Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness is an episodic role-playing game based on the popular web comic series Penny Arcade. It was developed by Hothead Games
and designed by Penny Arcade writer Jerry Holkins
and artist Mike Krahulik
. It was released on May 21, 2008 on Xbox Live Arcade, Windows, Mac, and Linux. The game was later released on the Steam platform, and it was announced that Episode One will be released on the PlayStation Network in Fall 2008. The team has stated that the game's story will be told over four episodes.
The game starts out with you creating and naming a character from various physical attributes and pieces of clothing. Upon beginning the story, you'll quickly find that your home on the lovely Desperation Street has been flattened by a giant robot (specifically, a mammoth version of longtime Penny Arcade antagonist the Fruit Fucker). You'll soon join forces with PA main characters Tycho Brahe
and John Gabriel
, paranormal detectives, as you investigate a mysterious infestation of mimes and smaller Fruit Fuckers throughout town.
The game play in Penny Arcade Adventures mixes elements of point-and-click adventures and RPGs. The player can click on objects in the game world to read clues and humorous descriptions, and smash objects such as crates and trash cans to obtain items. Enemies appear on the field, and you'll initiate combat as soon as you approach them. Battles play out in a menu-driven, turn-based fashion similar to those in many Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy. Each of the three characters has unique weapons: Gabe uses his fists, Tycho has a Tommy gun, and your created character is armed with a rake. All three characters can also use special attacks periodically, and friendly characters such as the smug feline T. Kemper can be summoned to battle to perform humorous but sometimes ineffective support attacks.
Battles gain a tactical element from the way the game handles action in combat. Each member of the player's party can spend a round of combat using an item, a regular attack, or a special attack. Each of these options is on their own separate timer, which slowly fills up over the course of battle. Item's take the shortest amount of time to be ready, so players can, if they choose, quickly heal or buff their team (or debuff their opponents). The regular attack takes a short amount of time, and does a normal amount of damage to one foe. The special attack takes the longest amount of time to fill up. Activating the special move triggers a short button pressing minigame. If the player can successfully complete the minigame without messing up, they will unleash the full power of the attack. If at any point the player messes up the minigame, than the special attack will not unleash the full amount of damage. As the game progresses, characters will gain more powerful special moves that require the player to complete harder minigames to activate the move's full affect. The player is encouraged to use these special moves, and to successfully complete the minigames, during combat by way of the Overkill system. If a special move manages to remove all HP from an opponent, the character who used the move will gain an overkill point, increasing their attack power by one. Tycho, Gabe, and the player's character can gain a total of 15 attack power through overkill moves in this episode. Overkill moves also cause the opponent to violently explode into chunks of blood/oil/rainbows.
Once a character has used their action(item, attack, or special attack) all three of their actions reset and start filling up again. Players can extend the time they have to let a move charge up by using one of the three special character attacks (from T. Kemper, Anne, and Fuchsia). These attacks take longer to "play out" in battle, and the player can use these longer attacks to let the character’s meters charge up a little longer.
While the game's combat encourages the players to use super moves, waiting around without performing a combat action can quickly lead to death, After the tutorial mission, enemies start hitting the player's team for high levels of damage. However, players can counteract this sudden rise in difficulty with a counter attack. By pressing a button just when an opponent's health bar flashes (just before the attack hits the character) the player can reduce the damage taken, nullify it, and even counter attack without wasting any of their move selections.
Almost every opponent/boss in the game has a weakness and a resistance to some attack/item. Players will have to mix up their attacks (using regular attacks or special attacks, attacking an opponent with guns, rakes or fists, using item attacks) to deal the maximum amount of damage.
At the beginning of combat, all characters in battle "Roll for Initiative" (a classic D&D reference) to determine which character will attack first. If a character wins the Initiative roll, than they can attack or use an item right away. If a character rolls a natural 20, they can use a super attack at the start of the fight.
A special Collector's Edition of Episode One was released exclusively at Penny Arcade Expo 2008 (PAX08), which was held August 29-31. This rare version was purchasable by show attendees at either Hothead Games' booth or at the Penny Arcade merchandise booth for $40. Included in the box is a t-shirt, 20-sided die, Fruit Fucker keychain (with keycode on back), instruction manual, and game disc. Buyers could either install the game via the disc or download.
The music of the game was done by Hothead Games head of Audio, Jeff Tymoschuk
. The game also features a Bonus track for the credits by hip-hop artist McFrontalot.
PC System Requirements
- Processor: Pentium® IV, AMD Athlon™ 1.5 GHz or better
- Memory: 768 MB of available system memory
- Graphics: ATI Radeon™ or better, NVIDIA GeForce™ or better video card with 128 MB of video memory*
- Sound: 16-bit stereo- or surround-capable sound card with latest drivers
Mac System Requirements
- OS: Mac OS X 10.5 or later with latest updates
- Processor: Intel based Mac 1.5 GHz or better
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: ATI Radeon x1600 or better, NVIDIA GeForce 9400 or better
- Hard Drive: 350MB