Monday, 28 January 2013
Little Big Adventure (MS-DOS)
The game was originally released for DOS CD-ROM, then it got a floppy disk version, and two years later it was ported across to the PlayStation. But I'm playing the PC CD version because it's what I've got.
Little Big Adventure was Adeline's first game and they only really made two more after this, scrolling beat 'em up Time Commando and Little Big Adventure 2 (aka. Twinsen's Odyssey), before they were sold off to SEGA to form No Cliché and make 'Toy' games for the Dreamcast.
A narrator helpfully explains that the guy's called Twinsen and that the game takes place on a planet called Twinsun, which sits in space between twin suns.
Clearly we must escape from this hellhole, but how? It doesn't even have a door.
Resident Evil style) and holy shit does he turn slowly, about the same speed as he's spinning in the animation above in fact.
Plus they both have a choice of behaviour modes to change how the character moves and interacts with objects. If I want to run, I have to switch to Athletic mode, which also then turns the action button into a jump button. If I need to fight, I'd have to switch to Aggressive mode instead, which turns action into a punch button.
Why they couldn't have just added a punch and a run button, I have no idea.
Fortunately the combat in this isn't as awkward as I expected and I was able to quickly neutralise both enemies with a few good kicks. Sure I'd prefer being able to just run directly at an enemy without worrying about rotating to face them first, but it's not a huge frustration (yet). I guess playing Resident Evil and Silent Hill this month was good practice.
Anyway, the guy in the lab coat dropped a key, so I can automatically use it on the gate and escape to the next area.
Well at least now I know what happens when the alarm goes off, so there's one mystery solved.
Alright, let's try this again.
ONE ROOM FURTHER THAN LAST TIME.
A COUPLE OF ROOMS LATER.
I tried making a run for it, but the door was locked. Then my elephant buddy teleported in and before I knew it Twinsen was back in the office getting slapped again.
I think 'FF' must stand for Dr. Funfrock: the evil tyrant mentioned in the intro who has conquered Twinsen's planet. Which just goes to show that naming your poor child 'Funfrock' is a sure-fire way to traumatise him into growing up to be a vengeful megalomaniac.
It zoomed in like this automatically for this bit, but there's a button to toggle it for normal gameplay. Not really sure why that feature exists, but hey options are good.
Holy shit I did, I lost health! Man, even hitting a wall while in run mode costs me a hit point. That's just weird game design. Weird and really annoying.
Oh by the way, the camera doesn't scroll to follow me as I walk around, that's why I'm at the edge of the screen in this shot. It flicks over to give me a better view when I've walked far enough across the screen though, and I can re-center it at any time so it's not really an issue.
I'm out of lives so that's THE END.
I did try looking for a save option before wading in (I even checked the manual, which I don't often do) and apparently there isn't one. The game autosaves when it feels like I guess, perhaps at invisible checkpoints. Hopefully I didn't lose too much progress though.
Maybe this time I should try to figure out where I'm going before boldly striding through the streets of my occupied hometown wearing my best 'escaped fugitive' outfit. I've been given zero instructions, no clues, and no goals except for 'change clothes'... but I did pick up that map didn't I?
I need to hide somewhere, fast! The pachyderm replicants are hammering at my door and I have no idea where to go.
Hey, there's a door leading off from the kitchen, I think I've found my hiding place! But the elephants have grabbed his girlfriend...
Oh also I've found an ancient robe in Twinsen's wardrobe and learned magic powers. Which is pretty cool. I can cross 'change clothes' off my list of things to do at least. Maybe people will stop shooting me in the street now.
I did manage to get out of it in the end with a tiny bit of health left, and ran around the other side of his house instead. Then got shot by a different guy.
Though I still have to use the garbage truck to escape again. I must have done this around five times now and the only thing that keeps my spirits up is the though that these dumb guards still haven't caught on.
No arrow on the map this time, but at least I know what I have to do. I'm gonna have to rescue Twinsen's girlfriend from the insidious clone army of Dr Funfrock.
You know, Twinsen's starting to remind me of Tintin a bit now that I've heard him talk. Except entirely lacking all emotion. It's not really the best voice acting I've heard in a video game. Though I do like the guy performing all the rabibunnies.
I've had no luck taking one of these things down in a first fight, but now I have Twinsen's ancient magic ball it's a whole different situation. A pretty repetitive situation actually. I guess I just don't have the magic power left in this thing to do anything worse than make an enemy pause for a second. After all the effort I went to trying to get him facing the right way as well...
Well, seems that there's nothing left I can do here but try to make a run for it.
My new plan this time, is ignore EVERYONE. I'm not going to try talking, I'm not going to throw my ball anywhere, I'm just going straight for the boat and if there's no boat there I'm just throwing Twinsen off the dock and calling it a day.
But first, I've got a rubbish truck to climb into.
Alright, the crates are in position! What do I get? Nothing? I can't even use them to jump out of that window? Well, okay then whatever.
Well, until the designer somehow makes that sequel that they've been threatening. Or a remake.
Uh, is it just me, or does that island at the south pole look like a bit... spidery?
So far all I've learned from these guys is that Star Wars: Episode VII is being made, which is definitely good to know and I hope JJ Abrams does it justice, but this info doesn't really help me much with my current dilemma. At least there's no danger of ending up back at that bloody prison again now though.
Anyway, that's basically Little Big Adventure. Dated controls, awkward combat, and not a great deal of information about what you're meant to be doing. Plus you lose health if you run into a wall. But it's got a nice look to it, some of the music's pretty good, and I found myself wanting to like the game. I mean I still want to like it! I just don't really want to play it any further. But it has gotten me curious about the sequel.
Reviewers and players generally seem to love this game though from what I can tell, it's still got an active fan community, and it's often considered to be one of the best adventure games of the early 90s. So if you haven't tried it yet, please don't let my whining put you off. Not entirely anyway.
If you have any opinions about Little Big Adventure/Relentless, feel free to share them. I mean I've just shared like thirty-something screenshots worth of my thoughts, so you might as well.