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Family-friendly adventure game Torin's Passage
(1995; Sierra On-Line) is a standard adventure game for the PC. Designed by Al Lowe, creator of the Leisuresuit Larry
series, Torin's Passage
was inspired by Al Lowe watching Mrs. Doubtfire
with his daughter: I realized during that film that the audience was laughing in two different pitches: high little giggles when the kids laughed at the slapstick parts of the film, and deep knowing guffaws when the adults caught something that they knew the kids wouldn't get. I thought: Why isn't there a computer game that my 9-year-old daughter and I could play that works like that? - Al Lowe, creator.
The game revolves around Torin and his pet (a strange, yet cute, morphing shape-shifting purple cat-like creature) named Boogle. The player follows Torin, solving puzzles and using inventory items in a typical adventure-game manner as its plot develops.Gameplay
The game's charmingly colourful setting underlines its child-friendly basis, and characters adhere to many fairytale stereotypes in a comic and satirical fashion. However, some of the puzzles in Torin's Passage
have been accused of being too difficult for the younger audience, despite the HUD providing the player with a hint button. Upon pressing the hint button once, the player is offered a voice-over subtly prompting them towards the area of the next problem which must be solved. If the player chooses to press the button more than once for the same puzzle, the voice-over provides more obvious information, before eventually spelling out the entire solution for the player. This comes at a price, as Torin's Passage utilises a points system, and points are deducted for each hint the player uses.
Torin's pet Boogle can also be implemented as an inventory item. Upon arriving at various new scenes throughout the game, Boogle will often explore the area- sniffing and inspecting various objects that interest him. Upon doing so, Boogle will use his shape-shifting ability to copy a number of useful items such as spades, a worm and even a box, which Torin can then use to progress in his adventures.
Torin is the adopted son of a farming family in Strata, one of the Lands Above. After his family is kidnapped and put under a spell by the witch Lycentia, Torin is approached by a strange hooded man, who tells Torin that his family have been incarcerated in the Lands Below. With the help of Boogle, Torin must embark upon a quest that will take him deep into the Lands Below; 5 worlds leading to a central core, where Torin learns his parents are being held captive.