Full Throttle Remembered

By John Walker on August 27th, 2008 at 1:43 pm.

Replay this game immediately.

I would like to publically declare my love for Full Throttle. Something very strange happened with history and opinion on that game – it was well received by critics, it was completely fantastic, it was Tim Schafer’s most mature writing (three years before Grim Fandango). And then somehow it became the black sheep of LucasArts’ output, condemned by false memories of being too short, and having awful arcade sequences throughout. Which just isn’t true! Certainly it was a shorter adventure compared to others in their catalogue, but it was such an astonishingly fine one. And the arcade bits? Pieces of piss, apart from one crappy section with the demo derby. Get over it! Restore Full Throttle to its rightful glory! And then check out this excellent piece from Adventure Classic Gaming, discussing the fate of the two aborted sequels with former LucasArts artist, Bill Tiller.

All your stupid memories are wrong. It was excellent.

LucasArts did seem to have a bit of a phase at the beginning of the decade, hellbent on killing off anything with a spark of imagination in order to focus on churning out dreadful Star Wars dross. Tiller provides some insight into those times, as well as going into excellent detail about what the first, almost unknown, sequel would have been about. Full Throttle: Payback was apparently going to be a straight point-and-click adventure, going deeper into hero, Ben’s life.

“The story line we wanted to be similar in them to FT1, so it revolved around a large corporation and the territorial governor concocting a plot to replace all paved highways with hover pads to help make the hover mini vans and family hover cars safer and faster. Of course, this plan didn’t sit well with the bikers and truckers, who were going to unit to fight this plot at a rally. The evil governor had secretly hired the Rotwheelers to assassinate Father Torque, the leader of this new alliance at the rally… So the first half the game Ben tries to stop the assassination, and the second half he teams up with a persistent undercover female reporter to bring the governor down and uncover his nefarious secret.”

Check out the rest of the interview/retrospective, here.

Thanks to Jonty.

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71 Comments »

  1. subedii says:

    Wonder if Telltale might be able to get the rights to Full Throttle someday.

    Or heck, anybody, it’s an awesome franchise just sitting there and LucasArts refuses to do anything with it.

  2. Binary Assassin says:

    The old Lucas adventure games are the games that give me the fondest memories of all the games I have ever played. From Maniac Mansion, to day of the tentacle, the Monkey Islands, Sam and Max… all of them. I am so disappointed there are no more. Lucas arts should stop pushing 50 star wars games a year and make a couple more of these… they do not realize how well they would sell. I installed them all on my pocket PC last year and finished them all again in my spare time… it was great. lol

  3. Martin Kingsley says:

    Agreed. Full Throttle blows my tiny mind even now.

  4. Okami says:

    LucasArts did seem to have a bit of a phase at the beginning of the decade, hellbent on killing off anything with a spark of imagination in order to focus on churning out dreadful Star Wars dross.

    A phase? Only at the beginning of the decade?

    So they stopped killing off anything with a spark of imagination in order to focus on churning out dreadful Star Wars dross? Or do you mean, that there’s nothing left with a spark of imagination to kill off for them?

  5. Ian says:

    I’ve heard excellent things about Full Throttle and yet have never played it. Perhaps this is my time to do so.

    Is the one linked in the article for use with ScummVM?

  6. ImperialCreed says:

    Full Throttle was the first LucasArts game I ever played (I was a late starter), and I love it to this day. Seeing what Telltale have done with Sam & Max (more miss than hit, sadly) I’d be wary of any resurrection on their part. Give the rights to Tim and Double Fine. They’re going to need something to do after Brutal Legend.

    Anyone else a fan of the soundtrack? I found it on iTunes ages ago and it’s still on my mp3 player. Absolute solid biker-band gold.

  7. The_B says:

    Okami: Now be fair, Lego Star Wars isn’t ‘dreadful Star Wars Dross’. It’s a Quite Good Star Wars game. Although granted, that’s more TT’s doing than LucasArts. But they did publish it, I suppose.

    And I remember my very first PC Gamer mag had a preview of Full Throttle 2 all that time ago. I still mourn its loss to this day, and maintain that the LucasArts adventure pack (with Sam & Max, The Dig, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango) was one of the best purchases I ever made. Certainly so in the adventure genre.

