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Runaway: A Road Adventure (Windows)

79
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Jeanne (75603)
Written on  :  Nov 15, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars

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Summary

If you liked the Broken Sword games, you'll love Runaway!

The Good

I couldn't wait to get Runaway, but I never thought I'd get a chance to play it. It was released first in Spanish and it took 2 years for publisher to be found for the English version. It was well worth the wait!

First of all, Runaway is good and long. It takes quite awhile to get all the way through the Six Chapters. Each scenario is different than the last, so the plot keeps you interested. The story is modern and unique with twist and turns - you really don't know how it will come out in the end. And speaking of the ending, it's great! (Be sure to watch the entire thing ... all the way through the credits and beyond. You'll be glad you did!)

The colorful graphics are as realistic as can be expected from drawings. Some of the locations are truly picturesque. The characters are rendered to depict their personalities - eccentric and quirky. The animators did a great job on coordinating the lip-sync with the speech as well as everything else that moved. Objects don't stick out like sore thumbs like in other games and look like part of the scenery or room. (More on this below.)

Overall I'd rate the sound as excellent. The music is modern and original with an upbeat pace. I enjoyed every single song and tapped my foot to quite a few of them. A subtle melody can be heard when an important objective has been accomplished. Sound effects are blended in so well that none of them seem out of place. The voice acting was also well done (in the English version). Each character's voice sounded like you'd expect it to sound. I did notice duplicate voices for several of the characters, however - Gina's especially.

I enjoyed the puzzles, which are based on interaction with inventory objects and other characters. Although none of them are particularly hard, some of them had me scratching my head - only to find out that I had missed finding the right item. The linearity of the game might bother some players, but after awhile I got used to it. So many things don't become available until Brian has done something else. The first time Brian searches a trash can, for instance, he says he doesn't see anything he can use ... UNTIL someone mentions it. Digging into the trash can a second time, after the conversation, he will find something new.

There are no action elements whatsoever .. it's pure adventure style play. I was glad there were no mazes or slider puzzles. And all of the puzzles seem necessary to the story - none of them were added needlessly. And ... you can't die!

I had absolutely no technical problems installing or playing the game, even though my Pentium II 200MMX barely meets the minimum requirements. (I did need to use the Low resolution setting, though, to smooth out the scrolling graphics.)

The Bad

Only a very few things detracted from my gaming experience. Most of them are design elements.

  • Each time you start the game, you must insert the first disc, no matter where you last saved.

  • The chosen options don't seem to "stick". In other words, if you want the volume at its loudest point, you must set it with each new start.

  • Brian walks too slowly through some of the scenes, and there is no way to make him run.

  • Finding items on the screen can be tedious because they blend in so well with their surroundings. You must use your peripheral vision to watch the words at the bottom of the screen. You should scan the cursor across the entire screen slowly and carefully, looking for changes in the text.

  • When saving a game, a new slot is picked automatically. Although you can erase saved games, it would have been nice to be able to choose to overwrite an old one. (On the plus side, there seems to be no limit to the number of games you can save.)

    The Bottom Line

    This is a modern tale with upbeat music and an engaging story. It's an adventure about two young people running away from danger and using whatever resources they come upon to do it. Help comes from the people they meet and things they find during their escape.

    What begins with a chance meeting turns into a friendship and then a romance. By the end of the game, you may find yourself actually caring what happens to Gina and Brian.

    Heed the "Teen" rating because of the Mafia-type violence (killing), but there is no blood or gore. There are also some "drag queen" characters and nuances to that effect. Otherwise, there is no offensive language or sexual content and everything is tactfully presented.