Time Gentlemen, Please!

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    Zombie Cow Studios

Released:  2009



by flotsam


Anything with zombie cows somehow involved is guaranteed to spark my interest. If it has dino Nazi robots, time travel and coat hangers as well, itís got to be worth the $5 entry fee. Throw in Captain Binky, and what more could you want?

Ben There, Dan That! was a short freeware adventure game that garnered some enthusiastic comments at various websites dedicated to such games. Time Gentlemen, Please! is a much longer sequel and, on that basis, it costs $5 and is no longer freeware, but an Indie game. At least, that is what we told ourselves at GameBoomers when deciding whether to review it or not.

I have to say, there is a lot to like about this game. I also have to say that if crude humour, written by boys for boys (by which you know that genitalia is going to get a look-in) is not for you, keep your $5 in your wallet.

It is crude. It is rude. It is on occasion vulgar and offensive, depending upon your sensibilities. Depending on your sense of humour, it is also funny, certainly fun, and reverential to the adventure game genre and LucasArts in particular. It pokes fun at itself, and enjoys doing it.

It can also be quite clever, especially in its puzzle creation. Moving things back and forth in time adds a dimension (literally) to the solutions. Sure, many are somewhat far-fetched, but I already mentioned dino Nazi robots so what did you expect? And it wouldnít be the first adventure game where putting out a fire involved a far more convoluted solution than simply using water. I confess to being stuck, and to trying things simply because I had things in my inventory, however weird it seemed.

I did feel, though, that the solution was never too far away Ė well, most of the time. The banter between Ben and Dan, our two protagonists, is often revealing in terms of what to do next, and Dan (or was it Ben) could always ask Ben (or was it Dan) whether he had any suggestions. Often he did, not in terms of a solution but an objective. Which didnít always lead to a solution, but at least pointed the way.

Some solutions were beyond me, and the internet on those occasions was my friend. The game isnít for novice players. But aficionados with a hankering for olde worlde type adventure conundrums, and lots of them, will probably be well pleased. Is that a pig in your pocket? Or a cleverly disguised bottle opener?

There is no spoken dialogue in Time Gentlemen, Please, but there is a lot which you read. Most of the crudeness comes through the dialogue, but so too does much of the silly fun, and adventure genre fun-poking. Plus you donít have to worry about bad voice acting.

The other part of the silly fun is the animation itself. I loved the look, and the way in which Dan and Ben scuttled almost crab-like around the gaming environment. It has simple and effective crayola appeal and, despite the fact that it wouldnít play full screen, was a high point for me.

So too the musical score. Different locations have their own score, and again itís simple, melodic and effective. Some scenes just have background sound effects, in keeping with the scene in question.

I mentioned tinkering with time and if you like flirting with time conundrums, deep and not so deep, the storyline will likely appeal. It would spoil it to say too much. Suffice to say that it involves stopping Dan and Ben from stopping Dan and Ben stopping the invention of the coat hanger to stop the population of the world from dying because of Dan and Ben (and Matlock).

Time Gentleman, Please! was clearly made with affection, by and for adventure fans. True, crude and rude donít usually feature in adventure games. And some (or many) adventure fans wonít respond favourably. I, however, cranked up the boy inside, had another red wine, and giggled (and groaned) inappropriately through the escapades.

Time Gentlemen, Please! is available for purchase from the Zombie Cow website here.


August, 2009

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