THE SCHAFERARATHON #1 : Full Throttle

I'm fairly sure that my favorite game of all time is Psychonauts. The world and the story perfectly blended to make this incredible game that captured my imagination. I also probably didn't become your typical "hardcore gamer" until 2004ish, so my history of PC Games is very minimal. I love and follow anything that Double Fine touches, I'll even defend the multiplayer mode in Brutal Legend if I have to. But there's one small problem in saying that I'm a huge fan of that company: I haven't played any of Schafer's earlier games. No Monkey Island, no Grim Fandango, no nothing. So with Double Fine Adventure coming out at some point (The goal is now March), I have to beef up my game. Thus, I introduce to you, my loyal Giant Bomb followers... THE SCHAFERARATHON.

I start off this look back by playing Full Throttle because it's the one I know absolutely nothing about. The game came out in 1995 and supports a really nice graphical style for that point in time. It also had full voice acting that is miles beyond any other voice acting in games at the time (oh hey, Mark Hamill's in the game).

The main thing I took away from this game was that unlike most of Schafer's writing, it didn't necessarily try to put a funny spin on every single character. Instead of relying on comedy to get you to focus in on the game, the game has a great sense of style and use of environments to entice you. The setting is this futuristic time where the production of Motorcycle's are about to go extinct. It's up to you to make sure the last company that produces motorcycles doesn't fall into the hands of the man that murdered the current president of the company.

I'll get the most negative thing out of the way now. Anytime the game broke away from the "adventure game" mold, it was an absolute nightmare to control. There is a handful of segments where your fighting a rival gang member on a bike while driving and the steering mechanics was always working 50% of the time at best. There's also a demolition derby segment towards the end that will make you smash your mouse with rage. The only thing good about them is that they are actually puzzles even if you don't realise it at first, but it just takes forever to execute on the solution of the puzzles after you had already figured out the answer.

As far as the rest of the game is concerned, I mostly enjoyed my time figuring out the puzzles in front of me and the interaction with characters from the game. The game uses a UI where you hold down the mouse button to show the set of actions you're allowed to do on the spot your mouse is on, as opposed to the usually adventure game trope (at the time) of having all of the actions laid out to you at the bottom of the screen at all times. The puzzles themselves were nicely laid out for the most part, with me being stuck the occasional few times of me not paying attention of seeing items pop out of the background. I also found it very interesting that I usually nailed all of the comedic puzzles with wacky logic and sometimes got stuck on the more straightforward puzzles.

I said earlier that this game doesn't rely on it's comedy to get you hooked into it's world, but of course there's some really good bits of fun that is seen throughout the game. Most of this comes from the second half, where you get to meet up with the souvenir salesman outside of the stadium, where you get to solve a puzzle by running around on fire, and where you steal a bunny from the souvenir salesman only to have the bunny march across a minefield to give you a clear path.

Wait a second.... was that part using "Flight of the Valkyries"? Hold on... Sorry... I need to add more Daniel Bryan to this game right now...

Sorry about that.

Overall, this game is good fun with a solid story to tell. Nothing makes this game stand out as an adventure game that tops all others, but it was impressive in 1995 to have a quality product this professionally made in video games, and I can respect that. It's also a little on the short side, clocking in at about 2.5 hours on my first run through.

10 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by TurboMan

I'm fairly sure that my favorite game of all time is Psychonauts. The world and the story perfectly blended to make this incredible game that captured my imagination. I also probably didn't become your typical "hardcore gamer" until 2004ish, so my history of PC Games is very minimal. I love and follow anything that Double Fine touches, I'll even defend the multiplayer mode in Brutal Legend if I have to. But there's one small problem in saying that I'm a huge fan of that company: I haven't played any of Schafer's earlier games. No Monkey Island, no Grim Fandango, no nothing. So with Double Fine Adventure coming out at some point (The goal is now March), I have to beef up my game. Thus, I introduce to you, my loyal Giant Bomb followers... THE SCHAFERARATHON.

I start off this look back by playing Full Throttle because it's the one I know absolutely nothing about. The game came out in 1995 and supports a really nice graphical style for that point in time. It also had full voice acting that is miles beyond any other voice acting in games at the time (oh hey, Mark Hamill's in the game).

