Review: Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle
Posted 31 Oct 2008 at 19:47 by Mark Lee
|"Looking especially nice on the DS' little screens, any CGI moments are nice and, although a tad blurry in places, the movies always exude a quality and charm."|
It's obvious that the DS is ripe for a host of point and click adventures, and although Lucasarts would have you believe that their classic point and click adventures won't fit on a DS card, Runaway sticks two fingers up at that statement. Originally released on the PC in 2007, Runaway featured vast amounts of cut scenes and voice work and thus came in at around five gigabytes. Props then to developers Cyanide, who have crammed in an absolute ton of video content here. And yes, it's decent quality too!
Being lost in the jungle is so cliché these days!
Shame then about the source material. Whilst point and click adventures rely heavily on their obscure puzzling, they also rely heavily on their storytelling. Runaway opens with a confusing opening movie of Gina (our hero's girlfriend) plummeting from an aeroplane and splash landing into a lagoon. Our hero Brian Bosco then starts the adventure off proper, waking up in the wreckage of said aircraft wondering where everyone has gone. From the off there is incentive to pursue Gina and find out just where you are but it's all a little contrived and Brian himself doesn't seem too bothered about his missing love. It's hard to care when our protagonist seems to be more concerned about a puzzle than anything happening around him.
And not only does our hero seem taken aback by the puzzles on show, you too will be - purely by their logical failures. Take one of the early puzzles for instance. You acquire a magnifying glass, a wrench and a broken key from various sources. Now, to fix the all important key you must first combine the magnifying glass with the wrench to make a longer magnifying glass handle. You then combine the long magnifying glass with a ray of light and finally you combine the key with the magnifying glass (which is then working in tandem with the sunlight). The broken key can then be melded together. Call us old fashioned but why the need for the wrench? We spent an age just trying to use both the magnifying glass and key with the sun. Still with us? And yes, that's one of the first puzzles! This isn't easy at all and we struggled to find logical answers to many of the continuing puzzles. (We're still hurting upstairs from a certain chainsaw and frozen river puzzle!)
Thankfully the touch screen controls work admirably and although many objects are very small and therefore cumbersome to select and combine (or even find!), we felt that the physical involvement from touching, dragging and generally poking everything worked well and gave the whole world a tactile feel. Again, props must be given to the developer for enhancing Runaway from the original "mouse over for everything" mantra.
The top screen houses the many elaborate items you'll encounter!
As we delved further into the story we were glad to find a good amount of variety too. Nothing breaks up a good story with varying locales and Runaway certainly delivers. Six chapters was also a good amount with some taking upwards of days whilst others taking a few hours. Runaway takes you from the jungle right to Antarctica and the graphics are always solid, if not spectacular. Runaway's cartoon style lends itself nicely to the adventure yet it's the movie scenes which are melded into the play which are the real star of the show.
Looking especially nice on the DS' little screens, any CGI moments are nice and, although a tad blurry in places, the movies always exude a quality and charm. Infact, the only thing we felt let the side down during the video was the lack of voice work. Sure there are grunts and a few samples but, coupled with the minimal soundtrack, the title comes off as evoking an eerie silence throughout. Certainly this makes the puzzling more of a focus but all good stories need a soundtrack of some kind. Unfortunately, Runaway has environmental sounds and not much else of note. A missed opportunity for sure.
Consequently Runaway: Dream of the Turtle does nothing spectacular and even comes off feeling like a missed opportunity. Its strengths lie in the fact that it offers a typical point and click adventure dressed up in a pretty movie moments which have a unique cartoon edge to them. Its weaknesses (and therefore missed opportunities) come in the form of the many illogical and downright meagre puzzles and a lack of any kind of good soundtrack.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Runaway offers a testing environment to frustrate your grey matter. And although the it's host to some of the most illogical, testing puzzles on the DS, the major plus is that it wraps itself up in a wonderfully realised universe with a lot of great video
Sumptuous CGI work and plenty of it
Point and click controls are handled well
Illogical, frustrating puzzles are too frequent
Lack of a quality soundtrack seriously hurts the presentation