Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: September 25, 2017
Full Throttle Remastered is a story driven point-and-click graphic adventure puzzle game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 and PS Vita. Full Throttle Remastered is an enhanced version of the cult classic point and click adventure which was originally released on April 30th 1995 with a budget of $1.5 million and is known as one of LucasArts’ best games amongst Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango and a variety of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Monkey Island games, alongside more big name intellectual properties and classic games. Full Throttle was met with mass critical acclaim upon release with many awards in 1995 such as the Readers’ Choice Award for Adventure Game of the Year from Computer Gaming World, a Special Achievement in Musical Score Award from PC Gamer and a nomination for Best Adventure Game from PC Gamer, while a lot of reviewers praised the qualities of the game upon its initial 1995 release. Tim Schafer who is known for his work on other such classic games as Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango and Psychonauts was the project lead on the original release of Full Throttle and also lead the project of remastering the game with Double Fine Productions. Can Full Throttle Remastered surpass the fondly thought of original by relying on more than retro nostalgia?
The story revolves around Ben Throttle as the leader of a biker gang named Polecats who comes across a plot to overthrow Malcolm Corley; the owner of the only remaining bike manufacturer in the country when the two have a chance meeting at the Kick Stand bar which sets in motion a very dangerous adventure for Ben Throttle.
A rival biker gang called Rottwheeler will oppose Ben every time they encounter him or his biker gang on the road. Battles with members of the Rottwheeler biker gang resembles clashes with rival riders in Road Rash as they viciously attack each other until one of them falls off or crashes their bike.
Character design has a lot of variety brought about by a wild and colourful bunch of characters that gel together well by playing off each other in a believable manner as allies or enemies. For instance, Malcolm Corley and Adrian Ripburger clearly have hostility towards each other when travelling in the Limousine together, although Malcolm looks and sounds a different person when meeting Ben Throttle at the Kick Stand bar as he reminisces passionately about his biking days with someone who enjoys riding bikes as much as he did makes him feel in his element. The bike is a character in itself as the story resonates the bond between a biker and his bike in which Ben reacts to his bike being in need of repair by stating, “I hate seeing her like this” with a kind of emotion as though he was talking about a best friend.
Environment design is incredibly varied as every location will have its own set of complex puzzles that have to be overcome in a specific manner; as it is highly unlikely that you will encounter an area that does not require multiple objects to have been collected for your inventory such as a hose, container, lockpick, meat and more besides from earlier locations to help you progress beyond a barrier such as a gate, an unhelpful character, a barking dog or anything of that variety.
Full Throttle has a certain humour to it such as when an object is highlighted and paired with Ben’s tongue, he responds “I’m not putting my lips on that”. There are a variety of references including the bar towards the start of the story being called Kick Stand, possibly referring to the title of a SoundGarden song from their 1994 album Superunknown, while a rival driver in a demolition derby resembles George Lucas and a reporter who says to Ben, “Help me Ben, you’re my only hope!” as a play on words from Princess Leia to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope, alongside further references to Lucas Arts characters such as Sam and Max.
There is a bonus features area that is reminiscent of Grim Fandango Remastered including a jukebox containing a range of unlockable background music in hi-fi or lo-fi and audio commentary, 147 pages worth of concept art such as art from Peter Chan and optional audio commentary during gameplay. Audio commentary provides not only an amazing insight into Full Throttle’s development, but also some great humour along the way; courtesy of project lead Tim Schafer, lead animator Larry Ahern, lead sound designer Clint Bajakian, composer Peter McConnell and more of the original creators.
Full Throttle Remastered supports cross-buy and cross-save between the PS4 and Vita. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing the PS4 and Vita versions of the game with just a single purchase. The cross-save functionality allows you to sync the progression of your save file from your Vita to your PS4 and vice versa, so you can start playing the game on your Vita on the way to and from work, sync your save game when you return home and then resume were you left off by loading the save game and continuing via the PS4 version. The cross-save feature is made possible by uploading your save file to the cloud on one console and downloading it from the other console. Unlike Grim Fandango Remastered; an auto save feature has been integrated into Full Throttle Remastered which saves periodically during important areas of progression.
