Tuesday 29 September 2015

Game 59: Police Quest III: The Kindred (1991) – Introduction

Written by Alex

Released for the IBM PC and the Amiga in September of 1991 (according to Giant Bomb) or October (according to MobyGames), Police Quest 3 (according to the box) or III (according to the game itself), subtitled The Kindred, takes the series into the VGA, 256-color point-and-click, a place Sierra had been transitioning many of its long-running adventure series during the early 1990s. King’s Quest first got the king’s treatment in 1990 with King’s Quest V, followed in 1991 by Space Quest IV and a remake of Space Quest I, Leisure Suit Larry 5 and a remake of Leisure Suit Larry 1, and finally this title. More series would follow suit, as well as a bevy of new titles, some of which would spawn franchises of their own, created with ever-improving presentaiton.

Sunday 27 September 2015

Spellcasting 201: Beautiful Barmaids Near Barfton

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #4
“I'm not sure how to feel about today. It's such a bummer that Tickingclock isn't around – I could really use his help! I have this horrible feeling in the back of my mind that someone has bad ideas in mind for me.. and I don't mean Chris Cowpatty. He actually did something pretty cool for me, not that he realised it at the time. An all day pass out of Sorcerer's University was really what I needed to stretch my legs and get things moving again. I made sure to stop by Tickingclock's corpse.. but I did it on my way back from his wife, who I decided could spare some clothes for the girl I just made. I just made! How weird is that?!?!? Eve is really cool. I mean, she doesn't know much of anything just yet, and she's sorta a little.. creepily devoted? But except for that, she's really amazing and entirely the sort of girl I could spend heaps of time with. It's really lucky I had her come along with me to my assignment – spiking some punch at Barmaid U. I've been holding onto this dehydrated pellet of spirits from the University Pub for a while now, and I was really planning on having a great time once me, Gary and Sid were in the frat officially. Instead, I masqueraded as a guy from Plumber U, found a handy wrench with this coupon I've been holding onto, fixed some pipes, watched some crazy barmaids dance around with Eve and even got a new cloak out of the deal.. Impossible, huh, Chris? Bring it on! Another Attachment fell out when I was leaving the crazy party, too.. I'm beginning to think I'll have this thing ready and unlocked before the end of the week!

But I wanted the Malls n' Muggers assignment!

Friday 25 September 2015

Lost Classic: Questprobe #4: X-Men

Written by Joe Pranevich

The Chief Examiner shows off his gem collection. (From the ending to Questprobe #1.)

Last time, we completed Questprobe Featuring the Human Torch and the Thing, the third and final Questprobe game to be released out of a planned twelve games. Shortly after that game came out, Adventure International faced bankruptcy and all of the games in progress were cancelled. That would have been the end of the story except for two things: Scott Adams had already started work on the fourth Questprobe game and had it in a partially working state, and Marvel would revive the character of the Chief Examiner a few years later to wrap up the Questprobe plot line. The most amazing part of this is that Scott kept the partially completed game stored away and has been generous enough to allow me the chance to play it. This is a “Lost Classic”, a game that could have been. Next week we will post interviews with Scott Adams and Kem McNair, then we will wrap it up with a final epilogue as we look at Marvel’s continuation of the characters as well as a few surprises.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Leisure Suit Larry 5: Final Rating

Written by Alex

Leisure Suit Larry 5! Final rating! GO!

Puzzles and Solvability: 1

What puzzles? This game is impossible to lose, and as such, I cannot give it a higher rating than this. Here: I’ll show you. After getting all 1,000 stupid points in this stupid game during my initial playthrough, I proceeded to do an “As Little As Possible (ALAP)” run. Let me give an example of how this game goes beyond hand-holding into outright giving you the solution. See this?

I think I forgot to mention this in my gameplay posts. It lets you skip parts of the game. Not just cut-scenes, but actual “puzzles,” as far as this game has any. Remember this part?

Monday 21 September 2015

Hail all Lurkers at the Threshold!

By TAG team

No, this isn't about Lovecraft

We have noticed that the amount of readers of the blog has grown, but the amount of commenters not so much. Because we are always eager to have more friends of adventure games share their thoughts with the community and wish that every reader would feel welcome in our midst, we are interested to find out what are the reasons for readers remaining lurkers and whether we as a community could do something to make you feel more welcome.

