3 Skulls of the Toltecs

1996 Revistronic
Designed by Rodrigo Castillo, Hernan Castillo
Reviewed 2004 October 23

Rating +2 Linearity open
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity high
Difficulty challenging Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned menu Real-time minor

You play Fennimore Fillmore, a gunfighter in the wild west. Helping a man who is ambushed by thugs, you learn about three golden skulls which are the key to a huge Toltec treasure. You set out to gather the skulls, and the treasure, dodging and fighting nefarious villains that are trying to do the same.

Your quest takes you through the local tumbleweed town, a nearby military fort, a neighbouring Apache village, and a few other common southwest locales. You meet a dozen or so characters, mostly simple caricatures of the genre stereotypes, but with a few curveballs thrown in.

The story wants to be funny, but the humour failed for me. It managed to be gently amusing, but it lacked the wit to provoke a good laugh. I suspect this is partly due to crossing languages from development to the English release (amongst others -- I think the original was Spanish). While it may fall short of Lucas Arts on the yukometer, it still has a lengthy, complicated plot that is great for propelling the game.

The challenge structure and pacing are great. The structure is wide open, with complex connections amongst the challenges, environment, and story. Despite this large degree of non-linearity, the story progresses steadily along a well defined plot. ("story along plot"? Well, I know what I mean. Poor you!)

The individual problems are often fun, and often frustrating. Reason is severely strained, but in the way that it is commonly strained in humourous, cartoon adventures. There are enough good challenges to make it easy to pardon those of questionable logic. Be warned, though, that one or two challenges are very nasty, straining logic or requiring good timing.

The graphics are excellent, setting the mood to match the story and characters. The dialogue is also well done -- there's no translation problem here. The interface is similar to the standard Lucas Arts interface -- I never had any problems doing whatever I intended.

This was a very fun game to play. It's not the funniest game, and the challenges sometimes get to the frustrating side of silly, but the combination of amusing situations and enough creative challenges overbalances the few shortcomings.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.
David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.