The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing X to walk to a selected area, use an item, talk or skip dialogue, attack a rival when riding a bike or accelerating when driving a car; pressing R1 or L1 to cycle through to the next or previous inventory item respectively; pressing square to examine an inventory item, changing equipment when on a bike or reversing when driving a car; pressing triangle to open inventory; pressing O to cancel a selection or skip a cutscene; pressing up on the d-pad to highlight interactive objects; pressing down on the d-pad to turn the audio commentary on or off; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move the cursor or steer a bike; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to automatically switch your focus to another interactive object; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad to switch between the two graphical render modes, while there is no light bar implementation which could have represented selected inventory items, alongside no vibration which is surprising as it could have occurred when riding Ben Throttle’s motorbike.
Graphically, Full Throttle Remastered produces more of a visual overhaul in comparison to Grim Fandango Remastered as it is not just the character models, lighting and shadows that have been enhanced, but also the environments too with everything looking akin to a modern day cel-shaded art style, while going the extra mile by offering 4K native resolution on PS4 Pro. However, if you prefer to play Full Throttle in a retro aesthetic, then that is also available to toggle between the updated and retro graphics at any moment during gameplay.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, bonus features menu, concept art gallery menu, jukebox menu, help and options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left and right analogue sticks, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the touch pad. The background of the main menu revolves around three characters in the Kick Stand bar.
The entire voice-over cast performs their respective roles exceptionally, especially Roy Conrad who voices lead character Ben Throttle; Roy Conrad passed away in 2002, but Tim Schafer paid the ultimate tribute by categorically stating that his voice-over for Ben Throttle was irreplaceable, therefore respectfully providing Roy Conrad with an everlasting legacy as the lead character within a cult classic videogame. Mark Hamill voices Adrian Ripburger, Emmet and Todd Newlan having starred as Luke Skywalker in numerous Star Wars films and voiced The Joker in the Batman Arkham games as well as reprising the role in animation Batman: The Killing Joke. The late, great Hamilton Camp voices Malcolm Corley, Father Torque and Mavis’ Guard having voiced characters in everything from animated TV series such as Duck Tales and The Smurfs to videogames including Halo 2 and Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer. Maurice LaMarche voices Nestor, Gas Guard Gunner and Sizeable Bill having voiced Dr. Nitrus Brio in Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy and Crash: Mind over Mutant as well as voicing dozens of characters in animated TV series Pinky and the Brain, Futurama and The Simpsons.
Sound effects include the roar of the motorbike engines, walking and ambience such as crickets at night time and a dog barking which is complimented by a soundtrack of rock music by a band called The Gone Jackals from their album titled Bone to Pick, alongside original music composed by long-time Lucas Arts and Double Fine collaborator Peter McConnell who also composed music for Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Costume Quest, Broken Age and Psychonauts 2. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation which is surprising as it could have produced voice-overs, commentary, sound effects or music.
The trophy list includes 40 trophies with 22 bronze trophies, 15 silver trophies, 2 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the One Final Offer bronze trophy for accepting Ripburger’s final offer; the Ring Pull silver trophy for getting your keys from the bartender; and the Know Mo silver trophy for finishing all of Mo’s initial dialogue. There are not really any hard trophies as the entire trophy list is achievable by progressing through the story, exploring environments and selecting the majority of items you come across along the way. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips as almost every trophy is listed as a hidden trophy; that it would take around 10 to 20 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are no difficulty levels, although there is a high gradient in difficulty curve as missing the slightest detail such as a hard to pinpoint hose or a padlock on the ground will have you walking round in circles for an hour at a time scratching your head as to what to do next which can become somewhat frustrating at times, although that could be stated for other games within the genre too.
There are no local or online multiplayer features which are understandable given the focus on the story and character driven narrative, although perhaps a local or online form of co-operative multiplayer for 2 players would have provided a significant focal point of a new experience within the existing one by allowing 2 players to experience the story together. There is no online leaderboards which could have featured time based leaderboards for how quickly players were able to solve a puzzle, completing the entire game and perhaps even how many Rottwheeler bikers had been collectively taken down by each player. However, while multiplayer features and online leaderboards would have added further replay value to the remaster; their exclusion does not detract from the experience.
Replayability stems from progressing through the story and the onslaught of challenging puzzles, while playing the game with updated graphics and audio or reverting back to retro graphics is another excellent feature, alongside concept art and gradually unlockable audio commentary dialogue which will collectively keep players returning after completing their first playthrough.
• Title: Full Throttle Remastered
• Developer: Double Fine Productions
• Publisher: Double Fine Productions
• System: PS4 and PS Vita
• Format: PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: Yes (PS4 and PS Vita)
• Cross-Play: Yes (Cross-Save)
• Players: 1
• Hard Drive Space Required: 9.1GB (Version 1.02)