Saturday 19 September 2015

Spellcasting 201 - Vale Tickingclock

Written by Aperama

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #3: It's almost impossible to put into words what I am feeling just at the moment. The man who has been like an old stepfather who didn't realise that his wife was giving herself to me The man who has mentored me through the entire first year I spent at Spellcasting U has died. It's possible I am responsible. Well, partially. The rumor seems to say that 'Dean Tickingclock's clock ticked its last when he caught his wife enjoying herself with an elevephant'. I visited Babar and saw no evidence of it, but who's to say what really happened? Given that little premonition he gave to me when I was first given the key to the Sorcerer's Appliance, there's this little thought in the back of my head that maybe he's still around somewhere, or that it's a big conspiracy. I really don't know for sure. Either way, I decided I had to go on with my day and pretend that nothing happened. At least until I have my bearings. Classes have been cancelled until the end of the week, so everyone is celebrating even though such a great guy has kicked it. Hillary doesn't exactly seem upset about the whole thing, even though I (literally) ran across Yakbladder Quad just to check on her. I had a pretty easy deal with the whole pledge thing, so that was good. I just had to mix up a speed potion and hyperheat the Sacred Champagne Toast of the TKB Frat. Good thing I picked up the instrument yesterday! I'm sure that Cowpatty was convinced that he'd dealt me an impossible hand, but that was pretty easy. Speaking of Cowpatty, why are he and Hiddenmolar whispering in the pub about me? What have I done to any of these people? I saved the entire goddamned school just a year ago!”

Our task for the day seems to me to be noticeably
less troublesome than moving tons of animal mascot

Thursday 17 September 2015

Missed Classic: Questprobe #3 - WON! and Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

Time to see what is beyond the wall of fire!

Thing Journal #3 - So Johnny comes and joins me down in the caves and he’s able to get past the wall of fire and slow down the wind. Why there’s a lever to slow down the wind, I have no idea. But then we fly up and he gets the crazy idea to fire me from a cannon at the Blob. Typical hotheaded reaction, but what do you expect? He fires the cannon and the Blob dodges, sending me straight through to the castle. But once there, Xandu gets into my brain right good and doesn’t let me save Alicia. Torch then calls out that he’ll be right back; says he knows how to create an earthquake or something. Few minutes later, the ground shakes and look, Xandu’s knocked unconscious by a statue of Dr Doom. Talk about irony, right? But I free Alicia and high-tail it outta there.

Torch Journal #3 - Hey Ben, I blew up the gas in the tunnel underneath the castle then everything got quiet... Ben? Hello? Anyone?

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Leisure Suit Larry 5 – WON!

Written by Alex

Another Larry game in the books. This one . . . this one was a real doozy. Between the lack of puzzles, the overdone hand-holding, the repetitive nature of the gameplay, and the controversial nature of some of its jokes, I’m ready to move on. After my last post, things can’t get any worse. Can they?

I guess they can! Unless you find jokes about Mexican accents not to be as inflammatory as blackface! At least I got 1 point for looking at this billboard. What’s that, you say? There are no jokes about Mexican accents in the above text box? Let’s see what happens when Larry calls the number (7 points):

Thursday 10 September 2015

Missed Classic: Questprobe #3 - A Sticky Situation

Written by Joe Pranevich

Eight villains to defeat! (Nine if you count the snake.)

Torch & Thing Journal #2 - We are back together again and exploring a set of windy caves deep underground. The Thing made it there by holding his breath and destroying the machinery that was sucking him down, while the Torch had to take a longer route to sneak past Dr. Doom’s castle, open a shaft hidden in a cave, and fly down. But now that we’re here and together, what happens next? It’s clobberin’ time!

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Spellcasting 201 - Playing the Trunk Card

