Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39535)
Written on  :  Nov 18, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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You don't want to know what I'll do if I am nine years old again

The Good

Sierra offshoot Dynamix only produced three adventure games. One of them is The Adventures of Willy Beamish, a story of a nine-year-old boy who dreams of participating in the Nintari championships the same summer. He is trying to stay out of trouble with his parents and the rest of his family. So, the last thing he would want is detention on the last day of school and getting a bad report card.

The game is a point-and-click adventure game which lets you dictate what Willy does and when. Jeff Tunnell, along with artist Sheri Wheeler, worked on some design concepts for months until they came up with the final design for Willy. He wanted the game to be more of an interactive cartoon, rather than a traditional adventure. The making of Willy Beamish was the same as in animated films such as Aladdin and The Lion King.

The game is presented in third-person. I enjoyed seeing Willy walk to the other side of the room, pick up objects, and other stuff. It gives the game more of a Sierra feel to it. The interface looks cool. The icons are quite large so that you are not clicking on the wrong object than what you intended. The VCR menu actually has a series of buttons instead of just text options, and the in-game help looks excellent. The background with all the question marks looks marvelous. I like playing the game using the alternate solutions to some puzzles, and these make the game replayable. One example is at the start of the game, when you are slapped in detention. You can wait until it finishes, or sneak out early using a fake hall pass. You have this thing called the “Trouble Meter” which you only see on the first two days, and you are sent to military school if you let it rise to the top. This gives you a reason to use these alternate solutions. You can choose not to do as you told, as long as the Trouble Meter doesn't go all the way up.

Willy has an inventory, just like any adventure game, complete with large icons and two buttons that let you fast-forward time. Time passes even when you are examining objects in the room. The buttons are useful if you have completed the necessary tasks and need a certain event to happen.

The puzzles in this game are not too hard, and they can be completed in a short amount of time – say five minutes. One of the most memorable for me is on day two, when you are dealing with the babysitter from hell. It is interesting to see how Willy is killed if you fail these puzzles.

The music sounds good, especially when using the Roland MT-32 (which makes the sound more kiddy-like). When you are in the Beamish house, having different music on different days is a nice touch. The sound effects are excellent, matching those used in the old cartoon shows. I have played the CD-ROM version, which has the characters voiced by Dynamix staff. My favorite voice belongs to the narrator. If you look at various objects around the room, you will often get a witty response from him.

Highlight: Examining different objects around the Beamish house and noticing the last sentence, usually about Willy screwing with things he wasn't supposed to. It makes me wish that I did those things when I was nine years old. Also, giving me a false impression that I was about to be drowned in the Humpford mansion after saving the frogs.

The Bad

When you hover over the magnifying glass over certain objects in each room to, its inside is solid gray, which means that you can't look at that object. It seems that the developers were too lazy to add a description for it.

The Bottom Line

The 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 game is an interactive cartoon, letting you control your character at all times. 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 walking across the room and picking up objects. 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.