Some people can be so spiteful can't they? Take, for example the parents of the hero of this game. Picture the scene: Mrs Williams has just given birth to a lovely, bouncing baby boy, complete with Ginger hair and Douglas Fairbanks goatee beard.
He's a swashbuckling adventurer though and through. And what do they decide to call him? Bob? Jim? Montgomery? No, they decide to call him Maddog. What a pair of gits.
Imagine the childhood that poor old Maddog must have had. Teased all the time by the kids at school, all the teachers sniggering when they took the register and as he got older he found that no one would cash his cheques. It's no wonder that he threw aside all thoughts of becoming an adventurer and decided to stay at home and invent things instead.
So the years passed and Maddog went about his inventing. He never thought to invent something that would benefit mankind though, like a computer that could figure out why people watch things in which Jimmy Tarbuck appears. Oh no. He invented such useful items as an alarm clock that tips water over you in the morning, and a beer server that catapults glasses off the bar. Which is probably why nobody ever heard of him. Now, while all this was going on, a terrible evil was spreading throughout the land. As we all know, terrible evils do tend to spread though lands quite a lot, and more often than not, when they do there's always only one man who can stop it.
Guess who it is this time? Yup, it's Maddog Williams. So it's up to you to guide Maddog through his quest to rid the land of evil, save the damsel, make friends and influence people and so on.
Your mighty quest begins at home with very little notion of what awaits you. Just like Monday morning in the Gamer office. You basically go about your business, inventing useless things and getting thrown out of pubs, until you picks up some clues and take it from there. Quite a nice change from the strict linear plots of other games of this ilk, I think you'll find. Oh yes indeed.
The more astute of you will have already seen the screenshots and decided that Maddog Williams looks more than a bit like the Sierra games. Well, you'd be right: it is a hell of a lot like them. The graphics, in particular, are a dead ringer for the King's Quest series, with their chunky sprites and colourful fairy tale backgrounds.
The humour is there too, although some of the jokes in Maddog fall flat on their faces. It would appear that most of the humour in Maddog is unintentional, or at least all the bits that I laughed at were. Would you believe that just down the road from Maddog's house is a satanic temple where they sacrifice virgins with alarming regularity?
Don't think that I don't like the game, because I do. It's just that Maddog's sickenly twee attitude is a real pain in the backside at times. For instance, when Maddog is being flung about violently by some tentacle thingies in an underground cave, I tried to CUT TENTACLES, to which Maddog replied "I'd rather not", or when Maddog is downstairs in his antique shop, and refuses to take any of the weapons from the shop on his quest. A choice of maces, crossbows, battle
This sort of moralistic restriction can make the more mischievous game player feel a bit held back, since you can't search other people's houses or nick things. Still, I suppose it's good for the soul or something. Mind you, for the really evil players, you can always get Maddog stones on the magic mushrooms in the forest (evil cackle).
The game comes on a mammoth five disks, with the first disk containing the introduction and the remaining four disks holding the game.
Each game disk is divided into two chapters - where a chapter is basically a section of the map - and although you can walk from one "chapter" to the next, you can only progress properly if you complete a special task in each.
In chapter one you must rescue a fair maiden from the satanic temple, in chapter two you must find your way across some quicksand. Each time you complete a task, or appear to be following the correct route, a burst of music lets you know that you're on the right track.
The way you can just wander at first, and chat away to the locals about life in general is great, although Lucasfilm-
Who could ever forget the infuriating used ship salesman in Monkey Island, or the embarrassing storekeeper in Leisure Suit Larry? Still, it's a minor point, as the characters really only exist to give you clues and ideas on how to progress, and this they do very well.
The sound is pretty dire. The music is distressingly bleepy and the FX are not what you would call inspiring. It's not bad enough to spoil the game, but it's a pity that more couldn't be done.
On the sunny side, the graphics are nice and clear, if not very well drawn, and sum up the pleasant feeling of the game. The animation is a tad on the sticky side though, with Maddog's walk looking like that cheery child
All in all then, a wonderfully creamy little Pontefract-
It's the sort of story that always seem to crop up in cheesy French cartoons on Childrens' ITV, and as such may appeal more to the wee ones than to die-hard adventurers, but a bit of a corker nonetheless. Gorgeous.