Wallace & Gromitís Grand Adventures Episode 2: The Last Resort

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    Telltale Games

Released:  May 2009

PC Requirements:   Windows XP / Vista (Vista64 unsupported), 2.0 GHz or better (3 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent recommended), 512MB (1GB recommended), 64MB DirectX 8.1-compliant video card (128MB recommended), DirectX 8.1 sound device, Version 9.0c or better

Walkthrough

Additional Screenshots

 

 

 

by flotsam

 

Number two in the current episodic series from Telltale games, Wallace and Gromit in The Last Resort sticks faithfully to its Aardman origins to create an enjoyable, albeit slightly flat, interlude in the basement of 62 West Wallaby Street.

If you have never encountered Wallace and Gromit before, check out Gremlinís review of the first episode, which will give you a little background. If you are familiar with the plasticine duo, then read on.

The Last Resort sees the Blackpool beach holiday thwarted by inclement weather (it is the UK after all!). An almost calamity in the basement leads to a grand idea -- if you canít go to the beach, get the beach to come to you. A few conundrums later, and West Wallaby Waterworld is born, complete with holidaying villagers all seeking to escape the gloomy environs.

Crusty frog

The game is played in self-contained chapters, the first of which consists of establishing the beach. There are limited things to do, and limited places to do them, so itís fairly smooth sailing to Chapter 2, which reveals what happens when you try and entertain half a dozen or so would-be holiday makers in a Wigan basement. Wallace must cheer them all up, or itís refunds all round.

Then the mystery. The lights go out, and Duncan McBiscuit gets a good old noggin thumping with goodness knows what and by goodness knows who. Wallace is busy getting the Deduct-o-Matic to work properly, so Gromit is on the case. I was pleased he was. Gromit has always been the brains of the operation, and it would not have seemed authentic to have him merely as an adjunct.

A fourth short chapter finishes things off, but not before a close encounter with a whirlpool. Itís Gromit again who saves the day, with a few well aimed throws. It isnít a matter of dexterity however, just throwing the correct thing at the correct item.

Do I look like I care

I have always admired claymation, and the painstaking effort involved. We havenít got that here, but Telltale apparently got access to the original plasticine models, so we do have a rather excellent computer-generated imitation, complete with thumb marks. Everything else from the Wallace and Gromit world is spot-on Ė the very British feel is present, the language is right, and the actors (including the Wallace stand-in) are all excellent. The original jaunty music is also used. Clearly Telltale (and Aardman) had no designs on tampering with a classic.

There is cheese too, although it isnít Wensleydale.

Gromit is great. Itís amazing how expressive a character can be who says nothing, especially one who is an animated piece of plasticine. And a dog to boot.

Unlike other Telltale games, the Wallace and Gromit adventures use the keyboard to control movement, and the mouse to interact with the game world. As fine movement isnít necessary, it works okay, but it did feel a little clumsy now and then. For point and click aficionados, you will have to grin and bear it, and think of your Xbox colleagues. Or plug in a gamepad.

Its played in the third person, and as might be apparent from the above, you get to play as Gromit in Chapter 3, as well as on other short occasions. There arenít many games you get to play as a dog (DogDay springs to mind), and certainly not one as resourceful as Gromit.

Save games happen automatically, and happen so regularly you donít really need to manually save. You can if you want to, and save games are called bookmarks. The main menu screen will let you continue a game, which will automatically load the last saved game. As it autosaves on exit, you just pick up where you left off, a feature I always like.

Kippered herring

One thing that is here from other Telltale games is the hint system, which has four levels of prodding. Turn it off altogether if you wish, or adjust it as you go if you feel stuck. Itís quite subtle, introducing dialogue into the game that may well give you an idea of what to do. It stops short of an actual answer, but the more frequent the level of hint chosen, the more obvious might be the prod.

It isnít a hard game in any event, although I did get held up here and there. It isnít terribly long either, with probably four to six hours of playing time seeing you through. Some more gadgets would have been nice, but all up it is engaging fun, and for those who like the Wallace world, you would be hard pressed to be disappointed.

I do like that world but I did think the game lacked a little something. It was charming, but perhaps a little too familiar. Or perhaps for me there is only so much you can do with a quaint elderly gentleman and his debonair dog before it loses a little interest.

On that basis, for me itís a B minus. If you donít have those same sorts of feeling, it will undoubtedly rate higher.

Wallace & Gromit in The Last Resort can be purchased as part of Wallace & Gromitís Grand Adventures via download at the Telltale Games website.

May, 2009

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