By Aperama

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #2: Well, turns out that my fame has gotten the better of me! Or that arse Chris Cowpatty just has it in for me. One pledge had to play bagpipes in class. Another to start a food fight in the cafeteria (which is pretty hard I'll admit given nobody actually eats the food there. Can you believe I found a firefly maggot in the casserole I got on the first day?) Me? I only had to steal an elevephant!!! It really seems like Chris doesn't want me to join HDP. Which just makes me want to join them even more, to be honest. It's thankful I take good notes, though, because I realised that my EWC-2 had some elevephant mating essence hidden inside it. So, after I made it through the drudgery of my classes today.. I'll admit that trying to learn the Moodhorn is something that definitely weighs in my mind, but I'm sure I can do it if I really put my mind to it.. I set out to rustle myself up an elevephant. I managed to create a simpleberry shrub from the Sorcerer's Appliance after a little prodding around – I snuck straight past Lyle, the pledge guarding the mascot, left my EWC-2 open and lured the elevephant down into the sewerways. Turns out that firefly larva came in handy after all.. and those blueprints I had of the sewer system! Babar and I found our way through with a little trial and error, and we snuck out through the boat dock. Thankfully, Hillary remembers me from when I had that dinner date with Dean Tickingclock all those years ago, and didn't mind me sneaking Babar in with the EWC-2 still floating in the air.. in exchange for a little fond reminder of our night together! A win-win, really. It was worth it all to see the look on Cowpatty's chicken-covered face!

But I don't want to abandon him! He's my friend!

Sunday 6 September 2015

Leisure Suit Larry 5 – You Are What You Is

Written by Alex

Commenter The Mara recently noted that her question, "[H]ow much more tasteless can Leisure Suit Larry get" is one she has to wait for the answer to. Well, the wait is over. Hold on to your Tardis, because here comes the stupid!

So here’s Patti, outside of K-RAP studios in Philadelphia.

Wait, or is it Baltimore. Continuity error!

Friday 4 September 2015

Missed Classic 12: Questprobe Featuring the Human Torch and the Thing - Introduction (1985)

Written by Joe Pranevich

It’s a good time to be a comic book geek. As I write this, I just got back from watching Ant-Man, a film that absolutely does not deserve to be as good as it is. And yet… wow. It’s the 12th straight film to open at #1 for Marvel. The next film, Fantastic Four, will be out by the time you read this and while it will not be a “real” Marvel film (as the rights are owned by Fox), I hope it does well. I love the Fantastic Four as a team and they deserve to finally get a decent film adaptation. And if you can somehow make an also-ran like Ant-Man into a good film, surely the powers that be could make a great film out of the “first family” of the Marvel universe. If the reviews are good, I’ll be seeing it in a few weeks.

That leads us to our game: Questprobe Featuring the Human Torch and the Thing. Released ten months after Spider-Man, it marks the final Questprobe game and one of the final releases for Adventure International before their bankruptcy. There are a few signs that it might have been a troubled production: the ten month gap between games (twice as long as expected), the game and manual still use an old title in several places (Fantastic Four, Chapter One), and the manual feels less polished than previous efforts. I hope that Scott Adams will share some of these details when he sits down with us in a few weeks.

Just like before, I have a ton of introductory notes. If you just want to get to the gameplay, feel free to scroll down. I won’t mind too much.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Spellcasting 201 - The Case of the Oiled Moustache

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #1
“I sure hope they don't find this. I mean, I woke up this morning with just my cloak – I had all of this stuff they somehow managed to drag out of my hands and throw onto my floor! It seems like they've kinda got it in for me here at HDP – or at least that moron Chris Cowpatty does. One of the other pledges got forced to unleash hornets inside my first class for the day, another to set a smoke bomb off during a concert tonight.. me? Up a huge statue and putting a fake moustache on it! Okay, I'll admit that it's pretty funny, but it's lucky I don't have a fear of heights! Classes sure did fly by today, but I did learn some stuff. For instance, if I really know a couple of spells I don't really need a spellbook for – Prof. Wartytoad explained it with BIP, but I tried later when I locked myself under a manhole and FRIMPed my way out. Good thing I can lift a twenty pound iron doughnut with it! Prof. Branmuffin is one hell of a bore, but at least I know some things about what sort of trees and herbs I'm going to need to look for in the Profession. –Hiddenmolar, though.. the guy hates me. His class should be the most fun – transmuting is something that every sorcerer (Sorcerer? I'll have to ask whether I'm supposed to capitalise it one of these days) aspires to – but he seems to want to torment everyone in the class, especially me! Still, I've got my lump of bronze for his next class. Some reading to do. As for the pledge? I think that they might have rigged it. Good thing I have the Sorcerer's Appliance! They oiled up the statue that I had to climb to put the moustache in place.. so naturally, I used a diamond manufactured by the Appliance to get a de-oiling spell to climb up and throw the moustache in place between first and second period.. I saw the surprise on Cowpatty's face and gave him a good smack for it. Looks like I've got a nemesis already..”

Not the worst puzzle in the world involving a moustache (light spoiler alert)