Tim Schafer is one of my top five favorite game designers of all time. I just love that he wants to have an entertaining story in his games, wants to make unique experiences, and also have comedic writing mixed with all the above. I think it makes him stand out among game designers. He isn’t going to make a shooter just to make a shooter, unless he comes up with the idea to make it unique. I respect that, since like I keep preaching, we need to have variety in our games or else we are going to burn out on playing the same games over and over. I know not everyone is a fan of how he designs the gameplay, but I think the good always outweighs the negative parts of his games. Everyone knows he got his start making adventure games for the now defunct LucasArts. As the story always goes, the mid-90s were cruel to adventure games, and the more memorable games to come out for the PC during that time didn’t sell well and became a dying genre until recently. One of those adventure games that has quickly become one of my favorite games of all time is Full Throttle. This game is actually unique since as far as I know, we don’t have many games that take place in a heavy metal world of biking. The only other games that remind me of this game is Tim Schafer’s other game Brütal Legend, which is awesome and a game you should totally check it out, and Deep Silver’s worst game of 2013, Ride to Hell: Retribution, which is quite possibly the worst game of all time and should be avoided like a land mine covered in C4. Anyway, let us talk about one of the best adventure games of all time made by one of the most creative game designers of all time, Tim Schafer’s Full Throttle.
Full Throttle is about the story of Ben, voiced by the late Roy Conrad. He is the leader of a biker gang known as the Polecats. While driving around the desert with the wind in their hair, bugs in their teeth, and freedom fueling their bikes, they pass by a limo that has a very important person inside. The limo was carrying the president of Corley Motors named Malcolm Corley, voiced by the late Hamilton Camp. Malcolm is being assisted by the vice-president of Corley Motors, Adrian Ripburger, voiced by the ever so amazing Mark Hamill, and his two goons Bolus and Nestor, voiced by Jack Angel and Maurice LaMarche. When Malcolm reaches Ben and his gang at a bar, Adrian makes Ben and his gang an offer to escort Malcolm to a big shareholders’ meeting. Ben refuses to have him and his biker gang be escorts, and Adrian decides to try and persuade Ben behind the bar where they were drinking. One of Adrian’s henchmen knocks out Ben, and tricks Malcolm and the rest of the Polecats into thinking that Ben said they would take the offer. Ben, now finding himself without his gang, tries to get back on his bike, and drive down the highway to get back to them. Some motorcycle malfunctions ensue, which results in him looking like roadkill. He is then found by a reporter who takes him to a mechanic named Mo, voiced by Kath Soucie. She fixes his bike and he goes off to find his gang and hopefully find Malcolm. Along the way, you meet biker gangs, a crazy group of bandits known as Cavefish, truckers, a souvenir salesman, wind-up bunnies, and you get the idea. There is more to the story, but I don’t want to say too much. Suffice it to say, the story is one of the best things about this game. Ben is a likable gruff protagonist and Adrian is a great slimy villain with a fantastic voice actor behind him. Since this is LucasArts and Tim Schafer, the script is well written and hilarious. It is just an entertaining story from beginning to end.
Full Throttle is, like I mentioned above, an adventure game that was pretty different gameplay and UI-wise from LucasArts’ past adventure games. The first thing people will notice when playing this game is that there is no menu on the bottom part of the screen, or some kind of menu bar at the top of the screen for a multitude of actions. Instead, you just press a button and you will get a smaller menu of commands from grab, observe, talk/lick, or since you are a biker, a kick button. You will also press another button to make an inventory menu appear. The adventure gaming elements are fairly simple. You will go around finding items, using said items to solve puzzles, and in one moment in the game, will find items to use as weapons against enemy bikers. Along the journey, you will be going through a couple of mini-game-like segments that will break up all of the adventure game elements, from fighting bikers to riding in a destruction derby. The game is actually friendlier toward any kind of gamers, new or old to adventure games. You won’t end up getting killed due to some puzzle or item, and you won’t feel stumped about what to do or where to go. I only found one puzzle that I thought some gamers might have trouble with, but overall, you should be able to complete this game in about two hours, maybe two and a half hours due to the fighting off enemy biker area. You can die, but you won’t be punished too much by the game.
The graphics, while in some parts don’t look as sharp, still look great as a whole. There is something to be said of nicely drawn and animated sprite art. Some of the 3D models don’t look good compared to graphics of today or of the original PlayStation since it came around that same time, but they still look great. The music is also pretty good. Most of the rock music heard throughout the game was made by a band called The Gone Jackals. It just fits the mood throughout the entire game. The rest of the music was composed by Peter McConnell, who also composed the soundtracks for the Sly Cooper series. The voice acting is top notch with a lot of great voice actors like Roy Conrad, Mark Hamill, Kath Soucie, Steve Blum, Tress MacNeille, Steve Blum, and Maurice LaMarche. This is once again, a game that shows off LucasArts’ strength in the presentation department.
Unfortunately, Full Throttle has some minor problems. The game is a bit on the short side. It took me about two hours to beat the game. I normally don’t mind a short game, but I wish there was a little more development in the world and some of the things within this game’s universe. I also wish some of the items didn’t blend in or hide in the background. I hate it when adventure games do this, and while this isn’t as big of an issue like in King’s Quest V, it happens from time to time. My final complaint is that the puzzles, during the last act of the game, can be a little annoying due to one of them having the player needing to go back and forward between two areas. It is just bothersome. However, unlike other adventure games they do not totally kill the pace of the game.
Overall, I love this game. This is easily one of the best cult classic PC games, and one of Tim Schafer’s best games. It is one of my all-time favorite PC games and I would highly recommend it. Luckily, this cult classic isn’t too expensive or hard to find on sites like Ebay. The highest I have seen it go for is about $20, but I got my copy for $12. If you can find it for $20 or less, I would recommend getting it. You will have to download the ScummVM program to play the game, but that is easy to do, and it isn’t as intimidating as you would think it is to make the game run on that program. I do wish this game did better sale-wise, but it was a victim of the late 90s due to the adventure game genre not doing well. LucasArts was going to make a sequel to this game, and pictures of it do exist. It was meant to be more action-oriented than the original. Not making a sequel to this game was kind of a bummer since we don’t have many heavy metal biker games, and then games like Ride to Hell: Retribution gives the category a bad name. Maybe when Tim Schafer’s new adventure game comes out and does well, he can make a spiritual sequel to Full Throttle. This is just another great game in the creative library of LucasArts from the 90s.
This game gets an 8 out of 10.