Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures Episode 3: Muzzled!

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    Telltale Games

Released:  June 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


Additional Screenshots



by Becky


A tragedy has occurred in West Wallaby Street. A dog shelter was destroyed by a storm, releasing stray packs of pups. They lurk in dark corners, dig in flower beds and sneak into Wallace and Gromit’s basement. Episode 3 – Muzzled! From Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures brings us once again to Lancashire, England, where local townsfolk are busy planning to rebuild the shelter. What better way to raise money than to hold a carnival, hosted by the famous Monty Muzzle – a man dedicated to the art of charity fundraising?

Wallace’s contribution to Monty Muzzle’s Fundraise-A-Fair is a customized ice cream vending machine with hidden capabilities: the Swiss army knife equivalent of an ice cream truck. Starting the truck is difficult, as mischievous pups have stolen two of the parts. Gromit, of course, is conscripted to retrieve the pilfered parts while Wallace fiddles with the flavour engraver. Then off to the fair.

“Are you as smart as a chicken?”

Picture colorful booths, each with puzzles/challenges to solve, while calliope music plays in the background. You “win” at each booth through a combination of observation, strategy, cooking, flattery, and a healthy dollop of cheating. Aside from a couple of timed challenges, the game is relaxing -- almost bucolic -- until the final confrontation when you find yourself frantically mixing ice cream and falling through the air.

Outside of the carnival booths, most of Muzzled’s challenges involve employing the inventory and repairing and using mechanical devices. Also, an “escape the room” sequence taps your knowledge of animal psychology and behavior. If you are an animal lover (and, especially, a dog lover) this game should suit you to a tee.

“Your home is as grimy as a manky goat.”

Graphics are in cartoon-like, colorful 3D and they faithfully recreate the clay Wallace & Gromit world. As in previous episodes, you’ll visit the shop fronts on West Wallaby Street, as well as parts of Wallace and Gromit’s home. Animation and overall ambiance are surprisingly close to that of the animated shorts (though, as far as I know, no clay was molded in the making of this game). If you are a Wallace & Gromit fan looking for authenticity, you will definitely find it here.

“Your goiter could be mistaken for a blubbery whale.”

Absurdly eccentric British characters are a Wallace & Gromit trademark. Familiar neighbors appear from previous episodes – Major Crum, who mentally (and emotionally) has never been demobilized; Miss Flitt, who loves her roses more than she cares for suitors; and Mr. Gabberley, a mouthy crank who enlivens the window above the newsstand.

The voiceovers are excellent; it’s a pleasure just listening to the dialogs. Subtitles are available and feature unusual spellings (perhaps to match the unusual pronunciations). Editor’s Note: I have it on excellent authority that these pronunciations are perfectly authentic for Lancashire. You can click through conversations if you desire.

A few new characters debut in this episode – two that are particularly memorable are Monty Muzzle, master of salesmanship; and Twitch, a pup so traumatized by life that you’ll long to adopt him right off the screen.

“Your future is as sticky as black pudding.”

This game contains nearly everything Wallace & Gromit fans could hope for -- clever writing, colorful environments, jazzy music, varied challenges and a great range of “speaking looks” from Gromit (the Harpo of our heroic duo who never actually speaks). It installed and ran beautifully, with only one minor mishap when a foreground inventory item blocked the goings-on during a cut scene.

Yet, despite the sales skill of Monty Muzzle, the series at this stage still hasn’t “sold” itself to me as thoroughly as the Sam & Max adventures had. (Having played other Telltale games and being a Wallace & Gromit fan for years, my expectations were sky high, of course.) The Muzzled! gameworld is a trifle restricted. Also, the control system for the PC version is awkward. You mouse-click on hotspots, but must maneuver the player character (sometimes Wallace, other times Gromit) using the keyboard. I never quite got used to this combination and did a fair amount of clicking in vain at the edge of the screen.

Nevertheless, a strong finish with Episode 4 could erase these quibbles – and the team at Telltale Games is more than capable of finishing strongly. I suspect that the overall success of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures will rest on how well the season wraps up in the upcoming final episode: The Bogey Man.

“Will it fry?” (The Quick List)

An eccentric inventor and his hyper-competent pooch encounter a mystery at a traveling fair. Everything about the game echoes the aesthetic of the famous Wallace & Gromit animated shorts – that is, tongue-in-cheek quaintness in clay. Understated humor. Excellent writing and voiceovers. A goodly amount of character interaction with spunky neighbors in a town in northern England. (Miss Marple would feel right at home.) Environments are somewhat limited in scope.

Third person perspective, an interface that combines direct keyboard control with mouse-clicking on hotspots. A couple of timed challenges, many inventory puzzles, some dialog and text challenges. No sliders, mazes, sound or color based puzzles. A good, unobtrusive hint system. One minor graphical glitch.

Four save (bookmark) slots, plus an autosave feature. The episode took me about four hours to play through at a leisurely pace.

Aimed at the many fans of Wallace & Gromit, animal lovers, Anglophiles, tinkerers and closet romantics.


Wallace & Gromit in Muzzled! can be purchased via download at Telltale Games.

My Computer Specs:

Windows XP Professional

Pentium 2.80 GHz

2.00 GB RAM

Direct X 9.0c

512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX

SB X-Fi Audio

June, 2009

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