Written by  :  Zovni (10648)
Written on  :  Mar 17, 2005
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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Watch out for Eric, Guybrush!

The Good

Comedy games usually make for very entertaining experiences, as they have by nature that which makes a good game: they are FUN. Remember that word? Comedy games are entertaining by nature, and among the most entertaining among them you have Eric the Unready, a tongue-in-cheek medieval parody adventure from Legend.

As the goofy but well-meaning Eric, you somehow manage to get yourself honored as a knight in the game's opening and thus get entrusted to take care of some "knightly" business and completing a series of quests. As it goes, Eric finds himself involved in a major quest to save a princess that's being forced to marry a hideous creature. This plot actually hides a much more sinister ploy to take control of the kingdom but poor Eric only knows that he has to go out there and get the requisite magical items that will allow him to enter the evil castle and (hopefuly) get the girl in the process.

Of course, this story is just an excuse to lay out gag after gag and rejoice in pure comedic bliss. Granted, the basic premise of putting a dumb hero in the way of an epic storyline and watching the comedy ensue is hardly original, as games like the Monkey Island series can prove. But nonetheless Eric the Unready brings much more than the "goofy-dude-trying-to-be-a-hero" action to the table, starting with the absolutely ridiculous stuff that Eric has to go through in his quest. Disregarding everything that could make sense for the sake of comedy. In the same way, nothing is sacred for the guys at Legend Entertainment, and absolutely everything and everybody gets parodied in this one, from videogames to movies, books and anything else you can think of, including Star Trek (which gets it's own fantastic segment titled "Swamp Trek" in which you journey with the Enterprise's crew as they boldly go where no swamp raft has ever gone before!). It's also surprisingly nice to see other videogames be parodied, including Monkey Island and Zork, which gets a special sequence devoted to it in which the interface fades away and is replaced with the classic first paragraphs from the original Zork (you see a white house in front of you...etc.).

Furthermore, the developers seem to have placed a lot of dedication into making sure each and every input from the part of the player, no matter how stupid or out of context, gets it's unique comedic reward. Eric the unready is truly one of those games in which getting lost in the gameworld and exploring at will becomes a truly rewarding experience, giving the player a lot of the most funny moments in the game in this way.

As for the interface and technology, Eric the Unready stands to this day as one of the most playable text adventures, as it not only includes graphics and mouse support, but also a lot of interface refinements that break the mold of traditional text adventures and brings the game closer to the mouse-driven, dynamic world of classic point'n click adventures. It becomes evident that the days of the text adventures were long gone, and the fact that games like Eric the Unready were still around was more of a testament to the stubborn behavior of certain development houses than anything else, as "Eric" was basically two steps away from being a point'n click adventure, complete with animated cutscenes and all.

The Bad

Well some of the puzzles are reaaaally out there, as the wacky theme runs deep in the game and sometimes nailing the right logic for some of the puzzles isn't such an easy thing to do. Also the game features some idiotic mini-games that really annoy you more than anything else, fortunately they are kept to a minimum.

Finally, soundwise the game is really lacking (as are the graphics, but that's for obvious reasons). And I also think that the idea of adding the possibility of death works against the nature of the game.

The Bottom Line

One of the most entertaining comedy titles ever made, no doubt about it. The fact that it still clinged to the dated text-adventure gameplay style can be blamed for it's lack of popularity, but that shouldn't keep you from trying it out. Trust me, you won't regret it.