  8. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i’ve been planning to make a first person scumm game based loosley on full throttle for a while now, in my spare time, probably for the DS, i love it, it was the first PC game i owned, that and dark forces which was also brilliant!

  9. dartt says:

    Whenever I smell asphalt, I think of Full Throttle.

  10. Nero says:

    Oh I love this game as well. I would love to see something more from this, with Tim Schafer naturally. I doubt we’ll see it from Lucasarts since from the new releases coming from them hey hate the PC and loving the consoles.

  11. Yann Best says:

    Full Throttle was fantastic, particularly the ending (Ben doesn’t get the girl… because he’d rather stick to his bikes, thanks), and I have noticed that it’s been wallpapered over in the years following its released. I wonder how much of that is to do with the action sequences, and how much is to do with its mood: of the fondly remembered Lucasarts adventures, all bar Grim Fandango and Fate of Atlantis are clear-cut comedies (MI, DOTT, S&M), and FoA has the Indiana Jones effect in its favour while Grim Fandango has its unique stylings.

    Full Throttle, on the other hand, plays things relatively straight both in terms of its aesthetic and its plot, without tying into a popular pre-existing universe; all things which I can imagine helped people forget about/ignore it. Pretty much the same problems that The Dig faced, in fact (the difference being that The Dig was, in fact, a pretty uninspiring game). People just don’t want gruff, action-hero types in their point and click adventures – even if said character and adventure have an awful lot of quality under their skin.

  12. phil says:

    A fine game, though one marred by a change from the demo in which Ben would simply state “cool bike/door/fridge/dog/helicopter/whatever” when asked to describe something. Hearing him struggle though multi-syllable descriptions really pierced his biker cool.

  13. Meat Circus says:

    Box of Toy Bunnies + Minefield = One of the happiest moments in gaming.

    I recently replayed it on ScummVM, and was rather startled to discover that it is far better than I remember it. However, John, it *is* ridiculously short.

    Revisionism can’t make it any longer.

  14. Ginger Yellow says:

    I bought this about a year ago, having loved Grim Fandango but never played Full Throttle. Maybe I’m being really stupid, but I’m totally stuck at the bit with the rabbits and the minefield. I eventually caved and went to Gamefaqs, but even if I follow the instructions exactly I can’t get through. It’s really annoying me.

  15. Meat Circus says:

    @Ginger Yellow:

    You need the entire box of bunnies. One at a time will not get you across.

  16. Freelancepolice says:

    You know what would look better on your nose?

    the bar

  17. Subtle says:

    Full Throttle! I haven’t thought of that game for years! I remember playing it at age 16, and my first girlfriend being absolutely appalled by it for some reason. It was my first indication that girls and videogames usually don’t mix…
    Now I feel old. Thanks, RPS…

  18. Tim James says:

    The hour-long movie of all the story parts in this game was cool.

  19. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i used to love playing the knife hand game and just repeatedly jamming it in his hand and him going ouch and then at the end admitting he’s pretty bad at it, can’t remember it exactly cause it’s been about 10 years since i last played it but yeah that was awesome, that kick wall clicking machine puzzle is a bitch though!

  20. Max Cairnduff says:

    Fantastic game.

    Didn’t the bunnies require two boxes? I thought that actually rather undercut the comedy of the first bunny box battalion advancing.

  21. Darius K. says:

    The first thing I did when I got scummvm running on my Wii was play Full Throttle. Still awesome to this day.

  22. Tom says:

    Love it, along with all the others.
    Really should play the Monkey Islands some time – can’t believe I haven’t. Grim F remains my favourite though – it’s got an epic feel to it.
    Ugly Betty’s father is the man who voiced Manny by the by.

  23. zanbowser says:

    Is it telling that I have that track by the Gone Jackals on my mp3 player?

    “I thank tha Lo-ooo-worrrd each dayee… fur thee Apocalypse.”

    Best VG track ever, for my (meager) dollar.

  24. Ergates says:

    …and the action sequences really were terrible. Good game though.

    DOTT and Sam & Max (I’m not going to start talking about playing S&M!) are the only significant entries in the LucasArts catalogue I’ve not tried. I got them a while back but couldn’t get them to work properly. Are there any recent emulators that they’ll work with (including sound)?

  25. Tim James says:

    ScummVM doesn’t play those?

