Sign in to follow this  
Ben X

The Big Adventure Playthrough

Recommended Posts

I've got a pretty big games backlog, and my Big FPS Playthrough really helped make a dent in it, so I'm going to do the same with adventure games and once more post my thoughts here. It'll likely take a long time - I don't have that much time for gaming at the moment - so this thread may not get updated very regularly. I'll give up on a game or resort to a walkthrough if I get too stuck or am not enjoying it. I'm going to try and stick to the original experience, so no mods unless it's needed to recreate that experience (say, if the audio is terrible played straight on modern computers). I'll allow some genre-mixing, but I'm not going to count interactive novels, puzzle games, narrative experiences - I'm mainly looking for the meat and potatoes inventory/dialogue/exploration Lucasartsian experience. Some I've played previously and will replay if I liked them, post what I can remember of my reasons if I didn't. I'm only playing games I own, so if anyone really wants me to play a particular game not on the list, they'll have to buy it for me!

 

My list:
(for my own easy future reference, I'll give a colour rating as I go, based on my final enjoyment level rather than a broad review of the game as a piece of art; some release dates are estimates)

 

Spoiler

Maniac Mansion  (1987-10-05)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989-07-01)
Loom (1990-01-01)
The Secret Of Monkey Island (1990-10-01)
The Secret Of Monkey Island 2 (1991-12-01)
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992-06-01)
Lure Of The Temptress    1992-06-01
Day of the Tentacle    1993-06-25
Sam And Max Hit The Road    1993-11-01

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers    1993-12-17
Beneath a Steel Sky    1994-03
Full Throttle    1995-04-30
Discworld    1995-06-01

The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery    1995-06-30
Flight Of The Amazon Queen    1995-07-01
The Dig    1995-11-01
Space Quest    1996-09-01
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars    1996-09-30
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream    1996-10-31
Toonstruck    1996-10-31

Discworld II: Missing, Presumed...!? (1996-11-30)

The Last Express    1997-03-30
Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror    1997-10-17
The Curse Of Monkey Island    1997-10-31
Blade Runner    1997-10-31
Starship Titanic    1998-04-02

Sanitarium (1998-04-28)
Grim Fandango    1998-10-03
Discworld Noir    1999-06-01

Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned (1999-11-19)
Escape From Monkey Island    2000-11-08
Syberia    2002-01-09
Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon    2003-11-14
Syberia 2    2004-03-29

The Shivah (2006-08-14)

Secret Files: Tunguska (2006-09-04)
Sam & Max: Telltale Series 1-3  (2006-10-17)

The Blackwell Legacy    2006-12-23
Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy!    2007-03-06

Blackwell Unbound    2007-09-04
Ben There, Dan That!    2008-07-14

The Blackwell Convergence    2009-07-22
Tales Of Monkey Island    2009-07-07
Time Gentlemen, Please!    2009-07-22

Machinarium (2009-10-16)
Back To The Future The Game    2010-12-22
Gemini Rue    2011-10-26
The Walking Dead    2012-04-24
The Dream Machine    2012-05-11
Resonance    2012-06-19
Deponia    2012-08-07
Deponia The Complete Journey    2012-08-07
McPixel    2012-09-25
Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes    2012-10-16
Chaos on Deponia    2012-11-06
Primordia    2012-12-05
The Journey Down: Chapter One    2013-01-09
The Inner World    2013-09-27
The Wolf Among Us    2013-10-11
Goodbye Deponia    2013-10-17
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout    2013-10-25
Stick It To The Man    2013-11-19

Broken Age (2014-01-28)
Broken Sword 5 - the Serpent's Curse    2014-06-20
Sherlock Holmes Crimes And Punishments    2014-09-30
Metal Dead    2014-10-06

Tales From The Borderlands (2014-11-25)
Life is Strange    2015-01-30
Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 1: A Dreadly Business    2015-04-02
Her Story    2015-06-24
Dropsy    2015-09-10
2064: Read Only Memories    2015-10-06
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet    2016-03-22

Kathy Rain (2016-05-05)

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter (2016-06-10)

Batman: Teltale Series 1&2 (2016-08-02)

Silence: The Whispered World 2 (2016-11-15)
Thimbleweed Park    2017-03-30

The Darkside Detective (2017-07-27)
The Journey Down: Chapter Three    2017-09-21
Life is Strange 2    2018-09-26
Trüberbrook (2019-03-12)

Whispers of a Machine (2019-04-17)
Horace    2019-07-18
Feria d'Arles    2019-12-06
The White Door    2020-01-09
The Supper    2020-01-28
The Blind Prophet (2020-02-05)
Lair of the Clockwork God    2020-02-21
Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure    2020-05-09
If On A Winter's Night, Four Travelers    2021-08-01

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And so it begins...

