Full Throttle review

Written by Julian Schoffel on . Posted in Adventure

Full Throttle game image

Released back in 1995, this classic Lucasarts graphic adventure made a welcome change to Sierra games which usually seemed to cast you as a politically correct pixie poncing about in a technicolour jump suit…

Ever wanted one of them cool looking motorcycles with heaps of chrome and enough torque to rip the gate off a garden fence? Ever wanted to kick the crap outta the bartender for serving you a flat beer? Ever seen a grown man naked? Ok, I may have got a little carried away there…

If your answer was in the affirmative to all of the afore mentioned points (er, not the last one) you could do one of two things: join the Hell’s Angels or buy yourself a copy of Full Throttle and take a little walk on Lucasarts’ version of the wild side.

Back when it was first released Full Throttle was an adventure game with a difference (and an attitude). After putting up with a plethora of cheesy, corny, sickly-sweet and often downright crappy adventure games Full Throttle was like a blast of fresh air for me back in 1995.

Meet the Polecats: an unsavoury bunch of misfits…

Full Throttle concerned the plight of a gang of butt-kicking bikers (the Polecats) and their sombre, yet strangely charismatic, leader Ben (no surname).

As the game kicked off the Polecats had been down on their luck and in need of some cash. After being bamboozled into escorting the head of the only motorcycle manufacturer left in the country to a shareholder’s meeting, they found themselves in a wee bit of trouble. It would seem that Malcolm Corley (head of Corley Motors and yep, it might as well have been Harley) wanted to sack his nasty second in command Adrian Ripburger (played by Mark Hamill).

Unfortunately Ripburger had other plans and killed Corley while he was taking a leak. He then pinned the blame on the Polecats.

So it was up to Ben to save the Polecats from a lifetime of feeling edgy about picking the soap up in the shower (prison) and then avenging the death of his beloved motorcycle manufacturer by exposing Ripburger and then killing him (whichever came first really).

Brilliant visuals and a kick-ass soundtrack

Back in 1995 Full Throttle featured some of the best music, sound-effects and visuals I had yet experienced in a PC adventure game. While the game did involve performing fairly standard adventure game tasks i.e. find object, bring object back to so and so, find next object, hit so and so over the head with object etc. everything was done with such coolness and style that even a cynical bastard like me found himself chuckling heartily whenever Ben kicked butt.

The adventuring side of the game was broken up with some nice action sequences where you beat up other bikers on the road. These sequences looked incredible (by 1995 standards) and, when accompanied by the wicked soundtrack, really had me foaming at the mouth (in a good way).

The voice-acting in Full Throttle was a bit of a mixed bag but some of the characterisations; particularly Ben’s, Corley’s and Ripburger’s were some of the best I had yet heard in a PC game.

On the cinematic side Lucasarts had outdone themselves with this one. When you saw Ben on his bike and heard the great soundtrack you felt compelled, nay driven, to go out and get a chopper and a tattoo for yourself. Ok well I did anyway…

Innovative interface

Full Throttle featured a mouse controlled interface with a difference. Instead of the screen being split between the interface and gameworld you had a single cursor instead. When you moved the cursor over a ‘live’ object it changed to a square, clicking the mouse then invoked the ‘flaming tattoo’ interface. Using this interface, you could then pick up, talk to, kick or beat the crap out of the object. This left the screen uncluttered and allowed you to admire all the sexy artwork.

The animation of all the characters was smooth and very cartoon-like and the cutscenes were amazing (even if they were in good old 256 colour VGA).

While Full Throttle was a cool game about nasty biker types it didn’t really contain any offensive language or violence. Sure, it was full of clichéd dialogue and macho platitudes but Lucasarts managed to pull it off in a very tongue in cheek way.

What’s really great about the game was the non-dependence on fancy CD graphics and a healthy focus on plot and character development. LucasArts managed to keep abreast of new technology without sacrificing all important gameplay.

Review Summary
Score: 93%
Info: Full Throttle shook the dust out of a stagnating genre and if you yearn for the open road and don’t mind a few bugs in the teeth it’s still worth a look.
The Good: Short, but very very sweet. Managed to generate more atmosphere and adrenalin than all the ‘_ _ _ _Quest’ games put together.
The Bad: The game had a tendency to crash in the action sequences.

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Julian Schoffel

From 1994 to 2007 Julian was a contributing editor for Australian PC User Magazine. He has also written for numerous publications which include Australian Personal Computer, PC PowerPlay, Hyper, Ralph, Megazone, The Disc, PlayNow, TechLife, The Sydney Morning Herald and IGN.

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