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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Telltale Games

 

Developer

Telltale Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

June 16, 2009

 

 

‑ Another cinema-quality game that plays out as an interactive movie

‑ The not-who-he-seems-to-be Monty Muzzle gives Wallace and Gromit their first real mean and nasty human enemy to battle against

‑ Final timing-is-everything mini-game much less frustrating than previous two episodes

 

 

‑ Choke point needlessly created because of confusing interactive points – first Gromit inside the Muzzelator, then more frustratingly in the game’s climatic moment in a skyward pursuit of Monty Muzzle

 

 

Review: Wallace & Gromit: Last Resort (PC)

Review: Armed & Dangerous (PC)

Review: Overlord (360)

 

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Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures: Muzzled

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

For the first episode of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures, the adversaries of naďve British inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit were oversized troublemaking bees, including one super-sized queen. The second episode had the boys pitted against two petulant puppies with a penchant for bratty behavior. The third episode, Muzzled!, leaves the animal kingdom behind and gives Wallace and Gromit their first human foe, Monty Muzzle – and he’s the meanest, nastiest, downright rotten-to-the-core enemy yet in the most satisfying Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures episode yet.

 

wallace and gromit muzzled          wallace and gromit muzzled

 

So it seems the folks around West Wallaby Street have a need for a new dog shelter, with the proliferation of on-the-loose puppies running around town. Only one problem: there’s no way to pay for one from the town coffers. But a “hero” emerges to save the day: one Monty Muzzle, a carnival operator that pledges to use the money he makes at the carnival he’ll run at the edge of town to rescue the pups from their predicament.

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There’s a big problem brewing, however, as Muzzle isn’t the virtuous “Good Samarian” that he seems to be. In fact, he’s quite the opposite: a ruthless money-grubber intent on keeping all the carnival money for himself. Worse, he’s using the puppies in need of rescue as hard-working and hard-suffering manual labor to operate his main attraction, the Muzzelator.

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In a departure from the first two episodes, the main star of Muzzled! isn’t Wallace, who plans on using his ice cream truck (with the usual wacky Wallace inventiveness installed, not any ordinary ice cream truck) to sell ice cream to the carnival-goers as his latest moneymaking idea. Instead, Gromit is the main character in play throughout Muzzled!, which is unlike the previous two episodes that placed the pooch’s master Wallace in the starring role. Gromit sees right away that Monty Muzzle is up to no good and tries to stop him by uncovering his true intentions while at the same time liberating the puppies.

 

Puzzles are much better this time around, as the carnival’s games (tic tac toc, guessing game, fortune teller) serve as the main conundrums in Muzzled! The puzzles are much more fun and mostly logical in how to accomplish solving each of them. The carnival itself is where gamers will spend the majority of their gaming time, a welcome getaway from West Wallaby Street.

 

wallace and gromit muzzled          wallace and gromit muzzled

 

As a whole Muzzled! certainly is the best of the Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures episode yet. But there are a few glitches that will create unintended choke points in the latter stages of the game in two areas. First, in the Muzzelator, getting one of the puppies freed from the cage is difficult to figure out, simply because the interactive point is hard to find. Puzzles shouldn’t be ridiculously simple, but they shouldn’t be frustrating either, and not being able to clearly establish what is the interactive aspect of this particular puzzle is just that: frustrating.

 

Another unintentional choke point is during the climatic chase in the sky above the carnival, with the would-be heroes in hot pursuit of Monty Muzzle. To advance the gameplay, Gromit must climb through the hatch in the ice cream truck’s roof to solve puzzles. But just as before, it’s very difficult to distinguish that interactive click & point area, and gamers could get stuck with no idea that they need to climb upward to move forward.

 

But with a strong story (a hallmark of all three episodes) a refreshing setting change to the carnival grounds, and a starring role for Gromit, a few stumbles (especially at the end of the game) aren’t enough to trip up Muzzled! as the best of the three episodes yet. And in a funny twist ending as the credits are rolling that leaves a doozy of a cliffhanger for the finale episode, the bashful and sometimes bumbling Brit Wallace somehow finds himself in a pickle of a mistaken romantic predicament with Felicity. All to be resolved in the series finale, The Bogey Man.

 

‑ Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(July 8, 2009)

 

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