In 2003, Pendulo Studios released
Runaway: A Road Adventure, followed by Runaway: The
Dream of the Turtle in 2007. Now, just in time for Christmas, they
have released the final installment in this popular series, Runaway: A
Twist of Fate (Fate).
It is very difficult to review the third game in a series without
providing at least some spoilers for the previous two games. So be
forewarned, if you have not yet played the preceding games but plan to,
you might want to stop reading now, skip to the end, and read the short
“Well, this is an
interesting start.” Gina
At the conclusion, or as some would say, the non-conclusion of
Runaway 2, a very dejected and overwhelmed Brian reviews some of the
considerable and substantial, perhaps insurmountable, barriers standing
between himself and his beloved Gina. She is in a state of suspended
animation deep under a lake, and her location is surrounded by soldiers
under the command of corrupt and ruthless Col. Kordsmeier who will do all
in his power to prevent her rescue. Also, his cohort, Tarantula (a truly
evil villain) and her minions are in Brian’s way and must be dealt with.
If you expect game three to take up the story minutes after game two
ended -- as I did -- a surprise awaits you. This tale opens with a
bird’s-eye view of Brian’s sparsely attended funeral. Yes, I said Brian’s
funeral, and what’s more, Gina is the only mourner in sight.
With the central plot quest of Turtle completed (Gina very
evidently has been rescued), what in the world will the gamer find to do?
Where is this story going? Well, the answer is that the gamer will find
six chapters full of puzzles to solve, will play as several different
characters and, as the story twists and turns, will learn the details of
Gina’s rescue and Brian’s death.
“I know that sounds
weird because of my current appearance, but try not to forget that I'm
actually a debonair collegiate youth with handsome blue eyes.” Brian
Obviously, Brian and Gina are back, and they will interact with many
individuals -- some old, some new, some unexpected and all entertaining.
Brian’s face is subtly changed for this outing; his square eyes replaced
with more detailed ones and his messy hair is now closely cut and covered
by a watch hat.
Gina is her usual curvaceous self. Kordsmeier still has more chin than
integrity, and his subaltern, O’Connor, more loyalty than brains. Remember
Joshua? He is available to give the stuck gamer a bit of a nudge, though
he won’t directly tell you what to do.
“Nothing like a sock in
the kisser to promote dialogue.” Jonah
In keeping with the earlier games, hero, heroine, and supporting cast
all have lots to say. Often, it is funny, witty, insulting, wisecracking
or all four at the same time. From time to time, though, I felt that
certain statements were intended to be humorous but missed my funny bone
by just a bit.
Dialogue is delivered via the standard tree, and can be repeated or
skipped as needed. Voice acting on the whole is satisfactory, though a
little more range of emotion would be welcome. Subtitles are available,
but sometimes the text and the spoken words are different.
Though the English language localization was excellent for the most
part, one section contains a glaring and obvious error. I was surprised to
see it in a product of this quality. Also, from time to time, Brian makes
a jibe or two at the production team. Aside from the amusing quality of
these remarks, I wonder if they were meant to explain why certain problems
were not corrected before release?
“They drag chains,
Mood setting tunes enhance the ambiance by changing to fit the moment’s
demands. Jazzy chords may be followed by a Spanish beat which is itself
followed by a period of silence broken only by environmental sounds such
as the thunk of a falling iron, the beep of a security pad, or the
clanging of machinery.
I was surprised and disappointed that it is not possible to adjust the
music, voice, and ambient sounds separately.
“That’s an innovative
Like its predecessors, Fate is a third person adventure game
featuring cartoon style graphics complete with the de rigueur curlicue
clouds. However, aside from the clouds, the settings appear fairly normal
with few of the exaggerated features and bright primary colors often found
in cartoon style games. Though some settings are more dimly lit (and
appropriately so), none are dark.
“Refrigerators are used
to keep food, drink, medicine, film, flowers, dentures, underwear, whole
dead bodies, pieces of dead bodies or dead bodies in sauce, but not that!”
As you play, you will mostly encounter inventory puzzles. Strangely,
these are pretty straightforward -- no taping a cell phone to a cat or
using human skin to make a trampoline, for instance. This doesn’t mean
they are always obvious, though. On the whole, I enjoyed them. They fit
well into the storyline, as long as you remember you are playing a
However, my favorite puzzle is one in which Brian must guess a series
of movie titles from the actions of his friend Marcelo, who happens to be
a mime. The titles were easily discerned and the alternate answers were a
Another fun puzzle reviewed the happenings of the original game in this
There are no sound or color dependent puzzles, and no timed or action
sequences either. Sliders, mini-games, and mazes are also absent, and you
“I hope his plan
Fate’s interface is intuitive. All movement is mouse-controlled.
The ‘Esc‘ key brings up the options, help, load, save, and quit screens,
which can also be accessed using the ‘F’ keys (1–4). Saving is at will,
unlimited, and you can name your own saves. Fate is Alt+Tab
friendly. The old style cursor (right click on item to cycle through
possible actions) is easy to use and seems right in this setting.
Pressing F2 displays all the hotspots, a feature that I used frequently
to ensure I had explored every essential item before leaving a screen.
Though generally helpful, I experienced a single hitch in the system. I
had employed F2 and walked around one area and clicked and clicked and
clicked, but was able to obtain the “look” cursor and its following “take”
indicator for one particular necessary item only by standing all the way
across the room.
I must give a big thumbs-up to Pendulo for including the ability to
pause the game (space bar) at any time, including during cut scenes. In my
house, every cut scene precipitates a ringing phone, the chiming door
bell, the barking dogs…you get the picture. I have missed many a scene and
been forced to replay because real life reared its head at the wrong
moment. So, I did a dance of joy when I discovered that the space bar
paused cut scenes and dialogue exchanges. Bravo!
Other than the one hotspot glitch described above, Fate played
seamlessly and without problems.
Though Fate ties up the dangling plot lines from Runaway 2,
and states during the game that this is the last of the series, the
cracking good finale leaves the door open just a tiny bit for another
outing for Brian and Gina. As I got a kick out of this game as well as its
antecedents, I welcome one.
Those who have enjoyed Runaway 1 and 2 will most likely
like this one, while those who would rather spit nails than play them
should give this one a skip as well.
Runaway: A Twist of Fate can be purchased via
The Adventure Shop.
Third in a series of three
Third person adventure game
Mouse controlled movement
Save at will, unlimited, name
Twisting story told by
flashback alternating with current time
Play as several characters
Old characters brought back and
joined by new and memorable ones
In game hint system
Dialogue often, but not always,
Dialogue can be skipped, but
not in cut scenes
Cut scenes can be paused
Voice, background music,
ambient sounds not separately adjustable
Cartoon style graphics
puzzles which fit the story
No sound or color dependant
No timed or action puzzles
No mazes or sliders or
Old style cursor
One annoying hotspot glitch;
otherwise, a stable game
I played on a computer with the following specifications:
OS: Win XP Professional
Processor: Intel Core 2
Quad CPU @ 2.40 GHz
Ram: 3.25GB Dual Channel
DDR2 667 w/ECC 2-DIMMs
Gx card: nVidia GE Force
Sound card: Creative
Labs Sound Blaster X-FI Xtreme Music