Classic point and click adventure that will take you back to the good ol’ days.
Some readers of YARS may be looking at this thinking it is a sequel to the rather fab The Dream of the Turtle, which I reviewed not so long ago. Well, what we have here is actually the first game in the series. Unreleased in the UK, it has finally hit our shores hot on its sequels success.
Our hero Brian is on his way from New York to Berkeley University in California to study for a Doctorate in Physics. Along the way he crosses paths with the beautiful Gina (well runs her over to be honest). After gallantly taking her to the hospital she reveals that she is, in fact, on the run having just witnessed the murder of her father. With the addition of a mysterious crucifix and a plea for help, adventure is sure to ensue!!
In the tradition of point and click adventures, Runaway is played in in 2D, you can only walk left and right. With the use of the mouse you can explore each screen. Move the mouse over an important area and the cursor will change to notify you of the possible actions. Items can be collected, combined and used in the appropriate places. It’s an old game mechanic, but it works perfectly.
Although the game is 2D, the graphics are all beautifully rendered 3D made to look like cel-shaded cartoons. The effect is really quite stunning and unique. For the most part the animation is really smooth. I say for the most part. One complaint I had about the sequel (this is strange, reviewing the original after the sequel) was the lip syncing. With the game being released in several languages Pendulo have animated the faces separately from the rest of the game. What you get is a slightly awkward looking lip sync that, to be honest, never quite looks right.
Adventure games like this rely on 2 things. Good puzzles and an engrossing story line. Just look at the Lucas Arts classics, Sam & Max, Full Throttle or Maniac Mansion. All of them were huge hits because they were fun and engrossing, with great characters and stories. A Road Adventure gets full marks for all of these. The story is well thought out, relying on a good plot that has the feel of a Dan Brown novel, with a sense of humour. The scripts are good, if read a bit woodenly.
A complaint I have about many point and click adventures is the random nature of some of the puzzles. Find a piece of chewing gum, combine it with a rocket launcher then put it in lemonade at exactly 3 minutes past 2. Although there are a few puzzles of that nature, for the most part Runaway tries to stick to logical thought progressions. I will admit I had to check the walk-through a couple of times, but for me that is the sign that some thought has gone into the puzzles. The solution always seemed to make sense, even if I couldn’t find it!
Like the sequel before it (!?), this is a great adventure, that will have the best gamers pointing and clicking for many happy hours.