Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures: The Last Resort Review

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Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games

Platform: PC Xbox 360
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 2 GHz Processor, 512 MB RAM, DirectX 8.1 compatible video card and sound device, internet connection, Windows XP or more recent operating system

"When unrelenting rain ruins their holiday plans, Wallace & Gromit bring the beach to 62 West Wallaby with a makeshift resort – in their basement. Keeping customers satisfied is tricky business, especially when one of them is clocked on the head by an unknown assailant."

Kyle Ackerman

Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures: The Last Resort is the second episode of a four-episode series based on the claymation inventor (Wallace) and his sardonic pooch (Gromit). In this outing, Wallace and Gromit are thwarted in their efforts to take a seaside holiday by the unfortunate combination of dreadful weather and financial hardship resulting from faulty plumbing. Never one to give into despair, Wallace decides to convert his basement into a seaside resort and sell passes to similarly despondent neighbors. Over the course of The Last Resort, players will construct a basement paradise, ensure that the West Wallaby Street Waterworld's patrons are satisfied and solve a heinous crime.

As an adventure game, it works quite well, and while some of the puzzles are challenging, this episode should provide plenty of entertainment for adventure game aficionados. I found certain puzzles difficult simply because of the dialog linked to common objects. Rather than presenting dialog trees, I was supposed to select certain objects to inspire dialog. Once I understood the premise, and figured out the kind of dialog linked to various objects, the puzzles were typically straightforward, but I found the trial-and-error to be frustrating. Furthermore, a late puzzle required going far afield when it seemed that everything else was very self-contained. As a result, the puzzle took me longer than it should have, simply because the prior play had led me to constrain my perceived boundary of the game world.

As before, the music, voice work, character appearance and animations are great, and true to their source material. That said, perhaps I can better pin down what doesn't ring quite right with the inventing duo's episodic adventure game than I could after playing the first Wallace & Gromit adventure. What makes Wallace & Gromit's animated performances so engaging is the interplay of Wallace & Gromit. They are the most compelling characters from the animations, yet in Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures I always take on the role of one character or the other. As a result, Wallace and Gromit themselves interact very little, and their various inventions are rarely more than sideshow props.

The game, unlike the animated shorts, is mostly about characters that are neither Wallace nor Gromit. And some of those characters, like Major Crum, Inspector Dibbins and Mr. Paneer, are clever, but they aren't Wallace and Gromit. Major Crum, in particular, tends to run away with the show, mouthing off about perceived invasions and nonsensical historic battles. It's amusing, but it's not what I go to see Wallace & Gromit animations for, and its not what I was hoping for from Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures.

Perhaps I need to realign my expectations. At the same time, these other characters that become the focus for these games don't quite feel right (two nasty dogs more than others), just as the art style for things like painted background scenery and magazine covers (not the characters themselves) doesn't feel right either. Equally, while the "Deduct-o-Matic" seems like an appropriate Wallace invention, the sorts of things that pop up as results on the Deduct-o-Matic seem inappropriatepandering. Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures is just close enough without being spot-on that it's a bit alienating to play as a Wallace & Gromit fan.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on June 25, 2009 9:37 PM.

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