Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
Move over Lucas Arts, there's a new kid on the block! A little upstart Italian company is out to prove that the same things that made your early games like Day of the Tentacle or Sam and Max so addictive, will still work with the modern player of today. And prove it they do, with a wonderful old fashioned game that relies solely on wit, talent and imagination to entertain, instead of using 3D technology like everybody else is doing. Kudos to Prograph Research for having the gumption to make this game and challenge the status quo, and kudos to Got Game Entertainment for having the courage to publish it. For long time gamers, it'll feel like 'old home week'. And if you've never played a game like this before, you're in for a real treat!
His name is Tough, Tony Tough (like in Bond, James Bond), and he's a pint size, pot-bellied "Sherlock Gnome", a little Private Eye with big ears and even bigger thick glasses, who works for the renowned Wallen & Wallen Investigators. He's a hypochondriac, intelligent little geek who uses cynicism to cover up the insecurity that he feels when his coworkers make fun of him. He wears a dirty trenchcoat (isn't that what detectives are supposed to wear?) and high-water pants. And he sounds like he needs to blow his nose all the time, probably because of the sinus condition that he's developed from working in that dank basement office that he's been relegated to for the last 10 years.
For you see, Tony is a laughingstock. Because for years now he's been totally obsessed, no doubt due to the traumatic incident from his childhood, with catching only one particular criminal: a swollen-headed psychopath who steals the candy from children every Halloween. By now Tony's even convinced himself that it's a much bigger case than anyone suspects, probably some "alien plot to conquer our planet". And this year he's determined to catch the dastardly fiend, thereby earning the respect and admiration of his peers.
Now it's time once again for his annual stakeout, and so he sends his partner, and only friend, on ahead... his dog 'Pantagruel' (look it up), a little purple candy-eating 'tapir' (look this word up too) who resembles the Barney of cartoon fame. But just as Tony is preparing to join him, he hears a scream and finds a horrible ransom note. The monster has kidnapped his beloved Pantagruel, and says that unless Tony wants to get him back "in installments (!)", he must proceed immediately to a place called Halloween Park. And naturally when Tony does so, the gate locks behind him and he can't escape.
This is a 2D, 3rd person, point and click game with inventory, subtitles, and a delightful little flying yellow ducky for an exit or enter cursor. The interface is very easy to use, with a simple right click bringing up options to examine, talk, take, etc, and inventory is just point & click. There's a map for instant traveling, and although you can't die in the game, there are 95 save game slots!
The puzzles are convoluted, wacky and wonderful, and you have a choice between easy and hard mode. You may want to play the easy mode though. The hard mode gets really hard as the game progresses, with a lot of the later puzzles designed to challenge even the most seasoned player. You might need a walkthrough for some of them... we did. In retrospect we could see that ample clues were given, but at the time we were really stumped.
You also have a choice as to how the game looks. You can either choose to see it in sepia tones, for an old timey photographic look, or in full vibrant color. Halloween Park, where most of the game takes place, is a seedy, run-down carnival full of all the standard (and a few not so standard) attractions and characters that you would expect to find there. And they are all beautifully rendered, in comic book style, with full screen graphics in gorgeous color and detail. The music is appropriate, and the sound effects are absolutely great... especially the zombie, and the little dog guarding the exit to the drawbridge!
But it is the top-notch writing and off-the-wall humor that makes this game so special. All of the many characters are exaggerated stereotypes, and each voice actor plays his or her part to perfection... everybody from Tony himself, to the parrot that tells slightly naughty jokes. With her deadpan delivery, the housekeeper cracked us up every time she opened her mouth! This is a very slick and funny game, even hilarious in places... like the clown's descriptions of his balloon animals, and the lever that Tony warns you not to use in the shed (that one had us rolling on the floor!). The imagination and attention to detail shown by the writers is fantastic, and there are layers within layers of hidden humor... we counted up to 6 different responses on some things. So for the most fun, we strongly suggest that you talk to (or try to take, or use, etc) everybody and every thing.
We haven't heard stuff like this since the 'good old days' of adventure gaming. Oh Lordy, we hope these people make another game! There's too much talent here to go to waste.
Visit Got Game Entertainment's Tony Tough Website to learn more about the game and view additional Screenshots. Also visit Prograph Research's Tony Tough Website to download the trailer (about 28 MB and in Italian).
Co-produced (2000) by Nayma and Protonic Interactive and published in Europe by Prograph Research. Published (2002) in North and South America by Got Game Entertainment.
Minimum System Requirements:
PC: Pentium 200 MHz (Pentium II Recommended); Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / ME / XP; 32 MB RAM (64 MB Recommended); 300 KB of Free Hard Drive Space (150 MB Recommended); 8X CD-ROM Drive (16X Recommended); DirectX 6 or higher (included); DirectX Compatible Graphics Card (AGP Graphics Card Recommended); Audio Device with DirectX Driver; Mouse; Keyboard
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Walkthroughs or Hints: