26/06/2017

Full Throttle

I'm not putting my lips on that.




Full Throttle. That's got something to do with a guy on a bike, right? That's about all I know of Full Throttle, other than that it is a point and click - my speciality...

I can't say I was looking forward to playing it if I'm honest, but the more I read about it before doing so, the more interested in it I was. It stars the vocal talents of Mark Hamill, for example, whom I think I've heard of before, but also the likes of Maurice LaMarche and Kath Soucie and other names you don't necessarily know but whose voices you definitely do.

Set in an alternate near future version of America, Full Throttle has you point Ben, leader of the Polecats motorcycle gang, around the desolate countryside on a mission to clear his name after being framed for murder.

How soon will I need to search for 'Full Throttle walkthrough'?






Fun Times


Full Throttle looks awesome. I'm playing the MS-DOS version, but I know there is a rather recent remastered version that updates these graphics, should you want to see them in even greater detail. It doesn't need them, in my opinion, and you can come to that conclusion that very early on.

After a short introduction to set the scene, you are thwacked around the head and left in a dumpster. It's up to you to click your way through the screens to find out what's going on. Luckily, items of interest change the cursor from a crosshair into a red-boxed crosshair, so pixel hunting is left to a minimum, new players have a chance to understand what types of objects are likely to be useful, and the artwork can be seamless between the background and interactive objects.




Hold the mouse button down and one of the most unusual tool displays in the history of video games opens up. Instead of a contextual list of words or a wheel of options, a biker jacket emblem thing appears in all its glory, where you can mouse over a hand to grab or use something, a boot to kick something, and a skull to talk to someone or look at something.

Functionally, it's a little cumbersome, but aesthetically it's a perfect example of Full Throttle standing out. The item window could do with a little work, though.




Gameplay is as you'd expect with a point and click - lots of puzzle solving, though it is broken up with a lot of cutscenes and even some vehicular combat.




Sometimes the puzzles you face are as easy as kicking down a door, sometimes a little more complex, like kicking down a door with some timing, such that you knock out the person on the other side. Sometimes it seems like kicking things should be your first course of action, just because of its effectiveness as a solution to your problems.

After finding your keys, you race off to try and catch up with the rest of your gang, only to end up wrecking your bike and having to help Maureen the mechanic fix her up for you before continuing. 

The game opens up a little at this point, giving you a wider area to complete a number of objectives in, each requiring you to have found items from other locations in order to progress, and then of course to solve some puzzles.




Frustrations


There's not too much going on in this early section, and you can't really put a foot wrong, but while I knew I had some solutions in my head, evidently I didn't have them in the game or didn't do them in quite the right way. Had I clicked around enough, I probably would have stumbled on them, but sometimes we're stupid, aren't we?




I'm currently trying to get rid of this junkyard dog. I have the meat it wants, but where to put it, and when, and what to do while it's distracted is still beyond me.




Final Word


Stupidity aside, I want to see where Full Throttle will take me. The decision to have a motorcycle gang leader as the main character was supposedly a strange decision that wasn't going to work, but the argument for sticking with it was that, secretly or not, a lot of people think motorbikes are cool.

They are cool. Full Throttle is cool. I say both of those statements with confidence, despite having never ridden a motorcycle, nor played anywhere near enough of Full Throttle to give it an objective review.

The usual opinion on point and clicks applies - they look magnificent and are often written so well that even if they don't look good they're worth playing, but sometimes you're just not in the same state of mind as the developers were when they made the puzzle that you've gotten stumped on.

It's not as humorous as other LucasArts titles, but it has a style of its own and definitely isn't just for people who like motorcycles. If I don't end up playing it again sometime soon - with the assistance of a walkthrough, no doubt - then I'll won't be wasting any of my time when I decide to watch it on YouTube instead.

You should do one of those options too.


Fun Facts


Reviewers at the time said the game was too short, clocking in at around 8 hours. Come time for the remastered edition 20 years later, and 8 hours seems plenty...

Full Throttle, developed by LucasArts, first released in 1995.
Version played: MS-DOS, 1995, via emulation.