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Greg Rice

DFA Game Club: Full Throttle

What should we play?!?!  

1,106 members have voted

  1. 1. What should we play?!?!

    • Beneath a Steel Sky
      105
    • Bontanicula
      96
    • Full Throttle
      239
    • Gabriel Knight
      70
    • Gemini Rue
      64
    • Gray Matter
      20
    • Machinarium
      99
    • Maniac Mansion
      62
    • Simon the Sorcerer 2
      43
    • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
      55
    • Tales of Monkey Island
      110
    • The Journey Down
      8
    • The Last Express
      55
    • Under a Killing Moon
      33
    • Zak McKracken
      47


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THINGS I DON'T LIKE

- The fighting. Dear goodness the fighting. ...I think the big problem is that it just doesn't give you enough feedback - there's no health bars to let you know whether what you're doing is even having an effect on the other person, and in general it's rarely clear why one thing fails and one thing succeeds. If Ben said something like "Maybe I should use something with more reach"...

Agreed. It's basically arranged like this:

Fertilizer in the eye gets you the chainsaw.

The chainsaw gets you the board and the length of chain.

The board gets you the cavefish goggles.

The length of chain gets you the rocket booster.

And you need the goggles to enter the cavefish hideout in order to get the ramp, which you then combine with the rocket booster to jump the gorge and move on to the next section of the game.

So there actually *is* a puzzle there with building up your arsenal to eventually get the items you need, but I totally agree with you that the lack of feedback about what weapon does what totally kills it. You're just driving around the mine road trying random weapons on random enemies, and the game does not give you a single hint as to what weapon you're supposed to use to move forward. Just having Ben make some sort of comment like that when you use the wrong weapon would have made that section 100% better.

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To be fair, the fertiliser bit I did work out because the person with the chainsaw is one of the few enemies you face not wearing glasses.

But then there's a woman wearing a hat and no sunglasses that the fertiliser doesn't work on, so if you meet her first you're not likely to make the no glasses = use fertiliser connection. I mean, I guess the brim of her cap could have kept the fertiliser out of her eyes, but that'd have required to look directly down and probably crash anyway...

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THINGS I DON'T LIKE

- The fighting. Dear goodness the fighting. Possibly the worst feature I've seen in any game with Tim's name on it. It feels incredibly arbitrary and even though it's essentially a puzzle in matching weapons to riders, it's still really fiddly, at least until you get the chainsaw. I think the big problem is that it just doesn't give you enough feedback - there's no health bars to let you know whether what you're doing is even having an effect on the other person, and in general it's rarely clear why one thing fails and one thing succeeds. If Ben said something like "Maybe I should use something with more reach" (or whatever) when he gets up after the fight then that would at least be a hint. Plus it just takes so LONG. Frankly, it feels like an attempt to pad the game out. I know fighting feels necessary to a game about a tough biker dude but a) there's plenty of violence you can do outside of the context of those bike fights (see: nosering), and b) it just doesn't feel anywhere near as good as the fighting in, say, Road Rash. The team simply weren't playing to their strengths on this front. And worst of all, it's mandatory. :(

I think we can try to generalise that. When you play a game you learn some rules. When these rules change you are lost and you have to learn from the beginning. I suppose it's nice to do it once or twice just to spark some new emotions but it's easy to overdo it and cause nothing but frustration.

I had a similar problem with Botanicula: when I finally thought I knew what each member of the team is good for there came another puzzle and changed the rules. I had to guess from the beginning what would be the effect of doing things with each of the guys. This way I came to the end of the game but unfortunately didn't really enjoy it as much as I could.

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It wasn't that difficult to figure out the puzzle. You just cycle through weapons on each enemy until you find the most effective one. Sure, it took time, but so does any puzzle.

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playing through Full Throttle again is a lot of fun even if it does have some quirks that I don't like about it. II do love the music, voice acting and the art. A good opening like Full Throttles can set the whole tone for a game, it's something to at the very least keep in the back of your minds. The voice acting really shines in this game, every character really comes to life through the actors. The art when it shows the characters up close is absolutely gorgeous.

I don't mind bike fighting as much as other people, but it does feel slightly like an artificial way to increase the length of the game.

The things that I have problems with in this game is the check point puzzles at the end of the game. Especially when you're unsure of where to go in the very end. It's frustrating to have to continually repeat the same puzzle over and over because you miss something small. I'm not completely against that style of puzzles I just think that it has the potential to be implemented better. It's also been said a million times but this game even when you aren't completely sure of what to do is very short.

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It wasn't that difficult to figure out the puzzle. You just cycle through weapons on each enemy until you find the most effective one. Sure, it took time, but so does any puzzle.

But the way the enemies cycle around it can take a LOT of tries before you finally get started on it.

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Hey I think I kinda broke the game.... So if you guys can help me out since really, REALLY don't want to start over.

SPOILERS HERE!

After the fight in the old mine road, when you get to the cave to get the ramp, First I tried to take the ramp, but that didn't work so I tried to just move the ramp but not connect it to my bike, and then leave (the idea being to scare the cavefish or something like that), when that did not work I tried to go back for the ramp to try something else, but the game won't let me, Ben just says, "I need to get out of here"...

SPOILERS END HERE!!

So did I break my game and must start over, or do you guys know any workaround?

Thanks for any help

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Hey I think I kinda broke the game.... So if you guys can help me out since really, REALLY don't want to start over.

SPOILERS HERE!

After the fight in the old mine road, when you get to the cave to get the ramp, First I tried to take the ramp, but that didn't work so I tried to just move the ramp but not connect it to my bike, and then leave (the idea being to scare the cavefish or something like that), when that did not work I tried to go back for the ramp to try something else, but the game won't let me, Ben just says, "I need to get out of here"...

SPOILERS END HERE!!

So did I break my game and must start over, or do you guys know any workaround?

Thanks for any help

The ramp is your key to getting out, you just need to figure out what to do with it. You didn't break the game, you just haven't figured the puzzle out yet.

Anyway, I managed to get to the bike fighting on the highway part before I passed out from a Nyquil-induced coma. Like others have said, the action sequences are a bit of a mess, and kind of drag down an otherwise great game. I'll wait until we finish Full Throttle next week before I give a more thorough review.

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Hey I think I kinda broke the game.... So if you guys can help me out since really, REALLY don't want to start over.

SPOILERS HERE!

After the fight in the old mine road, when you get to the cave to get the ramp, First I tried to take the ramp, but that didn't work so I tried to just move the ramp but not connect it to my bike, and then leave (the idea being to scare the cavefish or something like that), when that did not work I tried to go back for the ramp to try something else, but the game won't let me, Ben just says, "I need to get out of here"...

SPOILERS END HERE!!

So did I break my game and must start over, or do you guys know any workaround?

Thanks for any help

The puzzle solution lies in how the Cavefish see.

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The ramp is your key to getting out, you just need to figure out what to do with it. You didn't break the game, you just haven't figured the puzzle out yet.

Oh I kinda realized that the ramp is key, the thing is I can't get the ramp, at all.

Spoilers

I kinda figured you must leave the ramp somewhere, but I left the ramp at the entrance to the cavefish hideout (with the weird wall) I used it once to move it away from the wall, but then I did NOT connect it to the bike, and left. Right now I can't get back to where I left the ramp, and leaving does not work either.

Spoilers END

So apparently I found a no win situation in a Lucasarts game...YAY for me.

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The ramp is your key to getting out, you just need to figure out what to do with it. You didn't break the game, you just haven't figured the puzzle out yet.

Oh I kinda realized that the ramp is key, the thing is I can't get the ramp, at all.

Spoilers

I kinda figured you must leave the ramp somewhere, but I left the ramp at the entrance to the cavefish hideout (with the weird wall) I used it once to move it away from the wall, but then I did NOT connect it to the bike, and left. Right now I can't get back to where I left the ramp, and leaving does not work either.

Spoilers END

So apparently I found a no win situation in a Lucasarts game...YAY for me.

You don't leave the ramp anywhere. Cavefish have a very special way of staying on the road because they can't see. Remove that and you'll get the ramp.

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Hey I think I kinda broke the game.... So if you guys can help me out since really, REALLY don't want to start over.

SPOILERS HERE!

After the fight in the old mine road, when you get to the cave to get the ramp, First I tried to take the ramp, but that didn't work so I tried to just move the ramp but not connect it to my bike, and then leave (the idea being to scare the cavefish or something like that), when that did not work I tried to go back for the ramp to try something else, but the game won't let me, Ben just says, "I need to get out of here"...

SPOILERS END HERE!!

So did I break my game and must start over, or do you guys know any workaround?

Thanks for any help

There's also a clue when you initially grab the ramp to hook the ramp up to your bike. Watch for some movement when you push it into position to hook it up.

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Ok I finally was able to pass that roadblock I should share how I did it.

Once again, the problem was NOT how to pass this particular puzzle, but that if you do what I did you can't actually complete the puzzle.

What I did was, in the cavefish cave, in the room with the creepy wall, I moved the RAMP but I did NOT connect the ramp to the bike and then I left the room, if after this you try to return to the room with the RAMP the game won't let you, not even if you leave the cave and come back. As such you can't pass the bridge since you can't take the RAMP to the BRIDGE to jump the gorge.

To be clearer:

room 1 = entrance to cave

room 2 = second room with a turn.

room 3 = room with the wall covered by lasers and where the ramp is.

In room 3 you move the ramp but you don't take it out of the room, but go directly to room 2, if you do this you can't go back to room 3 where the ramp is.

To be able to get the ramp after you do this you do NOT go back to the old mine road, but instead you go from room 2 to room 1 and then back to room 2 and then room 3, if you exit the cave you will not be able to go to room 3 unless you do this.

Hope it helps anyone that got stuck there as I was. Also you should try to save and then do this, if only to see the weird bug.

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I watched a bit of this on the stream but hope to be able to play it myself some day, so didn't want too many spoilers. Looked like fun though.

It's a shame that some adventure games are not prepared for long tail period for sales as people hear of good games via word of mouth + also didn't keep higher resolution artwork around so they can be re-released at later times with better quality art.

Two things that I prefer to see in adventure games:

1) Fast movement across screens when you want to travel into next area - eg. double click on exit to fast travel, or even to run

2) Better visibility of areas you can travel to. I've lost count of the number of times I've been stuck wandering around in adventure games to realise that I've simply missed the entrance to an area.

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I was gone all day so I missed playing so I watched Greg and his mom. That was fun.

During the week I'll work on getting the game up to the point they finished so if I am around next Saturday (no guarantee) I can enjoy.

Props to Greg on turning the play along into something more interesting with the commentary.

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So is the only way to get Full Throttle is by "other means" or buying it from ebay?

Its pretty silly, there was nowhere near enough time for people to get physical copies, its practically an endorsement of that first option. Personally i think they should limit these to games that are sold digitally.

It just so happens full throttle was one of the only titles on that list that cant be :(

Tim has said somewhere (maybe in one of the reddit response videos) that he doesn't even get any royalties if you buy a legit copy of these old lucasarts games so he recommends pirating it (yes, those were his words) and then buying a t-shirt from the double-fine store which does net him some cash!

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Tim has said somewhere (maybe in one of the reddit response videos) that he doesn't even get any royalties if you buy a legit copy of these old lucasarts games so he recommends pirating it (yes, those were his words) and then buying a t-shirt from the double-fine store which does net him some cash!

And since it may be asked, LucasArts doesn't see anything from those sales either. They've been out of print so long that they're effectively abandonware until LucasArts gets off of their collective butts and re-releases them.

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Further thoughts on Full Throttle:

- The "multiple puzzle threads at once" model is mostly intact. The two stopovers at the bar are both fairly linear but at the same time they're also reasonably easy so fair enough.

- However, the theee "fix your bike" puzzle strands are, individually, much shorter than the plug in Hoagie's toilet/plug in Laverne's toilet/get a diamond strands in DOTT, so the stopover in that town feels very, very sparse. On the other hand DOTT only really had one major triplet of puzzles. On the other other hand, Monkey Island 1 and 2 both had several triplets and each of those felt quite in-depth. Obviously the Monkey Island model (with lots of depth and multiple puzzle sets) is preferable, but on the whole if I had to choose between DOTT and Full Throttle's models I'd go for DOTT because I'd rather solve one deep set of puzzles than three comparatively shallow ones.

- On top of that, two of the three strands in the "get bits to cross the gorge" puzzle are both advanced using the same process - the bike fighting. (The booster fuel you obtain exclusively through fighting, whilst half the problem of getting the ramp is acquiring the goggles... also via fighting.) Compare to, say, Monkey Island 1, where the insult swordfighting was focused on advancing the Sword Master quest and the treasure hunting and burglary were entirely separate. This means that if you find the fight sequences frustrating then you're going to find two out of the three puzzle strands on that section to be highly irritating.

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Does anyone know where I might be able to get ahold of Grim Fandango? cuz I would love to take a look at that as well.

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I think I played Full Throttle the first time one and a half years ago and I didn't like it much back then, but I got something out of the story. Gameplaywise it was a frustrating experience all around.