 

image.png.3acf515fff7357589ea01b0f9fe2c1d4.png

 

Funnily enough, ScummVM just opened up testing on its new version yesterday! Sounds like it's still far too unstable for me to bother with at this stage, though, so I'll stick with good old 2.2.0.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, as I vaguely remembered, this is a pretty rough experience for a modern adventure gamer, even someone who started getting into them around four years after this. No music, no Look At or Talk To, tons of small fiddly inventory items, unpredictable NPCs. And I believe there are a fair few dead-ends in here too.  First things first, I need to choose some appropriate music to listen to, in much the same way that I'd put Nine Inch Nails on loop when playing Quake back in the day. Something era-accurate, but also befitting a teen-slasher parody. John Carpenter and Sisters Of Mercy are what immediately jump to mind...


On the positive side, it really pulls you in as much as it can, with the fun, cinematic (for its time) opening, the easy first puzzle, and the excitement of getting caught randomly by Nurse Edna then slung in the dungeon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, have played it for an hour or so, and the fun has drained away! I'm getting flashbacks to playing Wolfenstein 3D at the start of my FPS playthrough, where you can see the beginnings of the genre trappings, and some good moments, but overall it's a real slog with a dull layout and seemingly endless rooms and no nice music or pretty graphics to distract. I've already had to resort to a walkthrough because to escape the dungeon you have to find the tiny 'loose brick' hotspot with no hint that it exists. An early example of the dreaded pixel-hunt! I think I may have created a dead-end for myself already, but I've got a couple more ideas to try before going to the walkthrough again and seeing if I can be bothered to carry on...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gave up on Maniac Mansion, after finding out I had fallen foul of a dead end by using some paint remover on some paint. There are a few cruel dead-ends like that, apparently. Even apart from that, the game is just not entertaining enough to push on with - it's incredibly aimless and you're just wandering around looking for stuff that might work together without any way of knowing why you might want them to, juggling loads of keys around and shifting kids back and forth. In theory, the idea of kids with different abilities that lead to different puzzles and endings is cool, but in effect it's just a bunch of tedious character and inventory management, and a lot of time wasted doing stuff you don't need to. Still, at least I got to explode a hamster in the microwave and destroy everything within a 5-mile radius by pushing the big red Do Not Push button on a nuclear device before I gave up, which was fun. I think a fan remake of this with just a few tweaks could improve it tenfold. - there's one effort along those lines with DOTT-style graphics called Night Of The Meteor which as of last year was still going, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

 

Mix-n-Mojo's article: https://mixnmojo.com/features/sitefeatures/LucasArts-Secret-History-1-Maniac-Mansion/1
(Interesting to read that, compared to its contemporaries, Maniac Mansion was fair and logical!)

Post-mortem talk by Ron Gilbert:

 

 

Onto Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm enjoying this a lot more. It is, like MM, a little aimless - after some wandering you eventually get given the task of finding your father by vaguely following in his footsteps - but thanks to the 256-colour version it looks a lot nicer, there's incidental music, and there's Look At and Talk To (even if they are a little restricted)! And it's certainly more satisfying to navigate than a grid of mansion rooms.
However, I've just got to a maze (all the crappy tropes of the genre are flooding back to me!) and while it's not too difficult to navigate now I've mapped it out with my electronic pen and paper, it does make it irritating once you're stuck and having to wander back and forth, which I am. It really is just valueless padding. I feel a little guilty, but I think I'm going to have to check a walkthrough - I feel like I need something to pick the water up in (the wine bottle?) to use on the dry mud to get the torch to use with the hook to reach the rusty lock and get to the casket room, but I can't figure it out, even with relatively few variables. The shame!

