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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Tri Synergy

 

Developer

Pendulo Studios

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

August 2003

 

 

- Best adventure game this year

- Great blend of 2D and 3D graphics

- Awesome soundtrack

- Varying range of puzzles

 

 

- Appalling lip synching

- Too short

- Some conversations not translated correctly

- Slow character movement

 

 

Review: Syberia (PC)

Review: Drunna (PC)

Review: Shenmue II (Xbox)

 

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Runaway: A Road Adventure

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

One of the most neglected genres in gaming today would undoubtedly be the Adventure genre. With its deep story and impressive graphics year after year, many gamers find the appeal of adventure games to diminish, as games today rely on fast paced, visceral gameplay. But for adventure community, the games are more pleasing then ever, though in short supply. Today only a few adventure games are recognized among gamers: The Longest Journey, Syberia, and the newest addition to that list, Runaway: A Road Adventure.

 

runaway-road-adventure-1.jpg (41768 bytes)          runaway-road-adventure-2.jpg (55165 bytes)

 

Runaway is like most adventure games sporting the point-and-click interface and 3rd person perspective. The game's story, like many other adventure games, is very well done. Brian, a college student from New York, is on his way to California in order to study at Berkeley. Along the way, he runs into an attractive woman fleeing from mob bosses. She tells him why they are after her, and from that point, the adventure begins.

 

The first thing that grabs attention to the gamers, are the stellar graphics. The cel-shaded visuals blend perfectly with the 2D backgrounds and does look amazing. Every setting within the game is done to the finest detail, and can be frustrating when looking for items. In most adventure titles, interactive items stick out with static edges, or another flamboyant reason. Not in Runaway. The items blend in making you search top and bottom on the screen. An odd problem with the 

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graphics was when the game cut into its many cut scenes. The graphics within the gameplay 

were noticeably better then of those within the cinematic. And because the game was developed in Spanish, then released in many other languages, the lip synching is absolutely terrible. When speaking, the entire cut scene freezes and looks dreadful when characters begin to speak. Though it can mar the gaming experience for the time being, it doesn’t ruin the story or the in-game graphics whatsoever.

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There isn’t much to talk about when it comes down to gameplay, for all adventure games use the same technique. Pick up item A, use it with item B, and utilize it with the task. Nothing new is implemented in Runaway and for good reason. The game's appeal is to the classic adventure gamers and fans of the Monkey Island series. Therefore you might notice odd similarities between the two in graphics and style.

 

The sound is the best part of runaway being most enjoyable. From the first track you hear, you’ll be hooked onto the Spanish style and mysteriousness to the end. The title track is done by a well known Spanish band “Liquor”. The song is very catchy and the singer’s vocals are like that of Shakiras. Other sound effects within the game's environments blend in with the setting you’re in. While in New York, the music will reflect the urgency of the situation and the dark mafia type of rhythm. Throughout the game you’ll come across great music, which does make some conversations bearable when lasting a very long time.

 

runaway-road-adventure-3.jpg (50266 bytes)          runaway-road-adventure-4.jpg (53270 bytes)

 

The biggest factor that can make or break an adventure game is its puzzles. Runaway features a lot of simple puzzles, but even more difficult ones. I’ve been playing adventure games most of my life, and I have done many puzzles. I will admit that Runaways puzzles did have me check out a walkthrough here and there, but not to the extent of having to read the walkthrough longer then actually playing the game. With careful deliberation and keen attention to the surrounding, most everyone should be able to get though Runaways’ puzzles.

 

In this day of gaming, especially PC gaming, it is very difficult to stumble upon a great adventure. Last years breakout title was of course Syberia, and this years would’ve been Runaway; if it wasn’t for Syberia II, though this could change with the recent delay of Microids' upcoming adventure title. Runaway is the best adventure game out right now, and my early nominee of the best adventure game this year. Though that is an early assumption, chances are my feelings will stay the same. If you’re a big fan of adventure games, or finally have decided to dive into the realm of adventure gaming, Runaway should be the first game on your list.

 

- Eric Lahiji

(September 3, 2003)

 

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