The action scenes are indeed terrible. It's not only that they're puzzles dressed up as action sequences, but even if you know the solution it's really clunky and takes a long time to get there. The whole Mine Road segment...ugh! Most of the time you're fighting bikers you have no chance against yet, or if you have then I never found out how. The fighting just feels clunky anyway and is no fun. It took me some time to figure out how to get the chainsaw (basically throw the fertilizer into her eyes before she packs the chainsaw out) and everytime I failed it took some time before I could try again. It's just so tedious...and I feel that the distinctions between what works and what doesn't on the bikers feels rather arbitrary. Gah, and then you get the goggles and can drive around for eternity until you find the exit to the cave. Meanwhile you might have left for the highway accidentally a few times...

...even worse is the whole Destruction Derby. Take this segment, this mini-game for itself, and do you think that it's good, that it's fun? As its own as a game I would rate it as the worst I ever played. Then how did anyone think it was good for this game? In its crappiness it puts all the mini-games in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis to shame, even the terrible car chase through Monte Carlo. The controls are terrible and the whole thing is just frustrating. You're just constantly being bounced around while trying to figure out what the game wants from you. The solution feels arbitrary and no variation from it is allowed. At first I wanted to speed over the ramp in the lower right corner, but of course, that's very hard if not impossible to do because you have to take a curve before it and there seem to be very narrow borders around the ramp which seem to hinder the possibility to get up there without losing speed. But even if you somehow manage to do it then you don't seem to have enough momentum to fly wide enough to get to Moe, it actually doesn't seem to make any difference at all.

Tim Schafer is absolutely right, it's frustrating to play a puzzle sequence that's dressed up as an action sequence, because you try to solve it the action way and the puzzle way seems rather arbitrary. I don't see how the actual solution seems to make more sense. So you push another car over the ramp, then drive over the ramp and somehow...? The game doesn't show actually how this helps me to get to Moe. Do I somehow bounce off the car? I dunno.

Then the whole final bit, where you fail again and again and again and again...until you succeed. This sequence is meant to be exciting and suspenseful, and it certainly would be as a movie, but as a game it fails. Again it's a puzzle dressed up as action and you have to perform these actions in a limited time, and some of them are simply meant to be solved with trial and error, apparently.

So suspense and excitement soon sours to frustration and impatience. I was glad when it was finally over.

But even outside the action bits Full Throttle can be frustrating. Take the junkyard, where you have to get rid of the dog. The actual solution seems to be pretty simple, but I remember how long it took me to get there the first time around! The first thing I tried was to bait the dog into one of the cars with the piece of meat and then bury him under all the other cars I put on top of it. That didn't have any effect at all, though! It should've, don't you think?

I just realized that I'm not a fan of either Full Throttle or Grim Fandango, the two adventure games where Tim acted as sole creative lead. I mean, I adore the story of the latter, but I dislike it as a game. My love for him is mainly due to Psychonauts. So I guess he can only surprise me with Double Fine Adventure, at least I hope so!

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It's just so tedious...and I feel that the distinctions between what works and what doesn't on the bikers feels rather arbitrary.

Tell me about it. Why does the chain work on the Vulture when the chainsaw and tire iron don't, despite the fact that I can smack him in the face with both before he completes his speech and zoot off? Beats the hell out of me.

Gah, and then you get the goggles and can drive around for eternity until you find the exit to the cave. Meanwhile you might have left for the highway accidentally a few times...

Yeah, that could have been faster too.

...even worse is the whole Destruction Derby.

Haven't got to that bit in my playthrough (and I don't think the stream has reached that point either). I must admit I've completely forgotten how this one goes. You've got me dreading it now.

Tim Schafer is absolutely right, it's frustrating to play a puzzle sequence that's dressed up as an action sequence, because you try to solve it the action way and the puzzle way seems rather arbitrary.

Tim's said that? I'm glad to hear it! Hopefully we won't have any of this malarky in DFA.

Are there any interviews or posts he's written specifically addressing the Full Throttle action sequences?

I don't see how the actual solution seems to make more sense. So you push another car over the ramp, then drive over the ramp and somehow...? The game doesn't show actually how this helps me to get to Moe. Do I somehow bounce off the car? I dunno.

Come to think of it, that's a big failing of the Mine Road sequence too - the fight animations aren't detailed enough to show you why (for instance) the chainsaw didn't affect the Vulture but the chain did.

But even outside the action bits Full Throttle can be frustrating. Take the junkyard, where you have to get rid of the dog. The actual solution seems to be pretty simple, but I remember how long it took me to get there the first time around! The first thing I tried was to bait the dog into one of the cars with the piece of meat and then bury him under all the other cars I put on top of it. That didn't have any effect at all, though! It should've, don't you think?

Same here! I think this is another point where we needed more communication of why we were failing. Even surrounding the car with other cars and putting a car on top doesn't work and that just leaves me thinking "how is this pooch getting out of there?" There also doesn't seem to be any reason to assume the doggy won't try to jump out of the car when it's raised in the air. Where are we meant to find out it's afraid of heights?

I wonder if there wasn't a budget issue there. A lot of the extra feedback required for this puzzle, or the mine road, or the derby would have needed more animation, or more dialogue, or both.

I just realized that I'm not a fan of either Full Throttle or Grim Fandango, the two adventure games where Tim acted as sole creative lead. I mean, I adore the story of the latter, but I dislike it as a game. My love for him is mainly due to Psychonauts. So I guess he can only surprise me with Double Fine Adventure, at least I hope so!

Well, to be fair to Tim:

- Tim wasn't his own boss for Full Throttle or Grim Fandango, he was for Psychonauts (OK, there were publisher issues with that one, but still). I don't know whether the action sequences in FT were Tim's idea or something he was told to put in by LucasArts management. If it wasn't his decision, I won't blame him for it. If it was his decision, well, he's clearly learned his lesson. :)

- We've got Ron in the house for this one and Tim and Ron together usually results in gold.

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- We've got Ron in the house for this one and Tim and Ron together usually results in gold.

At this point, it's unclear how involved Ron will be.

What I've seen about Ron so far is him

(and Tim claiming "He'll help us.") and the interview where Ron
: "One thing I would never do in an adventure game, if I was gonna make a new one... IF I was gonna make a new one, [...]"

Ron is working at DF, but if I'm not mistaken, he's not working on DFA but on something else.

Nobody has ever promised Ron's involvement with DFA.

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Well, the interview was made before the Kickstarter happened so that might explain the "IF" in it, and in the second half of the interview you do see them mutually making decisions about how to accomplish the game within the budget they set themselves at the beginning of the Kickstarter. Whether or not Ron is on the DFA team or not it's clear that Tim values his input, and Ron seems happy to give that input. Even if Ron's influence over DFA is limited to water cooler conversations rather than being directly involved it's still going to mean something.

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Tim's said that? I'm glad to hear it! Hopefully we won't have any of this malarky in DFA.

Are there any interviews or posts he's written specifically addressing the Full Throttle action sequences?

I think he addressed them in two interviews I read, but I can only remember one now, this one.

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That seems pretty unambiguous to me.

I have to say I'm impressed that Tim doesn't resort to using the incredible sales Full Throttle enjoyed to try and brush aside the criticisms - it's very clear that he's taken a lot of the feedback onboard. A lot of creators would take their work being commercially successful and popular and try to use that as a shield against acknowledging that any complaints are valid (cough masseffectthree cough).

And it's interesting that they hit budget constraints in the game's development. It kind of plays into my theory that even if adventure games "killed themselves" - as Old Man Murray put it - they did so because they were given impossible hurdles to jump and gave themselves a heart attack trying. In the late 1990s you had a situation where people were growing to expect fancier cut scenes and animations and professional voice acting and so on in games, all of which ratchets up the cost of making things at a pace that publishers weren't willing to match. End result is you have situations like Full Throttle being abbreviated, or GK3 getting the infamous cat-'stache puzzle because they couldn't afford to implement the original plan and they had to just bodge some stupid puzzle they hated in order to meet the deadline, and once enough high-profile adventure designers or studios end up making enough compromises like that the reputation of the genre ends up tainted.

I think we've now hit a very interesting point in time where the top level of games in terms of sheer graphical complexity have become very, very expensive to develop for, but because of those exact same advances in graphics technology you can make a much more graphically modest game in terms of the technical wow factor which still looks nice on a modest budget - and more importantly, the player base is willing to accept that, and there's now a much healthier market for "modest but characterful" graphics alongside "cutting edge and expensive" stuff. I think the success of DFA and Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns all ties in with that - partially it's the nostalgia factor, partially it's people realising that there doesn't have to be low-budget indie projects and big-budget AAA projects and a big gulf in-between, and that you can have a good mid-range budget game (and in fact there are genres which suit mid-range budgets better than they suit AAA budgets or indie budgets).

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So, are we going to be finishing up the Full Throttle stream today?

If I interpreted his twitter correctly, then today's Greg's birthday, so that might take precedence over playing Full Throttle if he has any sort of celebrations planned.

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