Full Throttle Remastered
Publisher: Double Fine Productions (Originally by LucasArts)
Developer: Double Fine Productions (Originally by LucasArts)
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Release Dates: 18 Apr, 2017 (EU & NA)
Full Throttle is yet another remaster of one of LucasArts' classic point and click adventure games from the 90s, following the story of Ben, the leader of a local biker gang called the Polecats as he one day meets Malcolm Corley, the founder and CEO of Corley Motors, the only remaining motorcycle manufacturer in the country, who is traveling across the country alongside his right hand man Adrian Ripburger. This is a story about betrayal and corporate greed wrapped in a heavy metal coating as the game oozes of biker gang culture which is often associated with heavy metal music and for anyone looking to jump into that atmosphere, Full Throttle has plenty of references and iconic moments to offer. Starting with the cast of likeable characters like Maureen or Ben himself and moving on to the wacky side characters and an incredible villain, the personalities you will encounter in Full Throttle are the real star of the show here, as even with the game's short story they manage to shine and remain memorable due to excellent writing and unique personalities.
While the outcome of the story is expected once you understand who you're fighting against, it's the journey towards that ending that will leave an impression on you as you patrol the highway looking for the next adversary you're going to take down in order to move forward, making interesting acquaintances along the way. Taking place in a fictional dystopian year 2040 where traditional vehicles are being replaced with hovercraft, a motorcycle manufacturer is a natural appeal to a gang such as the Polecats, so in that sense you are also trying to defend the tradition of your gang roaming the roads on two wheels from a future where that no longer exists. Even though you will take on this journey alone, there are other gangs appearing in the game such as the Vultures or the Cavefish, whose members you will also occasionally fight in a road redemption technique by knocking them off of their wheels using different weapons.
If you are familiar with some other early LucasArts games you probably know that the interactions needed in order to progress further into the game aren't always obvious and Full Throttle is no different, often leaving you confused about what you're supposed to do next or even where the thing that you're supposed to interact with is located, so unless you look up a walkthrough or have previously finished this game and remember how to do it you will spend a lot of time traveling back and forth between locations trying to make sense of your next move. That problem is also made worse by the fact that you often have to watch some transition animations when switching locations, so between that and some illogical interactions you will spend a lot of time just walking around, but it's still a bit better than other LucasArts point and click games like Grim Fandango or Day of the Tentacle.
There are four possible interactions when clicking on an object: looking, speaking, touching or kicking which are represented by your eyes, mouth, hands and legs respectively and that interaction menu makes it really easy to choose the one you want using a single button, the problem here is as mentioned before the large amount of interactions that don't really make a lot of sense, you could highlight all the interactable objects in a scene and it still wouldn't be much help, simply because talking to a trash can is not the first thing that you would normally attempt to do. Giving a wider perspective on gameplay, you have those free exploration sections where you can try to interact with any object in any way you see fit and see if that does anything, but you also have dialogue which only serves as contextual story and doesn't really change anything based on your responses and lastly, you have those combat sections in which you have to steer your bike left and right, position next to an opponent, choose a weapon and hit a single button to hit when nearby said opponent, the catch here being that some items only work on specific enemies, so it's once again trial and error to figure out which weapon is effective against which enemy.
On top of the natural interactions using your body functionalities you also have item interactions, but sometimes those make even less sense and have more complexity due to the fact that not only do you have to find the item, but you're also supposed to find what to do with it, which can be in a different location and even though the outcome can be funny, sometimes you could spend hours going through scenes trying to figure out what to do with that one item because it's always something illogical that you normally wouldn't think of. That being said, the illogical interactions are part of what makes those types of games fun and appealing to begin with because in many cases they lead to funny moments and quirky jokes, but just like I've said with some other remasters of older LucasArts games, a hint system of any sort would be a welcome addition for those who don't wanna pause and look up a walkthrough every time they are stuck or spend hours clicking on everything just to find the solution.
Even though this works as any other point and click adventure of that era with a 3D character walking on top of a 2D background, unlike other games like Grim Fandango where this created camera and visibility issues in some instances, in Full Throttle the camera transitions are always smooth and your character is always visible so you never end up walking in the wrong direction because of a sudden camera change like it usually happens with older games using relative camera angles. While there are no major bugs, there is a lot of stuttering especially in those scene transitions making it feel like the FPS suddenly dropped and this also becomes more apparent in the motorbike combat sections where the background is moving in frames you can individually count, but this is a result of the game's age, although it could've been easily fixed in this remaster.
On the graphics side the remaster gives Full Throttle the look it was always supposed to have with high definition textures and great scenery, but as it often happens with remasters a lot of aspects have been overlooked, especially in the visual effects department. There are however other more prominent issues that haven't been addressed such as the frame rate which gives some of the incredible landscapes a stutter effect and that is on top of the stutters that I have mentioned earlier that occur sometimes when moving to another location in between transitions. There is a dark aesthetic to Full Throttle's visuals even when in lit areas and considering the type of game this is that is an important aspect of its visual design, but luckily that has been preserved in this remaster and it looks more appealing now because of the work done on the scenery.
The voice actors do a wonderful job with their respective characters, with Ben being played by Roy Conrad and Mark Hamill himself taking on the role of the villain which gives his voice that fear inducing effect in the same way it did with him playing Joker in the Arkham series. As for the side characters Kath Soucie takes on the role of Maureen while Maurice LaMarche plays Nestor and they both do a fantastic job, as a matter of fact I would argue that the characters and their personalities are the best parts of Full Throttle. The soundtrack is on point if the heavy metal mood is what you're looking for and the sound effects although a bit neglected in the remaster treatment are still passable by today's standards.
If you were to use a walkthrough or just know everything about this game from an earlier playthrough you can finish this game in 2-3 hours as it's not a long story to begin with, but if you're looking to play this game naturally without any aid and have never played it before it could take you anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to finish simply because there are lots of situations that require you to try out every interaction until you find the one that clicks which takes a lot of time especially considering that you have to wait for those transitions. There are some extras included with this remaster such as concept art and developer commentary but that's pretty much it and since that will only appeal to the most hardcore fans of this game, for most players the base game is all there is.
The fact that we are able to play this classic point and click adventure on modern hardware with improved graphics is great and if you've never played Full Throttle before now is a good time to see what it's all about if you like those types of games, just be aware that just like any other early LucasArts titles puzzles and interactions often don't make sense so you'll most likely reach a point where you'll get stuck for a while, but if you have enough dedication to get past that or just don't mind using a walkthrough the story and characters in it alone are enough reasons for you to try out this game. If you ask me I don't think a 25 years old game with remastered graphics and only 2-3 hours worth of content is worth 15€ so you might want to wait for a sale before picking this up, but that is for you to decide.