Jon Gracey's

Games That Rocked…Richard Campbell’s World – #27: Full Throttle

In Mac, PC on March 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

This week’s post by Late Night Gimp Fight’s Richard Campbell:

——

Title: Full Throttle

Format: PC, Mac

Released: 30th April, 1995

Full-throttle_box_front_6552x8244

“Whenever I smell asphalt, I think of Maureen. That’s the last sensation I had, before I blacked out: the thick smell of asphalt. And the first thing I saw when I woke up was her face. She said she’d fix my bike. Free. No strings attached. I should have known then that things are never that simple. Yeah, when I think of Maureen I think of two things: asphalt… and trouble.”

– Ben Whatsisname

Over the years I have mourned the passing of many aspects of my childhood that saved me from an inevitable spiral into a life of crime or mime.

I still cry over the memory of Benton Fraser, the Mountie who should have stayed in Canada and not had his upright and honourable life out look eroded by the harsh realities of Chicago (although I think the Due South producers were right to euthanise it after they treated the audience as fools with the ‘Ray Vecchio is undercover so here is another detective impersonating him‘ storyline in season 3)

I often hold a minute’s silence contemplating the loss of Saturday morning tv that was once the happy home to Live and Kicking, Andi Peters and Emma Forbes until they were harshly evicted when when the British public suddenly discovered the activity known as cooking and needed to wake up every weekend to celebrity chef’s wanking over a saucepan and advocating the advantages of Maldon Sea Salt. I pray Trev and Simon are safe.

Andi_peters__emma_forbes

Hey, I sometimes blub over the downfall of Mick Hucknall who reached his peak with Fairground in 1995, a song that got me through many a hard time (and car journey to visit my grandparents in Worthing.)

However, none of these come close to the daily shirt wrenching, chest tearing, tears-mixed-with-snot, wailing grieving that I undertake for the loss of Lucasarts’ point and click games of the 80s and 90s.

My time line through gaming is probably similar to a lot of readers of this blog. It started with the BBC B that firstly ran off cassette tapes and then floppy discs and where the height of excitement was watching a pixel skeleton play the guitar. Then, after the Acorn, came the Amiga that really showed me that it was time to put the action men down, come inside away from climbing trees and making friends and play games that were nigh-on impossible and didn’t allow you to save your progress. I still wonder what the level 3 of New Zealand Story and Dick Tracy look like.

New_zealand_story

But as awesome as the Amiga was, none of the games that came stuck to the front of magazines felt like ‘my’ games. I never felt immersed in their stories, they lacked humour and platforms rapidly lost their novelty.

Then in 1993, my best friend Ben’s dad brought a computer that came with two free games: Prince of Persia and the point and click game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. It was EXACTLY the type of game I had been waiting for: a cinematic adventure with engaging characters and dialogue and gameplay that required lateral thinking and patience. Although it was a little bit clunky, I knew that point and click was the way forward and no one did it better than Lucasarts.

I gorged myself on all I could find from Monkey Island to Day of the Tentacle, from Sam and Max Hit the Road to…well…Monkey Island 2. They were funny and irreverent and enabled you to explore and interact with the game’s environment as well as, to a certain extent, call the shots as to what happened next. I was content and every time I placed the CD-ROM of a new point and click into my computer I knew what I was going to get.

Monkey_island

That was until the game that rocked my world drove into town: 1995’s Full Throttle. You played the game’s hero Ben, the leader of a motorcycle game called the Polecats, as he attempted to help save Corley Motors and its CEO and founder Malcolm Corley from becoming the victims of the company’s evil Vice President, Adrian Ripburger. It was a story of murder, intrigue and motorbikes.

The game itself had everything you would have expected from a Lucasarts game except turned up to 11. The cut scene animations looked fantastic, with 3D hover cars speeding through open landscapes and detailed comic-style characters exchanging dialogue. It had a full rock soundtrack and a cracking voice cast including the one and only Mark Hamill! Apart from looking great, the developers had also tweaked the formula so that on top of the point and click adventure, players were also required to combat enemy bikers in Road Rash-style encounters and crash cars in a demolition derby. Another surprise element that I had not seen before in other games was the unexpected twist that your character could die if you made a wrong choice or acted too slowly.

I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved the dystopian setting and the film noir voice-overs. I loved the characters and plot. It was perfect and, as a sign of my respect for the game, I refused to consult the walkthrough and was determined to finish it on my own. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have only completed two games on my own: Super Mario World and Full Throttle.

Soon I started to move away from point and click games, and my timing was rather fortuitous, as soon after the adventure genre, like Due South and Live and Kicking, began to lose favour and Lucasarts slowly stopped developing titles. Grim Fandango followed but it was missing the rock and roll anarchy of Full Throttle.

Chainsaw

There have been two cancelled sequels to Full Throttle but I will never give up hope that one day, like Sam and Max under the guidance of TellTale games, Ben and his Polecats will ride back into town and breathe new life into the point and click world.

Yep, when I think of the 90s I think of two things: Full Throttle…

…and Mick Hucknall.

Mick_hucknall

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Rich Campbell is a member of award-winning sketch troupe Late Night Gimp Fight.

He doesn’t look like Mick Hucknall…yet.

Rich_campbell
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