired to try making your own adventure game ..... the engine used to create this one is also available as a free download from the same site.
Developed (2000) by Roy Lazarovich. Download available from Adventure Games Studio Website.
Minimum System Requirements: PC Only!
Windows Version: Pentium 100 MHz Processor; Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / ME / XP; 32 MB RAM; 16 Bit Color Graphics Card; DirectX Compatible Sound Card; 102 MB of Free Hard Drive Space for Version with Voice (16 MB without Voice); Windows Compatible Mouse
Where To Download This Game: (Freeware)
Walkthroughs or Hints: