In the business they say a company is as
good as their last game. I hope Frogwares has some other games up its
collective creative sleeves, because this title leaves you wanting
something more. Allot more. 80 days may be inspired by the well known
author Jules Verne, but the game just does not hit that core adventure
gene that Jules Verne seemed to have a knack for touching in all of us.
When you get right down to it, 80 days is a plodding affair that has so
much promise but leaves you bored and frustrated, just when you think
you are going to have a bit of an adventure, youíre turned into a
virtual errand boy instead. No brain power required here for the more
than a little obvious puzzlesÖif your lucky with the out of the box
version you may be able to play for a short time before the memory
hemorrhage of the program causes it to crash. Even with the patch that
is now out there seems to be periodic lags as if in an online game. But
thatís the kicker, your not on line.
Ok, so I am jumping around a bit here but this just has to be said. I
donít know what the development team was doing or who decided it but you
just do not put really bad disco sounding tunes in a menu screen for a
Victorian based game. Itís not funny, itís not cute, itís just badÖand I
donít mean good badÖI mean bad.
Now the game is set in the late 1800ís and follows Oliver an Englishman
who takes on the challenge to go around the world in 80 days. He does it
of course for family, his uncle who is an inventor and a bit of a hot
head it seems since he spouted off to his fellows about getting around
the world in 80 days. Now itís up to Oliver to bail him out it seems.
Along the way Oliver is also tasked with recovery of four lost patents
for his Uncles inventions.
The cut scene lead in starts in London, but you donít take control of
Oliver until getting to Cairo. There are more than small shares of
creative license taken with the story. Since history is toyed with and
modernized really bad jokes are sprinkled liberally throughout the game.
Advancements in technology and the bit of fantasy break through during
the adventure which may cause some Jules Verne fans to want to grab some
pitch forks and torches and go hunting the creative team for the
projectÖoh wait thatís hunting cartoonists.
The game play is run of the mill cookie cutter style of gaming. Itís
never really a straight forward affair though. When you get to a new
location, your main goal may be to find the patent, but all sorts of
things come to pass that send you on to other paths ofÖwellÖ.
The game takes a third person view approach and controlling Oliver is
for the most part simple. You cannot move very well left or right,
Oliver can only move with a step left or right when at a complete stop.
Go figure. The characters speed with walking or running is rather slow,
you will find yourself trying to run just to make up for lost time.
Oliver can of course rent certain forms of transportation to get around
but the frustration of controlling these forms of transportation almost
make it not worth the while. If anything that shows a glimmer in the
game the graphics of the locations and characters are acceptable at
their worst, but do show some promise with some beautiful locations.
Several locations are in fact rather interesting to look at.
During the game there are times when Oliver has to be sneaky, these
times in the game I just began to really hate. Because more times than
not the character got spotted due to the inability to spot around
objects or control the camera enough to get a look around.
Letís see now. Letís talk a bit more about the sounds and music. The
music for the game just does not make sense. The disco tunes just throw
everything out the window and leaves you wondering what the hell youíre
even playing. Voice acting here is pretty bad. Though the opening
character of Oliverís Uncle seemed to match the characters artÖbut more
times than not the voice acting was just overly done and just came off
as awkward. The combination of bad music and bad acting just really kill
off this game, not that it needed much help. Iím not sure what the
development team was shooting for in the overall package, but this may
be one best left on the shelves for now. It just does not do it for me
at all, and my sense of humor is at times over the top and odd to some.
So that is saying a lot that I find the game 80 days a bore.
I really cannot suggest this game to anyone. There may be some redeeming
qualities, but you would really have to dig deep, take a blind leap of
faith and ignore the obvious self game designer gratifying tones that
scream from this title. Shoot on over to Tri Synergy or Frogwares site
for a demo.
Have fun, play games
Edwin and Shael Millheim