'Full Throttle Remastered' Review: A rock 'n' roll fantasy
Full Throttle is a LucasArts adventure game I hold near and dear to my heart. Though I fell hopelessly in love with Day of the Tentacle first, the rest of the LucasArts catalog is important to me as well with Full Throttle leading the pack (after Loom, of course.)
With the release of Full Throttle Remastered, I've been able to dive back into an integral part of my childhood with glossy new graphics, more robust audio and a slick new look for the most rock-and-roll adventure this side of Total Distortion. In short, I'd like to ask this of Double Fine: More, please!
Full Throttle Remastered: Lookin' for adventure
Originally released in 1995, Full Throttle was actually Tim Schafer's first release as a head writer and designer, fresh from games like The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. It really shows, as the game is positively bursting with attitude and personality even in its opening moments.
It's the rip-roaring tale of biker Ben, who finds himself the fall guy for the murder of a motorcycle manufacturer's top muckety-muck. He's on a mission to clear the Polecats (his gang) from any wrongdoing, and ends up making friends and finding romance along the way. That's everything in a nutshell, but there's a whole lot more to it than that. Picture an evil vice president voiced by Mark Hamill and a badass mechanic voiced by the same actress you remember from Rugrats' Phil and Lil: Kath Soucie, taking place after an apocalypse. Intrigued yet? It's got heart, humor and grit in just the right amounts, and from my time with Full Throttle Remastered, it's emerged relatively unscathed by the years which have gone by since its debut.
Full Throttle Remastered: Rock 'n' roll fantasy
Much like Grim Fandango, it utilizes the SCUMM engine and a combination of full motion video and LucasArts' INSANE animation engine. This allows for some very impressive visuals, which are a far cry ahead of the aesthetics showcased in earlier LucasArts games. And while the original graphics were impressive for their time, especially Ben's motorcycle and the massive vehicle seen at the beginning of the game, Full Throttle Remastered's newly-revamped look is absolutely striking.
What were already detailed sprites, environments and rendered vehicles and locations have been given a gorgeous, anti-aliased look as though the original art were digitally painted over. It flows seamlessly from one scene to the next, resembling an interactive cartoon. Ben's biker jacket now has text on the back that you simply couldn't read before. You can see the smaller details that simply weren't decipherable before. This is truly a living and breathing world that's come into its own with the fresh new coat of paint it's been given, and it certainly sounds the part as well.
With the option to switch between the original and remastered versions on the fly, you can compare the two looks at will. It's mind-blowing to think of all the work that goes into taking these classics and giving them such painstaking updates -- including the fact that the images had to be stretched and filled in to match the new image ratio for the latest edition. It's attention to detail that I appreciate, especially since it means there's technically more here for me to sink my teeth into than when I was a child.
Full Throttle Remastered: Thank goodness for the apocalypse
Full Throttle Remastered is every bit the LucasArts adventure game I remember, but with more polish, love and attention heaped upon it. The only downside is that it remains a very short game, upward of around seven or eight hours to complete, or shorter if you're puzzle-savvy. But it's an exciting and memorable adventure flecked with road dust that'll stay with you longer after you put your controller (or mouse and keyboard) down. If this is your first rendezvous with LucasArts, be advised you've got a whole lot more to look forward to after this.
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