 

EDIT: geez, you have to look at the wine, which makes Indy shame the guy by saying it's a bad year, then he'll let you take it. Not particularly intuitive. I might have got it just by being thorough, but Look At is still a pain in this game because you have to use it in conjunction with What Is. They're this close to the perfect Lucasarts formula..!

EDIT 2: ooh, those bastards! The torch was a lever for a trapdoor that sent me to a lower layer of maze!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally got through that damn maze, by which point I was quite angry at the designers. Some nicely presented business and I'm at the castle, which turns out to be another maze. FUUUUUUU
I'm getting a map off the internet for this one, no way am I drawing out another one. This will be my policy with all mazes going forward (and left and right and back lololol).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, this maze also has a bunch of pointless empty rooms, making the way that the overhead layout doesn't tally with the side-on layouts even more frustrating, and a bunch of soldiers that you pretty much have to fight unless you're very lucky with your dialogue choices, in the shitty unforgiving combat system. Using online maps and guides doesn't make this process particularly easier or more fun, so fuck this game. I'd be tempted to find a savegame online to skip ahead, but a) that's a dangerous precedent, and sunglasses) I don't feel like the game has earned my ongoing attention. I don't think I ever got past the catacombs when I played this back in the early 90s, so I'm pretty disappointed that this is what was waiting for me on the other side! Really hoping Loom and Fate Of Atlantis are less frustrating than these first two games. Speaking of which:

 

Onto Loom!

 

(but first, the special features!)
Mix n Mojo's retrospective: https://mixnmojo.com/features/sitefeatures/LucasArts-Secret-History-3-Indiana-Jones-and-the-Last-Crusade/1
Post-mortem vid with Noah Falstein: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/472467516

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, first thing that stands out is that I've got the CD version so I have voice acting! It's in 256 colours, which I think the Steam version of Last Crusade was too, but it looks a bit nicer somehow. It feels very Monkey Island-ish as well, thanks to the font and the visual style, as well as the opening where I have to descend from a high hill down to a small village. I got as far as finding the staff before realising that I really needed to read the manual. Having done so, it turns out I should really listen to the 30-minute audio drama that was originally bundled with the game on a cassette tape! I can't quite tell at this point whether this game is going to be refreshingly easy or punishingly abstruse...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Due to a few issues with the voice-acting, I had a quick search and discovered that the CD version is generally considered to be the poorest. The Amiga version seems to be the one most recommend, as it has nice graphics but no dialogue or close-ups removed. I'd be sacrificing the voice-acting but I think that's reasonable, considering I'll be going back to non-VO games after this anyway. Seems to be tricky to find the files needed to run it on SCUMMVM, though...

 

I've had a bit of a play, anyway. The audio drama was endearingly ambitious yet creaky, and I've figured out a couple of puzzles. It's pretty satisfying and atmospheric figuring out how to use a magic spell in interesting ways, even though at the moment it seems to be in practice just a long-winded way of clicking on verbs...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Immediately had to resort to a walkthrough. Currently finding the rules of the spellcasting rather loose and obscure, plus an inventory graphic was actively misleading (I wonder if it didn't exist in the earlier versions and was added in by someone who didn't understand the puzzle). Now I know that I can do stuff like cast the owl spell on some darkness so I get the see-in-dark power of owls, or play spells backwards to get the reverse effect, or do a certain number of successful spellcasts (I assume) to level up, I might do a little better.
Also, the sound glitches are pretty irritating, especially as the game still plays in silence most of the time. Shame I couldn't get the Amiga version going.

 

EDIT: got a bit further, though I had to use a WT again because something was unclear, due to a mix of low-fi graphics, unhelpful description and this game's predilection for layouts that are not only unclear but also lead you round the most tortuous path possible. On some screens you have to wait for a good 20 seconds or so for your character to enter, or travel from point to point. I can't help but feel like it's more Last Crusade style padding. This suspicion was compounded when I got to a fucking maze. Much like in LC, you can only see a small radius around your character - here, this combines with the shitty layouts to make the maze even more infuriating.  I'm not sure how much longer I'll last with this game, between the audio bugs (and irritating voice-acting) and the abrasive design...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, finished. I admire the ambition of this game and there's some lovely atmosphere, but it was full of irritating design choices and that ending was really weak. I can see why this is a cult favourite compared to its smash hit franchise starting sister game The Secret Of Monkey Island. Which, thank fuck, is next!

