Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
This action adventure game is the sequel to the innovative and very popular game 'Relentless' (called 'Little Big Adventure' in Europe), and many of that game's characters are back again along with several new species. In this new adventure Twinsen embarks on an epic Odyssey comparable to the one taken by Ulysses in Greek mythology.
Twinsen himself is absolutely adorable, and so is his little pregnant wife Zoe and their pet Dino Fly. He looks like a miniature Samurai Warrior complete with robe, top knot and ponytail. He is a wizard and a hero to his people since he successfully rid his planet (called Twinsun, because it is warmed by two suns) of the evil Dr. Funfrock in 'Relentless'. But now a new evil rears its head.
An alien race, the Esmers, have come to Twinsun supposedly in peace merely to observe Twinsun's culture and learn from their Weather Wizards. And in exchange they have promised to bring technology to this magical but simple world. But then the wizards and children start disappearing and it isn't long before Twinsen discovers the Esmer's real purpose: they plan to kidnap all of the magicians and children and then explode the planet as an offering to their deity, the Dark Monk.
To rescue his people and foil their plans, Twinsen must explore an enormous area (200 locations) on 3 fantastic worlds and interact with many exotic and unforgettable characters. The beautiful 3D animated graphics are masterfully colored and highly detailed, with great cut scenes, realistic sound effects, excellent music that varies with the situation (turn on your speakers and refresh to hear some now), and wonderful voices.
All dialogues are both spoken and shown onscreen and the humor is delightful, understated and offbeat (especially in the daycare center). And you encounter many wildly original creatures, from paratrooping hot dogs whose houses look like buns to Mosquibees who have trumpets for noses.
The people of Twinsun are endearing and loveable, even the kid on the roof with the pea shooter. We especially liked the independent always busy Zoe in her red spandex jumpsuit, but everybody continues doing their own thing no matter what you are doing. It all has a very strange effect: you find yourself feeling like this little fantasy world is actually living and real, and you care about what happens to it.
It is a long, linear, 3rd person game with a map, and the action sequences are all viewed from the top down. You control Twinsen with the arrow keys on your keyboard and he has 4 different modes: Normal (to walk and talk), Aggressive (for combat), Sporty (to run and jump), and Discrete (to sneak and duck). We soon chose to stay in the Sporty mode most of the time to move around faster, but would occasionally use the Discrete mode just to watch Twinsen sneak: it's hilarious!
You collect Hearts (health), Lives, Keys, and Kashes (money) from various barrels, plants and dispensers by 'taking action' in front of them (sort of like stomping your feet). They all regenerate if you leave the room and return, so you're never without an adequate supply. And we love that premise: that when you use up heart, life or cash helping others, you can always find more everywhere ..... even in 'garbage cans'.
The adventure puzzles are varied, engrossing and related to the story. They are not too difficult, although some are quite complicated and involve going to several different places, finding objects and solving problems at each place. You get to fly on Dino Fly and in a UFO, sail in a boat (Twinsen can't swim!), and tool around the desert in a sporty little convertible. You have a magic ball for use as a weapon, and you get others (lasers, blowguns) as you complete puzzles. They even sell a Nitro Penguin (!) at the local 'Power Up' store.
We loved everything about the game except the combat, which we don't like at all. But we did manage to get through it, mainly by saving just prior to any fight, and if we can do it anyone can. The entire last part of the game is spent fighting and killing Esmers, arcade style with no blood or gore, and it can be very nerve-racking. But it was almost worth it just to get to see the people of Twinsun happy again, and to see Twinsen as a new father! But we don't know if we would do it again.
Produced (1997) by Adeline and published by Activision.
Minimum System Requirements:
PC DOS Version: 486 DX4 100 MHz Processor; DOS 6.22; 8 MB RAM; 4X CD-ROM Drive; 256 Colors SVGA 640 X 480 Graphics with a VESA Local Bus (VLB) or PCI Video Card; 100% SoundBlaster 16 Compatible Sound Card (for digital and general MIDI Audio); 35 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; Keyboard and Mouse
PC Windows 95 Version: Pentium Processor; Windows 95; 16 MB RAM; 4X CD-ROM Drive; 256 Colors SVGA 640 X 480 Graphics with a VESA Local Bus (VLB) or PCI Video Card; 100% SoundBlaster 16 Compatible Sound Card (for digital and general MIDI Audio); 35 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; Keyboard and Mouse
Walkthroughs or Hints: