From its startling opening scene straight
through to its unexpected ending, Pendulo Studio’s much anticipated
Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle is a keeper. It delivers first-rate
cartoon style graphics, lots of over-the-top characters, and wonderful
game enhancing music. Its inventory puzzles are whacky enough to be fun
and logical enough to prevent hair pulling. The twisting story line dishes
out surprises with gusto while showcasing the game’s saucy dialogue.
Runaway 2: features a point-and-click interface and is viewed
from the third person perspective. It is available on DVD or by download
from the official website, and is not for the small of hard drive. The
minimum install is 2.5 gigabytes. Full install is 5.7 gigabytes. It is
copy protected and needs no patching.
Bucking the current trend, Runaway 2 comes with a thorough and
engaging paper manual. The manual’s humor and art invited me into the game
before I loaded it.
Story: “I’d love to catch some rays, but this is no time to
get a tan.” Brian
The story begins as our hero, Brian, shares the experiences of one
ill-fated day with his friend Sushi.
Brian and his girlfriend, Gina, have been enjoying an idyllic life in
Hawaii. Gina arranges a day trip to Tiki Falls on nearby (but inexplicably
difficult to reach) Mala island. Things do not go smoothly. In the heart
stopping introductory video, Brian pushes Gina from the plane as she begs
him not to. Gina floats through the skies only to sink unconscious beneath
the azure waters of an unnamed lake. Meanwhile, Brian’s plane crashes in
Brian must rescue his lady love. Naturally, this will not be an easy or
straightforward task. It can only be accomplished by quick thinking, the
ability to use what is at hand, and the help of a few old friends.
Game play: “Hurrying is for the weak of bladder and bad
This is a pure adventure game requiring no “twitch reflexes.” You
cannot die. Mostly you’ll wander around trying to get Brian out of the
scrapes he’s gotten himself into. This involves a great deal of
interaction with non-player characters (NPCs). You must pay attention,
both to your environment and to the dialogue – and you should be prepared
to engage in some original thinking. While you will be required to do some
“to and fro,” the goods you need will be fairly close at hand. There are
no red herrings, and Brian discards any extraneous inventory at the end of
The game is divided into six chapters, which can be replayed at will
from the options menu. Beautiful video sequences play often and may
provide important clues.
When you finish the game, be sure to watch the credits roll for a sneak
preview of coming attractions.
Characters: “This old bird’s wings are still aflapping.” Otto
The cast of characters is large, though never dull. Some of the
personalities are caricatures, and in this game, that works.
Brian is aided in his quest by a few old
friends from Runaway 1: well-heeled techno geek Sushi; Saturn, an
inventor extraordinaire; laid-back and eco-friendly Rutger; and Joshua,
who believes he is in telepathic contact with aliens.
In addition, Runaway 2 introduces its own lengthy list of quirky
souls. These cartoon characters are diverse and full of pizzazz.
Beautiful, shapely Lokelani, the island bartender, is the girl of every
guy’s dreams. Otto, the ancient, creaking pilot is every passenger’s
nightmare. Square-jawed Colonel Kordsmeier is eager to fight. Deadly
Tarantula is as ruthless as she is beautiful. Barrel-chested Captain
Malatunez is strong and deadly. And that’s just for starters.
Many individuals have disproportionate or unusual features. Both Joshua
and Rutger sport large, misshapen heads. Most of the women are
well-endowed. Brian, our hero, has square eyes. In spite of (or maybe
because of) the exaggerated features, this cast is fun to meet. Not all
the NPCs are human, which adds to the charm.
Be warned that one character’s attire is a bit suggestive at times. In
addition, Gina is briefly seen nude from the back (waist up), and from the
front, though the frontal nudity has strategic blackouts.
Dialogue: “I’ll nonchalantly slip it into my pocket. Well,
not too nonchalantly or I may inadvertently saw a branch off the family
Runaway 2 contains a large amount of consistently amusing,
facetious dialogue. Brian has an opinion on everything, from the
appearance of NPCs to his opinion of your latest instructions.
Sometimes his comments are just witticisms or refusals. Occasionally
his comments are a roadmap to what you need to do next. Brian interacts
with the NPCs via dialogue trees. You can listen to all the choices (as I
did) or zero in on the necessary ones (if you can). His frequent asides
made me feel as if I were helping a friend, albeit a very goofy one.
The NPCs are talkative, and some cut scenes feature lengthy exchanges.
Keep alert for the many references to pop culture found throughout the
It’s a big cast, but each voice is just right for that personality. The
pirate Malatunez is deep-voiced and menacing. Joshua’s edgy personality is
brought to life by his high and frenetic voice. Lokelani’s voice is
seductive. Brian’s voice is pleasant and easy on the ear, portraying an
affable, if cheeky, young man.
Puzzles: “What the heck. This isn’t the first time
I’ve taken something without knowing what I wanted it for.” Brian
Brian has an incredible ability to accept challenges for which he is
ill prepared. Luckily, he is good at using his wits and whatever is lying
around to get out of these situations.
The puzzles are predominately inventory based, and sometimes you need
to combine objects. Combining inventory items is easily done by dragging
one object to the other in the inventory screen. The catch is that every
now and again, it must be done in a certain order if you are to be
I had a small problem with the brown background of the inventory
screen. Brown articles tended to “disappear” into the background.
For variety, there are a scattering of easily worked-out logic puzzles.
You’ll need to listen closely to a conversation or two for one unique
Though there are a few whacky puzzles, most made sense in a cartoon
adventure game kind of way. Even the ones that stumped me had solutions
that I could “see” once I got a hint.
There are no sound puzzles, no mazes, no puzzles requiring color
discrimination, and no timed bits. You’ll not find any sliders or
Graphics: “Looks as if I’m in the middle of a jungle.”
Runaway 2 is a beautiful game, as fun to look at as it is to
play. In keeping with its cartoon nature, some of its graphics are flat
and lack texture, but this does not impact the game. Colors are vibrant
though never garish. Most settings are full of light, movement, and
sometimes kitsch. Delightful details such as Brian’s shape seeming to
morph as he moves behind a giant bottle (á la a fun house mirror) abound.
Brian’s quest to find Gina sends him to diverse locations ranging from
the tropical jungle of Mala Island to the icy environs of Cicely, Alaska
and includes a luxurious yacht and a not-so-luxurious pirate ship of the
past. The humor of the game is not confined to the dialogue. Entertaining
touches are found in the most unexpected places. Is that really Indiana
Jones I see?
The cut scenes are gorgeously produced. My favorite locale was under
the water -- complete with filtered light, schools of fish, and an old
wrecked ship with bubbles languidly drifting towards the surface.
While I never pixel hunted, I had to increase the game’s brightness in
two locations. This was easily done from the in-game menu.
Background and Ambient Sounds: “I like the way it sounds, and
if you knew me better, you’d realize it suits me to a ‘T.’ ” Brian
There’s not much to say about the background music and ambient sounds
in Runaway 2 except that, like most other elements in this game,
they are well done. The original score and environmental noises are placed
almost perfectly. In some games the music quickly becomes annoying, and
overwhelms the exploration or the puzzle solving. But not in this one.
Days later my toes are still tapping.
Interface: “I’ve always bragged about being able to carry a
bunch of stuff without a back pack.” Brian
Runaway 2 employs a classic interface. Use the left mouse button
for movement and the right mouse button to cycle through the possible
actions. Hovering the mouse over a hotspot reveals a description at the
bottom of the screen.
Saves are at will and unlimited. Each save has a generously sized
picture plus the chapter number, and you get to name each save.
Once he has visited an area, Brian transports instantly by double
clicking on the desired place. The Esc key flashes through the opening
screens, and left clicking skips repeated dialogue. Happily, this game is
Alt+Tab friendly and includes captions.
Access to the inventory screen and the options menu is at the top of
the screen. From the options menu you can save, load, exit, and make
adjustments to the sound and appearance of the game.
A summary of Runaway 1 is available from the options menu. It is
not necessary to have played the first game to enjoy the second. However,
those with Runaway experience may pick up on a joke or two that the
uninitiated might miss. This is a great feature!
The inventory button opens a large split screen with Brian on the right
and your inventory on the left. It’s a very engaging system, as Brian will
gesture, make faces, and comment on your inventory selection. When you
combine inventory, Brian says something witty, drops off the screen, and
pops back up as the new invention appears in your inventory.
Small Problems: “No man, don’t you worry. We all have
our little flaws.” Ben
Runaway 2 is both well conceived and executed, but it has a few
Loading and saving times were bit protracted. Infrequently, I spotted a
misused word or a mislabeled hotspot. On the rare occasion, the spoken
word did not match the captions exactly.
My only serious problem occurred when Brian could not pick up a
necessary piece of equipment. Following a walkthrough step by step did not
correct this difficulty. Happily, loading a previous save and playing
through again did solve it.
The U.S. release is rated “T” for crude humor, language, mild violence,
sexual themes, and use of drugs. While I noticed a fair sprinkling of
sexual innuendo, one cut scene following a puzzle springs to mind
immediately as the main culprit. No graphics are seen, but sounds and
remarks are heard which may offend. I think the developers could have
found a better way to wrap up this puzzle.
Summary: “This morning has been a real humdinger.” Brian
Runaway 2 left me wanting more, literally. It did not answer all
my questions, and some plot lines remain open. In spite of that, I’m glad
I played it. I’m definitely ready to see what the sequel brings.
Contains brief nudity
3rd person adventure
Save at will
Name your own saves
Dialogue extensive and often
Frequent interaction with a
diverse list of NPCs
Twisting, open-ended plot
A few logic/memory puzzles
No sound puzzles
No color discrimination puzzles
No timed puzzles
No quick reflexes needed
Beautiful, colorful cartoon
Excellent sound and voiceovers
Available on DVD or by download
1 glitch requiring dropping
back to a save
Slow loading and saving
My computer specifications: