Full Throttle

1994 LucasArts Entertainment
Designed by Tim Schafer
Reviewed 1997 August 8

Rating -2 Linearity narrow
Reasonability reasonable Connectivity moderate
Difficulty pedestrian Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned simple Real-time occasional

You are Ben, leader of a bike gang. One day the head of Corley motors comes into your local watering hole and chats with you a bit. After he leaves, he is killed by his ambitious second in command, and your are framed for the murder. Corley is the last company to make motorcycles, and the bad guy plans to stop making them and produce minivans instead. You must flee the police, clear your name, and preserve the freedom of the highways by stopping the takeover.

Full Throttle has a strong plot to drive the game. It's fun and exciting and spiced with laughs. Ben is a rough character, not a goody two-shoes, although he struck me as still being a little too good natured for his occupation of cracking skulls. Ben's love interest, Mo, is a very interesting woman mechanic. The resolution of the love theme is a little surprising, not as cut and dried as one would expect.

It is in the game aspect that Full Throttle falters. It is very short, with very few significant challenges. There are many time constraints applied to the challenges, but they are played fairly for an adventure game. There is no arcade level clicking, simply an easy click or two with a window of a few seconds. Although several challenges appear to require arcade like activity, you will eventually solve them with just a few unhurried clicks. Furthermore, they're non-fatal, and you can quickly retry the challenges. The exception to this last is a tedious timed endgame sequence -- fortunately it's not too long.

The puzzles, although easy, are well designed. They are all natural parts of the game's world, and you solve them with reasonable actions. You shouldn't have to resort to trying everything in your inventory on anything or anyone you can find.

While it's not much of a game for experienced adventurers, I think this would be an excellent game for beginners (ignore my rating). The rather low rating is for the lacking gameplay, but what's there is well done with few flaws. If you can get the game cheaply, it is well worth playing for the story alone.

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.