Full Throttle is a graphic adventure game set in the near future that follows Ben, the leader of a biker gang, who is framed for the murder of a beloved motorcycle manufacturing mogul and seeks to clear his and his gang’s names.
What immediately stands out when you play this game is the music and voice acting. As this is a biker game you’d expect a rock or metal soundtrack, which is done by The Gone Jackals, and suits the game incredibly well. The intro song (Legacy) that plays while you’re introduced to the characters and the story is setup really gets you pumped up and sets the tone for the rest of the game.
Mark Hamill provides the voice for Adrian Ripburger, who you know right from the beginning is going to be the main villain. Having grown up watching Batman: The Animated Series as soon as I heard how this character was voiced all I could hear was the Joker - which just felt perfect. Roy Conrad plays Ben, and also feels perfectly cast for this role.
All dialogue is voiced in this game, and honestly I can’t point to a single character who’s performance feels “phoned in”.
As with all adventure games of this era, you communicate with other characters via a dialogue tree. Depending on the situation, you can uncover new information or advance the plot by picking from a list of options - reading the response - then repeating. Certain scenes can’t advance until you navigate a specific combination of options, but you can just keep repeating these conversations until you get them right and allow the game to progress.
To interact with a scene or a character you just move the cursor over it and click to bring up a context menu. This is a far simpler version of the action bar that Sierra On-Line games would present you with and actually makes the game a bit more enjoyable by removing a lot of the “verb-cycling” you’d do in other games as you right click away until you get the right icon. Once the context menu is on screen, you just move to one of the four verbs associated positionally with an icon (LOOK, GET, KICK, MOUTH). “MOUTH”, though not really a verb cleverly rolls a number of actions into a single option, as you can use this to talk to characters, blow on something, drink something … etc.
The graphics in this game still stand up. Though I played through this game using an hq2x scaler, in retrospect I think it would have been better to just experience the graphics unmodified as they really are fantastic. Double Fine re-released this game in 2017 with updated graphics, but when you look at their side-by-side comparisons it’s clear the original still looks pretty good … just a bit lower resolution.
Though this segment only happens twice, you have to fight other biker gangs in an arcade sequence to progress through these sections of the game. This is an interesting mechanic as you can pick up various weapons from bikers you beat to improve your odds of beating harder bikers. These sequences can be a bit challenging, though if you lose you just get back on your bike and try again.
What I actually appreciated even more is that you can effectively skip these scenes by just pressing
SHIFT-V. I’m not sure if this was in the original game or just introduced by ScummVM as a quality-of-life feature, but if you’re getting stuck on these fights and want to just progress the story you have the option.
The same option exists in the demolition derby sequence. The goal here is to create a distraction so the Vultures can steal a custom motorcycle that is the first prize in the derby. To finish the segment you have to jump off a ramp with your car onto another car to stall it, then push this car off the ramp onto another car to stall it then ram another car to make it blow up … confused yet?
This demolition derby sequence is actually a bit frustrating and the fact that you can skip it too if you’re not interested in slogging through the arcade sequence is appreciated. I do remember muddling my way through this segment many times when I was a kid and not finding it particularly challenging, but this time around even after reading the walkthrough I still resorted to the sequence break shortcut to move along …
As far as adventure games go, Full Throttle is a really good intro to the genre as it’s fun, has a compelling story and is very well paced. There are limited options on each screen for you to interact with, and since this is a LucasArts title you can’t die or end up in an un-winnable situation.
Though I personally love this game and find the story to be what keeps me coming back, it’s actually really short. Though the How Long To Beat? time lists this at 6.5 hours, I think I actually finished in just over 2 hours. Everything progresses in an extremely linear fashion, which is a bit of a let down as this is a world I would have wanted to explore further.
If you’ve never played an adventure game before, I would highly recommend Full Throttle (or the remastered version). This title really embodies what was being produced at the height of the golden age of graphical adventure games and is still a great experience today.
|April 30, 1995
|DOS, Mac OS, Windows
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