Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39516)
Written on  :  Oct 19, 2004
Platform  :  DOS

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How the hell does LucasArts manage to create such perfect games?

The Good

After they completed Sam & Max Hit the Road, LucasArts wondered what they do next. Their solution was to create a more serious, less humorous adventure game, with a bit of suspense added to the mix. Full Throttle tells the story of Ben Throttle, leader of a motorcycle gang known as The Polecats who are not the type of motorcycle gang to mess with.

Story: Malcolm Corley is the president of Corley Motors, the last motorcycle maker in the country. Unfortunately, Corley is about to retire from the motorcycle business, and his vice president, Adrian Ripburger, wants to take his place. He soon murders Corley and blames Ben and The Polecats for his murder, so Ben must prove his innocence. When he is about to die, Corley tells Ben that he wants his daughter, Maureen ("Mo") Corley, to take over as president, as Ripburger as president would bring disasterous consequences for the company. Ripburger plans to stop producing motorcycles to make way for minivans - something that Corley Motors isn't ready for.

Gameplay: Unlike previous adventure games from LucasArts, Full Throttle uses an advanced version of the SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) interface. The interface itself is easy to use. The game is split into two sections. You have your adventure section, where you can perform actions by holding down the left mouse button while the crosshair is highlighted in a red square. This will cause a bikie symbol to appear, and will have KICK, TOUCH, TASTE, and LOOK actions inside it. The gray area below each action tells you what object that you are interacting with. Also, holding down the right mouse button access the inventory in the form of a giant skull, with all items in the skull's mouth, plus red arrows in the eye sockets if the items don't fit the length of the mouth. Dragging the item outside the skull causes the skull to disappear, and allows you to use it on an object. This is a pretty good metaphor that LucasArts used in this game. You can't die in Full Throttle by performing unusual actions, so you are free to do whatever you like in the game, and even if that action leads you to Ben's death, you won't see one of those death screens or Sierra's death dialog boxes. Instead, you resume at the start of the scene that got you killed, and you must try a different set of actions so you can avoid this.

Most of the characters have got a bit of warmth to them, and from what I read in oleg's review, all the characters are portrayed in real life. Almost all the characters are kind to you, and will offer you help if you treat them with respect. Mo, for example, will fix your bike and be your friend for the rest of the adventure if you tell her the horrible truth about Corley's murder. Some characters, like Nestor, Bolus, and Ripburger himself, hate Ben and wants him dead.

You also have the action sequences. The first one kicks in after you leave the Kick Stand bar. These action sequences require you fighting rival gangs and trying to make them fall off their bikes, and require some skill in order to win, as using the right weapons against them will let you in, and these weapons will be obtained by knocking each gang member off their bikes. At the start, you have no weapons to start off with and must use your fists. However, by knocking gangs to the ground, you can get better weapons such as chain, board, and chainsaw. If you don't use the right weapons, you could be knocked off yourself. You also have the demolition derby that occurs much later in the game, where you must complete a task, not just ram cars to death. These sequences are controlled by INSANE, LucasArts's new scripting engine, apart from SCUMM and IMUSE.

The game consists of day and night sequences. You do most of your actions by day, but some can only be done at night. Full Throttle uses long FMV (Full Motion Video) cut-scenes, that was very popular in the 90's. I like how this is done. Pressing [F5] on the keyboard will bring up the game's control panel, which allows you to change the volume settings, save, restore, or quit a game - exactly the same sort of control panel that LucasArts used in their previous games. The only difference is when you attempt to save over the top of another game, you will be asked if you really want to save over an existing game. You have access to the control panel throughout the game, expect the action sequences.

Graphics: The graphics are in line with cartoon adventure games like Leisure Suit Larry, Day of the Tentacle, and Sam & Max. It is excellent that LucasArts stuck that way with their graphics since when they completed Maniac Mansion all the way up to Escape from Monkey Island.

Music & Sound: The sounds in the game are realistic to the sounds in real life. For example, when the night inside the game kicks in, you'll hear crickets, owls, and other living creatures exactly as they sound. This means they used a sound file of a real creature hooting and cooing. Most of the music inside the game is of heavy-metal like, and blends in with the situation that you are currently in. Some of the tunes that you hear were actually written by bikie band "The Gone Jackals", who obviously did the music for the start and end credits, and had their songs edited for use inside the game. No, you can't listen to CD-Audio tracks outside the game for the full song since there isn't any. You actually can hear three or four of their full songs at the end, but you are encourage to buy the CD from the company listed.

The Bad

Personally, I much prefer the interface to Sam & Max where you keep clicking the left mouse button to cycle through the available actions in the game, and then clicking the left mouse button to perform that action. The installation program that comes with the game wastes a bit of time, since it copies some files to your hard drive, instead of just placing a small configuration file inside a folder, like Day of the Tentacle and Sam & Max did.

The Bottom Line

Full Throttle is the first LucasArts game to be released only on CD-ROM. That means that if you don't have a CD-ROM/DVD drive, you won't be able to play the game. Overall, if you like games with a lot of action and suspense, as well as adventure, then you should find this game exciting.

Rating: ****