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SummaryGreat experience; poor adventure game
The GoodAn interesting game world with amazing characters. Superb voice acting, music, sound and graphics that even today hold on
The BadShort. Annoying action sequences that you cannot skip. Some puzzles are disgracefully easy, while others are not intuitive and feel more like a desperate attempt to lengthen the game.
The Bottom LineI actually played Full Throttle when it came out, almost 20 years ago, but never finished it. My friend was the one who had a copy of the game and we played it together on his PC till he had to return it, as he also did not own the game. Let me remind you that we're talking about 1995, a period where games required the installation CD to run, not as an authentication method but simply because the hard-drives were too small to contain an entire disc.
When I saw Tim Schafer play Full Throttle in the DoubleFine YouTube channel, I just had to play it from beginning to end, to finally fill that gap from 1995. So I stopped watching Tim so not to spoil the game for me, grabbed a copy and installed it on my PC.
In my memories, Full Throttle is an amazing piece of work and if I had to write a review strictly based on what I remember it'll probably be filled with compliments and phrases such as "the greatest game I ever played".
But the truth is - Full Throttle is not that great. It is quite an experience, with memorable characters, plot and atmosphere, but it fails as an adventure game. It's puzzles are simply sub-par. Most are extremely easy, and a lot of them consist of kicking stuff (one of the action verbs is kick). Only a few are smart and shine out with Tim's greatness.
Some of the puzzles, while not hard, are simply not intuitive. For example, and without spoiling too much, at one point in the game you need to have a quantity of one of the items in your inventory. However, after you picked up that item and placed it in your inventory, you can only pick it again after you used the one you already have, and while it is possible to use a copy of the item each time - it is not the solution. All items need be used at the same time to resolve the puzzle.
So how do you overcome it? You use the item, so it'll be removed from your inventory, but once you've used it, you pick it up again. You will now have in your inventory what the item contained, which is actually what you needed in the first place, and the item itself will be generated again and be available for pick up. Yes, this is the puzzle solution and not a bug in the game.
Other then that, there are action sequences peppered throughout the game. Their biggest problem is that the controls are poor and unresponsive, they're not fun at all and if they do have some sort of strategy in them then I've missed it, as I managed to pass them all by mashing buttons. And the worst is that you cannot skip them!
Tim mentioned in his play through that in order to make the protagonist believable as a tough biker guy, he had to kick stuff, including people, and that's the reason for having them in the first place. I don't think that an adventure game should force on it's players, who would've purchased an action title if they wanted, action sequences that cannot be skipped.
Along with Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island, Full Throttle has that LucasArts charm which was so prominent in the mid 90's. It's story is compelling and the settings and characters are truly superb. Even today, it's cartoon like presentation looks great, not to mention it's rock soundtrack and excellent voice acting.
However, in the end, Full Throttle is an adventure game, and as one it should present challenging and interesting puzzles, and not rely on action sequences or odd puzzles to squeeze the (very) short gaming experience.