Written by  :  Jeanne (76526)
Written on  :  Sep 18, 2007
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars

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Sure to be a hit worldwide, only slightly tainted by issues of its predecessor

The Good

It has been quite awhile since I played a game that made me laugh out loud. This game did - and often! Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle is full of bizarre situations, wacky characters, and off-the-wall humor. Sure, some of the jokes are corny and quite a bit "off color", but that just adds to the charm of it.

When I play a point and click adventure, I've come to expect the gameplay aspects to be simple - and this game fit the bill. It has simple cursors, a clean and crisp interface, and no-bother game saving and loading. The game is completely controlled using a mouse and both mouse buttons are used. (Right-clicking on an object or person presents possible options such as use, open, push etc.) Other pluses include being able to name your saved games, limitless saves, and options to adjust graphics and audio for your needs or taste. In addition, Runaway 2's manual is colorful, entertaining and a pleasure to read. A mini-walkthrough is included to help you get through the first parts of the game.

You play Brian Basco, the star of the previous game, who needs to go around the world and back again to find his beloved Gina. It seems that Brian as a million obstacles in his way, all of which he must overcome, of course, before he can get to Gina. The story is wild and evolving - it keeps you guessing right up until the end. Each of the 6 chapters has its own unique ambiance and challenges. The locations are varied and interesting - a jungle (complete with quicksand), a secret military base, a tropical village, beaches, an ancient temple, snowy Alaska, and a private yacht, to name a few.

The graphics are sharp and clear with bright colors and clean lines. Cut scenes are very well done. (The underwater scuba diving scenes are especially good.) The music is in keeping with the game, is very cheerful, appealing and changes with each chapter.

The characters are so very entertaining and each has his (or her) own unique personality. The dialog scripts were very well written. In the U.S. English version the voice-acting is excellent, and I commend all those who acted out their parts. Lip synching to go along with those voices was great too. I particularly liked the French accents which were very believable to my American ears.

Looking back, I must admit that my inventory contained some of the most unusual objects ever found in a game. (Who ever heard of a "seven-tailed dragon's tongue", or the "essence of female bear in heat", I ask you?) Brian has a comment for every object and sometimes hints at its suggested use. Sometimes items need to be combined to create another, even more crazy item. (And, everything has a use in this game - no red herrings.) I also liked the way Brian "emptied out his pockets" at the end of each chapter, getting rid of "excess weight", as he put it. That left the inventory uncluttered and fresh. Only occasionally were a few items brought over to a new chapter.

This is definitely not a "puzzle" game in the sense that some others are. All of the puzzles are what I would call "situations" that are solved either by conversation or inventory use. There is only one "true" puzzle at the end of the game and it is simple.

The game is decently long and will keep you busy for, say, a good week - possibly longer if you don't use a strategy guide. After you finish the game and the credits finish rolling, you are treated with some additional ending scenes.

The Bad

No, I didn't find the "adult" innuendos to sex and drugs offensive. (Parents, most kids won't "get it", if you get my meaning.) The "scantily clad" girls didn't bother me - in fact, they wore more than many seen on television and in movies these days. I didn't even mind the so-called "offensive racial stereotypes" that some reviewers referred to.

I'd say my biggest beef with this game is the excess dialog. Even though the conversations are interesting, you must go through each and every topic (sometimes several times) and listen to long, drawn-out answers. Some of the cut-scenes contained an extra amount of talking, and there is no way to skip them.

There is a lot of watching without participation here, and that is my second dislike. Sure, there's plenty of actual gameplay, but many scenes begged for interaction when there was none to be had.

Getting stuck in an adventure game because of lack of real clues is never good. It is normal to examine each screen carefully for interactive spots so as to not miss any. Patience is the key here, and sometimes I lost mine and had to refer to a walkthrough. "Think outside the box", I kept telling myself, but my imagination often wasn't good enough. Many times the answers are so outlandish that only the designers could have thought of it. Creative, yes, but frustrating at the same time. I found it helpful to play this game in shorter spurts to give me a new perspective and new ideas.

After writing all of the above, I decided I'd better re-read my review of the first game, Runaway: A Road Adventure to see what has changed between games. They are very similar, and it is surprising to me that so little was different. Making this one in DVD meant no disc changes - a definite plus. Also, items in Dream seemed easier to find for me this time around. (I never changed anything in the Options this time, so I don't know how that compares.)

The Bottom Line

To summarize, Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle is a well-designed game that should please fans of the adventure genre. Graphics, music and sound are all excellent and the interface is easy to use. It has a meaty storyline with twists and turns in the plot. Humor is of the "tongue-in-cheek" variety similar to a situation comedy on television. As can be said about any attempt to amuse, some jokes are funny than others. Unfortunately it suffers from some of the same problems as its predecessor with its strict linearity that can result in frustration and the consulting hints or a walkthrough. Additionally lengthy cut-scenes with too much conversation could turn off some players.

All of the above doesn't mean that I didn't thoroughly enjoy Dream - quite the contrary. I loved it, despite its flaws. Since pickings are thin these days for comedic adventures for the PC, don't pass up this title.