The main thing I took away from this game was that unlike most of Schafer's writing, it didn't necessarily try to put a funny spin on every single character. Instead of relying on comedy to get you to focus in on the game, the game has a great sense of style and use of environments to entice you. The setting is this futuristic time where the production of Motorcycle's are about to go extinct. It's up to you to make sure the last company that produces motorcycles doesn't fall into the hands of the man that murdered the current president of the company.

I'll get the most negative thing out of the way now. Anytime the game broke away from the "adventure game" mold, it was an absolute nightmare to control. There is a handful of segments where your fighting a rival gang member on a bike while driving and the steering mechanics was always working 50% of the time at best. There's also a demolition derby segment towards the end that will make you smash your mouse with rage. The only thing good about them is that they are actually puzzles even if you don't realise it at first, but it just takes forever to execute on the solution of the puzzles after you had already figured out the answer.

As far as the rest of the game is concerned, I mostly enjoyed my time figuring out the puzzles in front of me and the interaction with characters from the game. The game uses a UI where you hold down the mouse button to show the set of actions you're allowed to do on the spot your mouse is on, as opposed to the usually adventure game trope (at the time) of having all of the actions laid out to you at the bottom of the screen at all times. The puzzles themselves were nicely laid out for the most part, with me being stuck the occasional few times of me not paying attention of seeing items pop out of the background. I also found it very interesting that I usually nailed all of the comedic puzzles with wacky logic and sometimes got stuck on the more straightforward puzzles.

I said earlier that this game doesn't rely on it's comedy to get you hooked into it's world, but of course there's some really good bits of fun that is seen throughout the game. Most of this comes from the second half, where you get to meet up with the souvenir salesman outside of the stadium, where you get to solve a puzzle by running around on fire, and where you steal a bunny from the souvenir salesman only to have the bunny march across a minefield to give you a clear path.

Wait a second.... was that part using "Flight of the Valkyries"? Hold on... Sorry... I need to add more Daniel Bryan to this game right now...

Sorry about that.

Overall, this game is good fun with a solid story to tell. Nothing makes this game stand out as an adventure game that tops all others, but it was impressive in 1995 to have a quality product this professionally made in video games, and I can respect that. It's also a little on the short side, clocking in at about 2.5 hours on my first run through.

Posted by evanbower

Love the Schafs. You're doing God's work.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

I envy anyone playing Monkey Island, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango for the first time. I'd also recommend The Dig and the Indiana Jones games. They're not quite on the level of the others, but they're still pretty fantastic adventure games.

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Posted by TurboMan

@Sparky_Buzzsaw: which should I play next?

Posted by dudeglove

Play Grim Fandango or you're dead to me.

Posted by Phatmac

You can watch Tim Schafer play Full Throttle if you're a backer to the Double Fine Adventure game. :)

Edited by TurboMan

@Phatmac: where is this at? I'm only seeing the video of Greg Rice playing Full Throttle.

Edit: NVM, watching it now.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

@TurboMan: Of those? Monkey Island. Save Grim Fandango for the finale, as other than Full Throttle, it's the best of the bunch. Also, go with the modern updates of Monkey Island 1 & 2. There are no significant changes to the gameplay save for a hint system, and the graphics and sound are updated. They're fundamentally the same games, just better.

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Posted by csl316

Just finished watching the Side Quest. Looks like this would be right up my alley, surprised I never got around it. That and Grim Fandango.

Definitely seems like a precursor to Brutal Legend in some ways (probably a top 20 game for me this generation).

Posted by TurboMan

@dudeglove: I've never played Fandango, but I've seen it from start to finish via youtube a while ago.

I'm on a mac, so it's easy to play games via ScummVM, but I can't find a way to get a working port going for Grim Fandango just yet.

Posted by CoinMatze

@turboman said:

@dudeglove: I've never played Fandango, but I've seen it from start to finish via youtube a while ago.

I'm on a mac, so it's easy to play games via ScummVM, but I can't find a way to get a working port going for Grim Fandango just yet.

I just played through Full Throttle again for the first time in 10 years or so and love your write-up. It's fun reading thoughts from people experiencing these games for the first time. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that there is a ScummVM style solution to playing Grim Fandango with ResidualVM.