Anyone that was around the PC scene in the first half of the nineties should be more than familiar with the peak of Lucas Arts’ adventure games. If you weren’t, then the recent Lucas Arts Classics range is the perfect opportunity to catch up with some of the finest and most creative moments in videogames history. Anyone that is familiar with these games will be picking these up to relive fond memories anyway.
Like any Lucas Arts game, Full Throttle is one slick little game. The company’s experience and expertise really shines, especially in the graphical user interface. Whereas earlier adventure games had all sorts of clunky and busy interfaces, Full Throttle keeps things simple and clean. The interface actually only comes up at all when you click on an interactive item or person. Holding down the left mouse button will bring up a skull and crossbones (fitting), flanked with a boot and hand. The eyes on the skull mean ‘look’, the mouth ‘talk’, hand is ‘use’ and foot is ‘kick’ (useful for doors). It’s simple, looks good and works a treat. The best part is you don’t have to keep clicking on commands at the bottom of the screen and then back up and onto the item again. The right mouse button accesses your inventory.
There are two main problems with the game however. Firstly, the game is actually quite short; and secondly, most adventure games don’t hand feed their players. Because the game doesn’t hold your hand and provide quick hints, you’ll have to figure everything out for yourself. Problem is that a lot of the puzzles involve blind trial and error, and I was very stuck a couple of times for reasons such as not standing in the right place, or realising a particular scene could be walked through and had another screen to it off the side. Even though all the puzzles make perfect sense after completing them, often you’ll think they were actually kind of tricky to figure out instead of slapping yourself for not figuring it out sooner.
From the very first intro, you can tell that this is a Lucas Arts adventure. The characters are memorable, the music suits the game perfectly and the graphics have more charm than you can wave a brush-tool at. Every scene in the game contains that brilliant style seen in games such as Sam and Max and Day of the Tentacle. Backgrounds are detailed, characters animated and everything is bursting with colour, even if the setting is a wasteland at night. Sure it may be pixelated, but that only adds to the charm and the style to be honest. The only weak point in the graphical armour for me is that I don’t think the bike scenes quite fit the art style.
I wouldn’t call this the best of the Lucas Arts adventure games, but that said it certainly doesn’t let the side down at all, and more than deserves its place in the collection. At its bargain price, Full Throttle will provide a day or a few solid evenings of entertainment, and while often overshadowed by its siblings, is an essential play for any keen adventurer.