Tag Archive: lucasarts


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TellTale games have come along in leaps and bounds in the past few years. In 2006 they released the critically acclaimed Sam & Max Season 1, the dynamic duo’s first outing in over ten years. Since then they have released a second season, along with other successful series such as Strongbad’s Cool Game For Attractive People and the new Tales of Monkey Island. Well now TellTale are at it again, this month releasing the first episode of the new season, Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.

Episode 1: The Penal Zone puts a tick in all the right boxes; Super-intelligent Space Gorilla on a quest for toys that can bend reality, check; weird and wonderful apparitions that are equally hilarious as they are frightening, check; a prophecy that foretells the end of the world, naturally involving Max, check. For fans of the duo’s beginnings as a comic book, their first outing in the video game realm “Hit The Road”, or the cartoon series, this episode feels the most like Sam & Max. It’s wacky, it’s out there, and it feels more comfortable in it’s universe than Season One or Two did.

Having said that, there isn’t as much story in this episode as expected, yet it manages to setup the story well enough that you will be hanging out for the next episode to drop. The story focuses around the villain “Skuk’ka’pe” who has come down to earth to collect some reality altering toys, among other reasons. The episode starts out with a vision of the end of the episode, a technique often seen in a lot of movies (See: Tarrantino), but your actions throughout the episode change the outcome, which leaves plenty of surprises in store.

While the puzzle element in previous seasons has been great, Season 3 has some truly inventive puzzles to be solve. This is due to Max and his new crazy supernatural abilities, mainly the teleport power. At first you might seem stumped, but as you move through and become comfortable with these abilities, you will soon find abstract ways around some seemingly impossible obstacles. It may seem gimmicky but I assure you it’s an integral part to the story, and it is implemented rather well.

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Along with the new gameplay style come the new interface scheme that was implemented with Tales of Monkey Island. Now instead of the standard point and click mechanics, you can now use the WSAD keys, or even plug in a gamepad. While it will make it seem more like a console port than enhance gameplay (this season is launching on consoles), but it certainly isn’t a game breaker. Other elements have been improved, a new pointer which for those of you who have played “Hit the Road” will recognise, along with highlighting objects a green colour so they are easier to define from the environment when clicking around.

Sam & Max have always been known for their wacky sense of humour, and the first episode of the third season certainly hits the funny bone more than a few times. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments, and some terrific sight gags that will leave a smile on your face. The one liners this time around are sharp, witty and will stick out for days after you finish the episode, “I’m glad to see that Earthlings are still so charmingly racist” is just one of the many that sticks out in my mind.

But while the story and humour is solid, it’s not fantastic. Skunk’ka’pe is the only character that seems to drive the story forward, and while there is plenty of time to catch up with old friends Bosco, Agent Superball and the rest of the cast we’ve grown to love, it all seems a little redundant as you simply await for the next encounter with the damn dirty space ape. It can wear a little thin, it’s not bad, gamers just expect a little more.

The graphics are right on the money, and feature some fantastic design elements. Skun’ka’pe arrives on the block in a space ship that is both ridiculous and terrifying at the same time. Animation is smooth and fluid and everything looks just like it should. Backed up with some of the strongest voice acting in the business, this episode is top notch in both the graphic and audio sectors, just like all the episodes that have come before it.

The Final Verdict

The Penal Zone is a solid intro into the new season that sets the player up for what is coming ahead. While the story can seem a bit thin at times, the new interface along with the implementation of some great new gameplay features make this a delight to play through. For hardcore Sam & Max fans this is a must play, as it really feels like the first true Sam & Max game since “Hit The Road” from the 90’s.

8/10

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Fracture

Original ideas in gaming these days are few and far between, and while it seems every title is claiming to offer us something never seen before, usually I end up being disappointed, like a kid who waits all day to buy a chocolate ice-cream to have a stranger steal said ice-cream, eat it and then crap it back out into their cone. It’s sad, depressing and makes you never want to trust anyone again.

Having said that it’s now time to look at Lucasarts newest game Fracture. Looking at it for a quick overview, it’s simple a run of the mill 3rd person shooter with not much to offer like that one plain cheerleader on the squad who always tries to hard to get somebody’s attention. What is Fracture’s claim to fame? Something they like to call Terrain Deformation (TD) but we’ll get to that in a moment.

So basically you play as Atlantic Alliance soldier Jet Brody, a slightly less manly and wimpy version of Marcus Fenix in the battle against the Pacificans. It’s the 22nd century and the Pacificans started altering DNA to keep up with the changing climate, while the Alliance put a ban on Genetic Engineering and chose to go with Cybernetic Enhancement. The Pacificans get pissed, cry to mum and then decide to say a hearty “Fuck You” and take over the world and have a tea party at the end with jam and scones and whipped cream. Standard story for any futuristic shooter these days

Fracture is a simple 3rd person shooter with some rather interesting weapons. You have your standard machine guns, rocket launchers and the like, but the real fun is to be had tth the TD grenades. You collect a set of grenades that can alter your terrain to your advantage on the battlefield. Let’s say you are getting pwned by a bunch of bad guys and need some cover, throw a TD grenade and boom there is a hill right there in front, giving you the cover you need to regenerate your health, reload and get ready for action. There are a multitude of these weapons that raise or lower terrain, create a gravity pull and the like, and while they are cool to see in action, they aren’t used enough. The puzzles that require TD to complete are simple and predicatble, and I honestly feel if the developers really pushed the boundaries with TD the game would have been much, much more interesting.

AI leaves a bit to be desired. All the enemies look the same, drab colours and not enough variety, and why they aren’t the smartest bunch and aren’t too difficult to dispose of, Fracture makes up in the number of them, they just keep coming and coming wave after wave, and often gameplay ends up being tired and boring, kill bad guys, get to checkpoint, move onto next area, kill bad guys and so forth

Controls are simple and easy once you get a grip on them, and once you have the TD functions down pat you will be out there ripping it up on the battlefield. Graphics are actually quite decent, and the TD effects look breath taking! Audio is also damn solid running through my 7.2 system (only running 5.1 though)

It’s true, Fracture does offer something that gamers haven’t seen in a game before until now, but instead of capitalizing on that idea, it was used in a boring and uninventive way. All in all I actually really like Fracture, it’s fun and while sure it’s run of the mill and not a game that stands out like Bioshock or Little Big Planet, it was a blast for the weekend I completed it. I hope Lucasarts takes some feedback, goes back and releases a sequel that utilizes the potential that this title really did have

6/10

Lego Indy

It seems a long time ago when Lego Star Wars graced us with a family friendly, fresh faced, fun look at one of the biggest franchises and changed the way we would look at Lego platformers forever. With two sequels it was time to move on to the next Lucasfilm series, Indiana Jones.

What we are given is much of the same, graphics are a little better but this is most likely due to the real world locations instead of outer space. It’s nice to see Traveller’s Tale have kept in the humour that we have grown to love.

What I immediately noticed on the first level and then by the end of the second level I was ready to never touch this game again, POOR CONTROLS! Hell even Bill Clinton can control his actions better than I can control this ducking game. Jumping from platforms are hard to judge by horrible camera angles, and don’t even try to aim coz you’ll be throwing shit at the walls instead of your enemys.

Level design is more varied when compared to LEGO Star Wars and the puzzles are solid too. All in all if you are looking for a family friendly game this could work for you, or it could backfire when you end up stringing together a non sensible string of profanities at the poor controls infront of the kids

6/10