Thursday, August 30, 2007
Runaway A Road Adventure
The story in Runaway follows Brian Basco, a recent college graduate based on the East Coast who's looking to continue his studies out West. Brian takes off on a road trip so he can begin a postgraduate stint at UC Berkeley, but he doesn't even make it out of town before his plans are reduced to shambles by a collision with damsel in distress named Gina. Brian's big heart demands that he help Gina, who is not surprisingly being pursued by some jackbooted mafiosi, and together they take off to flee the thugs and also discover the secret of a mysterious artifact entrusted to Gina by her slain secret-agent father. If this setup sounds a little far-fetched, it is, but as you wend your way through the plot, you'll find a fair number of interesting places and people, as well as some unexpected twists (especially toward the end). Overall, the story is pretty evenly paced and should satisfy all but the most discriminating gamers.
If you've played just about any point-and-click adventure game from the past decade, you'll be right at home with Runaway's control scheme. If you click a spot on the ground, Brian will walk there. The cursor is context-sensitive, so if you pass over an object, you'll get a magnifying glass that lets you examine it, and if you highlight a path for moving offscreen, you'll get an arrow that lets you go there. Hitting the right mouse button lets you cycle through any other relevant actions, such as operate or take. Your inventory is available at the touch of the Tab key, and you can even move to a new screen without waiting for Brian to walk there by double-clicking (which is a huge time-saver). The puzzles are almost all of the "combine item A with item B and apply to hot spot C" nature, which is what you'd expect of an inventory-based adventure game, though there's a good amount of dialogue-tree character interaction going on as well. In gameplay terms, Runaway is pretty much by the numbers, but it works well for what it is.