Most of us grew up on point and click adventures like Sam & Max, Day of the Tentacle and the magnificent Monkey Island series. Pendulo Studios now comes with a new point and click adventure called Runaway: A Road Adventure. Being a huge fan of point and click adventures, I couldn't wait to try out this game. At first I was afraid that the game wouldn’t measure up to the great classics made by Lucasarts. Being used to Monkey Island game I had certain expectations for this game, but I can tell you, they were well met.
Brian and Gina.
The two main characters of the game meet when Brian leaves his home to go to Berkeley University in California. Brian had forgotten to pick up a book in Manhattan and decides not to have it delivered to him, but to pick the book up himself. On his way to the bookstore he hits a woman with his car. He immediately runs out to get the woman to a hospital. After he brought the girl to the hospital, he figured he couldn't do anything more for her and decides to continue his trip. However, the woman, Gina, begs him not to leave her alone, because mobsters are out to kill her. Brian thinks she hit her head a bit too hard and doesn't believe this at first. After Gina tells him the whole story, he decides to be better safe than sorry and thinks of a plan to throw off the mobsters. When Brian sees them with his own eyes, he realizes that Gina was telling the truth and that she needs his help. A new adventure begins.
2D or 3D?
Pendulo Studios decided to make this point and click adventure with a cartoon style. If you played Escape from Monkey Island
, you know that point and click adventures can be great fun in full 3D, but Pendulo Studios decided to combine the technology of today with that classic cartoon style. In the game itself they used a cartoonish style, with more detail and better shading. In the cut scenes, which are an important part of point and click adventures, they used Cell Shading technology. For those of you that don't know what Cell Shading is, I will give a brief explanation; Cell Shading is 3D modeling with cartoon style coloring and shading. This means black outlines and plain colors. This has been an excellent choice of Pendulo Studios; it really gave the game that new modern feel.
Swords vs. Guns, Books vs. Computers.
As I said, I am a true fan of Lucasarts and Monkey Island games. In the Monkey Island titles the adventures were with ships, swords and books, and I was curious to see how a modern point and click adventure in the city would play. Taking place in modern day, Runaway was no place to search for ships, swords and stuff like that. A very good aspect of the game was the combination of classic items and high tech items. In the game you frequently encounter high tech equipment like PC's, MP3 Players, Stereo sets and other modern machinery. This makes the game appeal to the younger gamers amongst us who are more used to computers than ships. Playing this game made me realize that times are really changing and that games are getting more and more realistic.
Funny! Or not?
An important aspect in point and click adventures remains humor. If you played a Monkey Island game, you know that these games can be hilarious. Runaway certainly competes well in the humor factor. The jokes in the game are clever and at some point Brian even says that he feels like "the last few days he didn't have control over his own life" and that it was "like in one of those computer games". Personally I found this a very clever and witty joke to make in a computer game. Most of the jokes are very original and fun, which makes this game certainly worth playing.
Soundtrack and Music.
In the opening video, the soundtrack from Liquor is played. I immediately fell in love with this song and played the opening movie again numerous times to hear the song again. The style of the song remembered me of The Cranberries and Within Temptation, which are some of my favorite bands. The music in the game is very well composed. When you're doing an investigation, the music is calm, but when you are about to make a big breakthrough, the music changes to exciting music. The music stays intriguing until the very last minute and never gets boring, repetitive or dull at any point.
Runaway: A Road Adventure is certainly one of the top games of this year. There aren't many new point and click adventures made, but this one is certainly a treat for fans of the genre, as well as a great way to be introduced to the genre. The game is fun whether you are 10 or 50 and has good parts in it for any type of gamer. If you are a fan of adventure games and only want to buy one game this year, I would certainly suggest Runaway: A Road Adventure.
Pros and Cons
Finally I would like to mention a couple of pros and cons of the game. The cons don't make the game less enjoyable, but they do make the game somewhat annoying.
- Good music
- Good gameplay
- Short (easily finishable in 20 hours)
- Sometimes Brian walks very slowly and you have to wait quite a while before he arrives at his destination
- A little difficult some times