 

Loom post-mortem vid with Brian Moriarty: 

 

MixnMojo retrospective: https://mixnmojo.com/features/sitefeatures/LucasArts-Secret-History-4-Loom

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've played Monkey Island enough times that it's difficult to mentally reframe it into this chronological context, but it really does feel more polished and lighter on its feet.  The Men Of Low Moral Fiber are a good example - they have strong writing, good looking character art, and actual comic timing and slapstick; the game has pitched and achieved its ambition perfectly.
It still feels quiet at points, but there's more background music and sound going on. It's got characters wandering around of their own accord but that only serves to help not hinder you. There's a maze but Guybrush refuses to go in until he's got some sort of guide. It's clear why this is the game that gets labelled as the point where Lucasarts cemented their formula. The only, minor annoyance so far has been that Marley's mansion doesn't connect to the map screen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished Monkey 1! This is great. Looks lovely (I'm on the PC CD version - I think this is pretty much the last time I'll need to worry about what version I'm playing, they're all pretty uniform going forward), genuinely funny, and the puzzles are mostly fair and satisfying.
There are only a few little niggles: the occasional dodgy puzzle or hotspot (maybe I missed a hint, but how should I know the yellow flowers will drug the dogs? And that fort is very easy to miss, though Herman does mention its existence at one point); slightly too much walking back and forth on Monkey Island which easily could have been skipped once access is gained; the graphics still have some rough edges and the audio is still a little bare in places (though the music is fantastic - the MI theme and LeChuck theme still kick today).
Finally, one could criticise the story for being so slender as to be almost non-existent - 'you want to be a pirate for no reason, so here's some stuff to do; oh no, the woman you met for ten seconds got kidnapped, go rescue her'. But I think that, similarly to the popular Raiders Of The Lost Ark fan theory/criticism (which I don't really agree with n that case, but that's a topic for another time), this is the point. If Guybrush hadn't shown up, not much would have happened differently - Elaine would have got kidnapped, rescued herself and defeated LeChuck; this, along with his lack of motivation, underlines the fact that he's just playing at being pirate, something which builds in significance come the sequel. Also, on a practical level, the comedy plays better if there's not too much storifying getting in the way. Besides, the game still has some depth even if the narrative is slight - the motley Monkey Island residents' long history of fractious co-existence as told through the piles of passive-aggressive notes strewn about the place, for example, or the easily missed detail that Melee Island's employ of a blind lookout is part of LeChuck's schemes.

MnM retrospective: https://mixnmojo.com/features/sitefeatures/LucasArts-Secret-History-5-The-Secret-of-Monkey-Island
Making of vid:

 

(I really should read On Stranger Tides one day...)

 

Now onto the sequel, The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, this is a hefty step up - it's fun to imagine a player back in the day who had played the EGA version of MI, then upgraded and a year later got their hair blown back by this. The introduction of continuous background music along with the iMuse system that segues seamlessly between themes as you move from area to area is a godsend, for one. The graphics are much more tangible and detailed, even compared to the first game's VGA graphics - I know Peter Chan wasn't happy with how pixelated the backgrounds ended up after the scanning process, but I really like the effect - it reminds me of Van Gogh's Starry Night paintings or even Seurat's pointillism, and at worst it's a sort of randomised dithering. (It's certainly better than the sanitised crap of the special edition.) For me,  it lends the art more griminess, an analogue density. The whole game is strikingly dense in comparison to its predecessor, in fact - not just because of the beefed up audio-visuals, but in the storytelling too. Guybrush comes with a built-in backstory now, plus he's had a fall in fortune between games and he now has a specific goal (Big Whoop) and specific obstacles to that goal which don't feel as contrived as the three trials; the first playable screen you get to is a small hub packed with five separate areas, some with off-shoot rooms; dialogue trees go much deeper, and object descriptions are more numerous (where before you would look at a shelf of bottles and get "I don't see anything special about them", now you get a description and riff on each individual vial). One could even say that it's a little overwhelming, especially coming off the back of the clean design of the first game, but really this is good sequelising - altering the tone to the point where it avoids redundancy but still feels of a piece with previous entries. It's Life Of Brian to the first game's Holy Grail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this