I reckon that to be a successful point 'n' click adventure game player you have to be one of the most bizarre people on the planet. You have to be devoid of all logical thought. I mean, "I'll pick up that half cabbage just in case I want to stand on it to reach the bag of sandwiches I can use to bribe the security guard later" isn't really the kind of thing that hops into most people's heads.
Well Big Red Adventure is one of the trickiest and most convoluted adventures I've played in ages. That's not to say it's not fun, on the contrary, it's a big, sprawling, cartoony, adventure, sprinkled with crap jokes and a big twist of originality.
As you might have guessed by the title, Big Red Adventure is set in the new Russia, the brand new playground of capitalism and organised crime where Izvestija and Pravda sit next to decedent western glamour mags in the news stands that are springing up in Red Square.
Your task is to complete three loosely linked episodes, controlling one of these characters for each episode. The first sees you guiding Doug, the cunning techno-
In the second segment you must play the dumb, but good natured, Dino - an ex boxer and sailor who has been left behind on a deserted wharf after missing the departure of his beloved oil tanker, The Potempkin.
The final segment of the game introduces Donna Fatale, a star of the Russian ballet who's amazing gymnastic skills have probably been seen by more people on a dodgy VHS than on the stage of the Bolshoi.
This game will keep you occupied for absolutely ages. There are over a hundred locations, each of which you'll need to spend a while on to collect your full quota of useful items and clues.
Unlike a lot of adventure games, there are a variety of different ways you can solve the puzzles and it will take you a while to work out exactly what to do with the huge amount of people and possessions that you come across.
As I said before, you will need to suspend all normal, logical thought processes to play this game. I recommend playing drunk and only then will it appear logical to find out the weight of a burger by weighing yourself before eating it and then after, using a broken, ferrite aerial you snapped off a TV to cheat the electronic scales into weighing you without paying.
Using three characters to play adds immensely to the game and ensures that the story doesn't get boring or samey. Plus, if you get completely stuck trying to guide Dough through episode one, you can start afresh in episode two playing the part of poor Dino, watching his ship sail off into the distance. Believe it or not you even get used to the 'unique' sense of humour that permeates the game.
Initially you'll cringe at the references to Leo Tallstory and Burger Czar but bear with it and you might even find it brings a wry smile to your lips. My favourite little one liner is one of Dino's. Drifting around a wharf side bar Dino to talk to a former chess master who has fallen on hard times because of the wonders of modern high tech computerised chess boards. Dino comforts him by telling him that, "I'm quite safe, they'll never make a computer as stupid as me". My relationship with anything vaguely computer like summed up in one bite sized quote.
The game controls are about as easy as you can get on a Point 'n' click, and anybody who's played Leisure Suit Larry or Monkey Island will feel right at home here. A big fat red arrow acts as your cursor and a click on the right mouse button will bring up the full selection of objects or actions you may want to utilise.
The downside? Well there are only really a couple of things that draw attention. It might sound a little over sensitive but the writers of the game seem to have a view of Japanese people that some could call a little unPC. The Japanese tourist you meet in Red Square is a none too pleasing representation, laden down with cameras and possessing a huge set of teeth and squinty eyes. It's such a fun, friendly game that there's really no need for this sort of thing (even though it's true - Ed).
The sound isn't really anything special and could have been utilised a little better. OK each scene has a different tune (tacky musac in your Moscow hotel or big top music at the circus) but a few more sound effects or maybe a bit of speech would have made the game a little more enjoyable.
However, this said, Big Red Adventure is a corker. It's just the sort of game the Amiga needs right now; a big shiny adventure infused with loads of plot, fun cartoony graphics and the sort of gentle humour that admittedly won't have you rolling in the aisles but it'll bring a wry smile to your face.