System: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Vita, iOS | Released: April 2017
Developer: LucasArts / Double Fine | Reviewed On: PC
Again, we delve into the world of remastering much-loved relics of a forgotten past, and it's welcome...by god it's welcome.
Originally released in 1995, this classic and quirky release from LucasArts follows a reasonably successful run of adventure Point & Click games with Monkey Island leading their pack. Full Throttle is now remastered by Double Fine Productions who appear to be scraping up LucasArt's catalogue and breathing new life into their nostalgic masterpieces. Understandable when you learn that LucasArts developer Tim Schafer is the founder of Double Fine.
In Full Throttle, you control Ben, the leader of the Polecats - a biker gang. You are immediately embroiled in an adventure forced upon you by the Vice President of Corley Motors (Ripburger) when he makes for a takeover of the company by killing Malcolm Corely (CEO) and aims to change its legacy production of high-quality motorcycles to...minivans! Comical, I know. But this is what this game is about and boasts LucasArts signature light-hearted, hilarious approach to Point&Click adventure gaming.
In leading the pursuit to take down Ripburger and save the company from sure demise, you learn that the rightful heir of the company and its assets (Maureen) is within your circle. Justice prevails in a final culmination of action, conspiracy and comedy.
I think it was around the year 2001 that I first played this game and enjoyed the story with its classic dystopian theme. Now I've matured (supposedly) I'm able to appreciate the finer nuances in the game's backstory, albeit as simple as they come. It's executed well, although it is fairly short and a more complex story wouldn't totally ruin it. Having said that, preservation is the key here and Double Fine have preserved its integrity magnificently.
So, remastered aspects include a full revamp of the game's visual components. With it comes some fantastic rendering of backgrounds and fine polishing of the character avatars to incredible high definition. This aspect alone is the appeal to replay a timeless relic. It should be noted, though, that the artwork is preserved in style, merely improved to fit in this new age.
Double Fine must have been proud of this remaster as opposed to the Grim Fandango one, as they included the function to switch between original and remastered graphics with one click - or maybe it was an afterthought when they embarked on this journey of resurrecting old games. Either way, it's an excellent touch for players of the original game. I found myself using it in every scene.
Here is just a taster of the scale of improvement you should expect:-
Looking at it now, I miss the pixellated classic-ness of the original, but you can see the stark clarity of the remaster and how effective it is without taking too much away from the original art style. It also makes you realise how good the detail was on the original for its time.
The remaster also includes updated sound FX and music, helping to ease the game into the 21st century. But wait, what's this? - original voice actor dialogue ripped from the original recordings and remastered? Now, this is a commendable act and was the right thing to do in my eyes. Ben's voice actor, in particular, is simply irreplaceable and the game just wouldn't sit right with anyone else in his role.
Minimal changes have been made to the gameplay, I mean, what can you possibly do to clunky Point & Clicks without changing the game? It did, however, feel more fluid and better in general and has received a nice new control interface which sits nicely with the graphics upgrade. This may have been a clouded judgement as all aspects feed into one massively improved experience.
One scene sticks with me in terms of the scale of improvement, and that's the road scene (which seems to take an eternity to traverse btw). I think this scene, more than others, is where the remastered version is particularly justified and really allows that superimposed 'Mad Max' feel to really shine.
It also brings in the other gameplay layer (riding your motorcycle) in the same light. Better controls, better animations, better gameplay, original integrity untarnished.
Overall, I enjoyed this remaster more than the last few I've experienced. Again, the integrity of the original remains intact, only dealing with aspects that benefit the feel of the game. A lot of thought has gone into it to that regard and is executed well. I guess having the original developer behind the scenes is the ideal scenario for any remaster and has allowed this one to surpass the original in multiple ways - in my opinion.
Taking me back to childhood days - where my life was shielded from the harshness of reality and all I cared about was getting home from school and playing these games that allowed me to escape into another world, another adventure - is always going to envelop my soul and generate love and nostalgia. The fact that these games are being rekindled and released onto the market really makes me feel proud to be a true Point&Click warrior, sticking it through the genre's death and rebirth, and I have thoroughly enjoyed this title as much as, if not more than, I did back at the beginning of the Millenium.