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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Developer / Publisher

Dynamix

 

Released

1991

 

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The Adventures of Willy Beamish

willy beamish    willy beamish

The world of Willy Beamish contains a cola guzzling frog, a sweetener made from sludge, a babysitter from Hell, a bully that can easily mush Willy into a ball, a family of ninja tourists, striking plumbers, good friends, annoying sisters, the ghost of Willyís dead grandfather, and the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation!

Willy starts off the game in detention on the last day of school and eventually winds up winning a frog jumping contest to get the money to attend and win the Nintari Championships. Along the way he foils the strange plans of Leona Humpford, the villain, interacts with a strange variety of characters, performs a variety of household chores that everyone hates as a kid, and basically behaves like any other stereotypical 10 year old would.

Willy Beamish is one of the early games that gives the player the opportunity to choose a path, weighing the pros and cons of each choice. Do you take the dog for a walk? Do you help your mom cut vegetables or play with your little sister? Do you put iodine on your cut or just a band-aid? These choices also relate to your "Trouble Meter" which ranges from good boy to cadet school. Depending on how the player responds to given choices, Willy can be sent to cadet school pretty quick, ending any summer fun and the game. There are also plenty of optional things to do. Try to phone the "To have a good time" number in the phone booth, and watch as the police take you in for making obscene phone calls.

 

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The graphics are top of the line 1991. Compared to current adventure titles, the hand painted graphics look muddy and blurred. The animations are good, staying true to the cartoon theme. The inventory is handled by clicking on Willyís backpack. The icons are big making manipulation easy. Using items in the game environment is easy too. Just click on the item in the inventory screen, drag it to the edge which closes the inventory screen, and 

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click the item on whatever person, place or thing. If the item canít be used in the way the player wants, it drops to the bottom of the screen. When Willy leaves the screen all items automatically return to Willyís inventory. Also on the inventory screen is a couple of fast-forward buttons beside the current game time. These come in handy if the player is stuck as to what to do. Nothing happening? Fast forward to 19:00 and see what happens. With the clock, time is always ticking away, forcing Willy to find solutions or die trying.

Navigation is simple. There are only three icons: EXIT, action and examine. The on-screen arrow changes over hot spots, letting the player know exactly what can be picked up or interacted with. The EXIT icon pops up in areas where another room or area can be accessed. Obviously, ease of use was a priority. Not surprising since Dynamix also produced Rise of the Dragon.

The dialogue and writing is funny. Some of the best exchanges are when the whole family is together. Anyone with siblings will be able to relate. The items found in Willy Beamish all have funny descriptions. To look at an item simply right-click and the arrow icon changes to a magnifying glass. Click on the Starship Enterprise and get a "Damn the torpedoes" response. The scene in the pizza joint was enough to make me laugh out loud.

The theme music is catchy, while the music for each scene fits the environment. The sound effects are standard 1991 Adlib and Soundblaster. But watch out when trying to play under Soundblaster. There is a lockup problem at the beginning of the game, at least on the machine used to review the game. The patch, downloaded from www.sierra.com, did not seem to make any difference. Running under Adlib is no problem. There is also a very good on-line (in-game) help file that goes over how to control Willy and how to interact with the other characters.

The puzzles range from obvious to difficult. The biggest chunk of problem solving occurs in the Humpford mansion where the solutions are less than obvious. Plus there are a few bugs in the sequence in the mansion kitchen which gets old very fast. As with the dialogue and choice branches, the puzzles have several different ways to approach them. Multiple solutions are not something thatís found even in todayís games.

Saving and restoring games are easy to handle. You can save and restore virtually anywhere. And the manuals are great. One is Willyís notebook, complete with doodles on the covers and a few helpful hints inside. The technical manual is on the back of the pizza menu for the in-game pizza joint. Great touches.

- Omni

 

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