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SummaryLooks and feels like an interactive cartoon show
The GoodWilly Beamish is a nine-year-old student at Carbuncle Elementary School in the city of Frumpton. It is summer time, and school bows out for the year, but not before Willy is placed in after-school detention for interrupting the morning assembly. One of his dreams that he spends his summer at the Nintari championships. One thing that might prevent him from going is his report card, which lists a C grade in Music Appreciation, and Willy's family are against him playing Nintari.
Jeff Tunnell, the creator of The Adventures of Willy Beamish, intended to make the game have the look and feel of a cartoon show, and at the same time, let you be in charge of the action. Each scene and character in the game is drawn and colored exactly like one. The close-up view of the characters are also colorful. Although the graphics are not up to scratch with other cartoon adventure games such as Day of the Tentacle and Sam & Max Hit the Road.
Every day in Willy's life has you making decisions that affect what happens later on in each of Willy's four days of summer. For example, you can be a good boy and wait until detention finishes, or sneak up early and get your report card from the mail before your parents come home. At home, you are expected to be on your best behavior by making the right decisions, and your parents keep threatening you with military school if you keep making the wrong ones. There are alternate solutions to some tasks, making Willy replayable.
The game uses a 3rd-person perspective. This means that you actually see Willy on the screen. Your character could not be seen in any previous Dynamix games like Heart of China and Rise of the Dragon. You have the opportunity to see him walk around and pick up items. Pressing the [Esc] key brings up a box with VCR buttons that let you save, restore, restart, or quit the game, among other things. One of these buttons displays the on-line help system which looks marvelous. It has a purple background with Willy surrounded by question marks.
Willy has an inventory, just like any adventure game. This has many uses other than displaying items that you have picked up. You can fast-forward the time too, which is useful for speeding it up if you finish tasks too soon and the next event is not for a long time. I was amazed at how large the items are, although there is no need for them to be that big. I think that they are this size so you are more likely not to click on blank space.
The puzzles in this game are not too hard, and they can be completed in a short amount of time. The puzzles that I found not too bad include trying to deal with the school's bully in the pizza parlor, and getting around the Humpford mansion undetected, in an attempt to rescue your pet frog from dinner It is interesting to see how Willy is killed if you fail these puzzles.
The music sounds good, especially when you are on Willy's final day. It just has that beat to it, and it sounds different when Willy is in the Beamish household. The sound effects are excellent, nice, matching those used in the old cartoon shows.
I have the CD-ROM version of the game, and I say that this version greatly enhances the gameplay experience. Although Willy can be completed in a short amount of time, it is even longer for me to complete. Why? With all the speech in the game, I enjoyed selecting the different dialogue choices that appear, and see how the characters say the next line, focusing both on their tone and volume. There are a few changes between the floppy and the CD-ROM version. The credits on the blackboard has been removed, and there are different stuff on TV. (By the way, the TV sits in an unusual place in the dining room where almost everybody has to turn away from the table.)
The BadHaving played the CD-ROM version of Willy, I felt that the dialogue was poorly scripted. Also, the MT-32 option was removed, not allowing users with the CD-ROM version to play the game with General MIDI.
The Bottom LineThe Adventures of Willy Beamish tells the story of a nine-year-old student who plans to spend his summer at the Nintari championships. But to do so, he must be a good little boy and stay out of trouble. You control Willy, and there are different decisions that you can make, both good and bad ones (The bad ones do not get you killed, though.) The game pretends to be a cartoon, while letting you control it. This is demonstrated by the cute graphics and the voices in the CD-ROM version. Unlike Dynamix's early games, the game uses a 3rd-person perspective which means that you can see Willy getting up to mischief. Things get rather interesting for Willy on his last day.
The floppy version is easy to find, but it is rare that copies of CD-ROM version are floating around. So if you are looking for the CD version, then good luck.