Adventure Afterlife 20 years of Adventure games – 1996
1996 was a another strong year for adventure games, whilst there weren’t as many releases as previous years two of my favorite adventure games of all time were released, both with a very British flavor. Interestingly one was a brand new series, whilst the other was an adaptation of a British kid’s cartoon, made by a rather unexpected publisher.
I would like to confess something, I have a super-power. I can’t run really fast ( I always sucked at PE), I can’t read minds, and I certainly can’t do what a spider can. What I can do is acquire copies of Broken Sword. Before a recent flood wiped out a chunk of my games collection, I had two PC copies, the GBA version, the PS1 version, the GOG version ( and director’s cut) although I was somewhat surprised to find I don’t have it on Steam. Some of these copies just appeared possibly via other family members others I grabbed back when you didn’t have to trek to the seaside to find independent games shops. I’ve played through this game a lot, and I did it again for this project; but I’ll be straight here it was really hard to find the distance I found when re-playing other games on this list. The writing is still as sharp as ever and if templars, history and conspiracies are your thing, you should play it. What I’ll talk about is it’s opening
George Stobbart is an American on holiday in France, sitting at a small café watching the world go by when a clown passes him. Moments later the café explodes. George rushes inside to help the waitress and discovers a man has been killed. It’s one of my all time favorite game openings, the animation is wonderful and so is the voice work. I would strongly urge you to avoid the Director’s Cut, it tacks on another scene before this with another character, and dulls what is an exceptional opening scene.
Blazing Dragons is somewhat of an oddity, it was console only ( PlayStation and Saturn), and was published by Crystal Dynamics. In what is probably their first and last entry in this article series. The game is based around the first series of kid’s series Blazing Dragons created by Python Terry Jones. Blazing Dragons focus around the Dragon Knights of Camelhot, and the evil humans that want to take over and steal all the dragon’s treasure. The game focuses on inventor Flicker and his quest to save the princess Flame from having to marry against her will.
It’s a real shame Blazing Dragons never made it to PC, and I suspect it would have found a far wider audience. The humor is appropriately Python-esque, and whilst it’s dated in places it’s still very funny. Right at the start of the game Flicker picks up a clicker from his bedroom floor, and you can use it on almost any NPC in the game. Many have responses, and it’s fun just clicking around just to hear them.
Most of the puzzles make sense, though Blazing Dragons takes it’s cartoon logic and runs with it, the inclusion of some helpful lines and a literal help kiosk ( also a source of great one liners) means with persistence you should be able to get through most of the puzzles. There are also a few mini games thrown in which can be incredibly annoying and frustrating, though at least one involving a cat-a-pult ( literal) is reused later in the game to comedic effect
I briefly want to interrupt to say the menu design in this thing is kind of appalling, the amount of times I almost deleted my save was kind of incredible.
It’s interesting that 1996 somehow managed to generate two of the adventure games I’ve replayed the most. Broken Sword takes the record by a mile but I have at some point played through both the Saturn and PlayStation versions of Blazing Dragons. I have to admit to getting stuck on both at various points, though I managed to get through without a guide. If 1996 hits a high point then it’s for writing, both games are funny in different ways, and both will stick with you.
Broken Sword images from Giantbomb.com where I also mirrored this blog.