retr0spective: LucasArts Adventure Games (Part Four)

After a brief one-year hiatus, LucasArts went to the bikers in the 1995 cult classic, Full Throttle. 

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Notable for being Tim Schafer’s first ever game with him completely at the helm, the game takes place in a distant, Mad Max-esque dystopian future in which the leader of a biker gang named Ben must find a way to clear his name after he is framed for murder. The idea for the game was originated when Schafer was listening to a story about an biker club in Alaska, which ultimately resulted in him getting the impression that “bikers were sort of like pirates”. The game also features a number of A-list voice actors, such as Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Steve Blum, just to name a few. While developing the game, Schafer researched a wreath of information about bikers, the Hunter S. Thompson novel Hell’s Angels serving as the central resource. The game was also supposed to have a scene in which Ben underwent a drug trip, though it was ultimately scrapped. However, it did serve as the inspiration for a certain other game that Schafer worked on. When it was released, the game was met with fairly decent reviews, though over the past several years it has gained a large cult following. LucasArts also had plans for a sequel entitled Payback, but it was ultimately scrapped. In the early 2000’s, they made a second attempt, with the name this time around being Hell on Wheels. Unfortunately, it too was ultimately scrapped. However, though it might never get a follow-up, there is a remastered version on the horizon which is set to release next year.

During that same year, LucasArts would also unleash another installment to their increasingly popular line-up of adventure games with The Dig.

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Having initially originated as an idea by the acclaimed Steven Spielberg as an episode of the anthology television series “Amazing Stories” and even a film, the game’s story revolves around a trio of astronauts that find themselves stranded on a mysterious alien planet. The game had a somewhat troubled development, with development beginning in 1989 and lasting until 1995 when it was finally finished and ready for release. The game is also much darker then LucasArts’ previous games, mostly discarding their goofy tone and aiming for a much more blockbuster-esque experience. The game also went through a slew of creative directors, from Noah Falstein, Steve Moriarty, and Dave Grossman. In the end, Sean Clark was the one chosen to lead the project. In addition to the more adult tone, the game was also set to be extremely violent, being something more along the lines of a Dead Space predecessor. However, after getting complaints from parents about the more brutal scenes in Jurassic Park, Spielberg decided to remove most of the violence in order to make the game more appealing to a wider audience. The game also received a tie-in novelization by Alan Dean Foster. When it was released, the game was met with a slightly more mixed reception than any of LucasArts’ previous games. While the game was still a commercial success, many people felt that the game went too far with its’ difficulty, and that the writing was a bit bland and uninteresting. On the other hand, however, the soundtrack was met with unanimous praise.

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To be continued…

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