  26. Meat Circus says:

    @Ergates:

    ScummVM plays Sam and Max and DoTT perfectly.

    The odd thing is that the only two Lucasarts graphical adventures you haven’t played are the two widely regarded as being THE BEST.

  27. Yann Best says:

    DOTT certainly works perfectly in ScummVM, though S&M did have some problems last time I played it (the action/mini-game segments, mainly).

    Edit: gah, too slow. I’d hardly agree with S&M being THE BEST, though. I will agree it’s got popular appeal, mind, so perhaps it is ‘regarded’ as THE BEST (probably along with MI and/or GF – DOTT seems to be a little less popular than those, despite clearly, actually being the best Lucasarts adventure, so nyer).

  28. Ginger Yellow says:

    I’ve done it with two boxes many, many times and it still doesn’t clear a path all the way through.

  29. Rath says:

    Sequels to Full Throttle and Grim Fandango would make my day.

    Or, wonder of wonders – both in one. Ben actually dies at one point, and gets sent to the underworld as seen in Grim Fandango. Where Glottis is his Reaper/Travel Agent. Imagine the team they’d make, with the enthusiasm for fast machines and such. Then Ben gets back to the Land Of The Living somehow to right the wrongs, and so forth.

    Imagine the potential for Ghost Rider puns.

  30. Sal says:

    speaking of old Lucas Art games…X-Wing

  31. Max Cairnduff says:

    I released them bit by bit I think, then walked along the cleared path, then released some more, then walked along the further cleared path, etc.

    It’s actually not a particularly intuitive puzzle, but then one could say that of many adventure games.

  32. KruddMan says:

    Yeah! Full Throttle!
    http://www.kruddman.com/ft

    Full Throttle was incredibly influential for me. In themes/art/style/humor.
    I would much prefer it if Full Throttle remained dormant in sequel land unless it was picked up again by one of the original creators.

  33. Jay says:

    Preach the love, brother!

  34. Alex says:

    Right on, zanbowser. Ben’s still out there, chasin’ chitlins, whiskey and skirt.

  35. KruddMan says:

    “I thank tha Lo-ooo-worrrd each dayee… fur thee Apocalypse.”
    that song isn’t actually Gone Jackals it’s some band called Chitlins Whiskey and Skirt

  36. LionsPhil says:

    Oh dear Gods, no. Don’t let TellTale anywhere near this. They suck all the humour and cleverness out of everything they touch—and, to be honest, ISTR wincing at what FT2 preview stuff came out before it was cancelled.

    Needs moar cowbell Schafer. Unfortunately, Brutal Legend isn’t an adventure game, because “they’re dead”. Or, rather, “there haven’t been any good ones since 1998″.

  37. Dr. Quincy says:

    Unfortunately Full Throttle is just slightly too butch to work on the (whisper it) Nintendo DS version of ScummVM. Sigh!

  38. Charlie says:

    I really hope Telltale DON’T get hold of this franchise. It’s my favourite adventure and I really don’t find Telltale funny at all.

  39. Nick says:

    I dearly loved Full Throttle, but it was criminally short, despite what you may say!

    I liked Ben’s style of puzzle solving too (use ring on man’s nose)

  40. LionsPhil says:

    Seeing as we’ve somewhat of a “underappreciated adventure” theme going, why the heck do people have so much hate for Toonstruck? It may not be at the same heights as LucasArts’ high notes, but it’s no Limbo of the Lost.

    Also, Discworld Noir, which is easily as funny as Grim Fandango, because it has PTerry’s writing and spot-on voicework.

  41. James G says:

    I picked up Toonstruck for £2 in game about a year after it game out, and thought it was quite good fun. I must admit, I’ve not seen much hate for it, most people just end up thinking ‘Toonwhat?’

    ::Sigh:: I think I’m stuck in the past with respect to games, I loved graphic adventures, and still prefer strategic RPGs to action RPGs.

  42. Ted says:

    Do people remember how incredibly bad the Full Throttle sequel looked like it was going to be? The graphics were extremely cartoony, and it was going to be a button mashing fighting game instead of an adventure game. Thank god that fiasco was canned.

  43. CaptainJorge says:

    Great game. Damn shame LucasArts stopped being original in the last decade.

  44. LionsPhil says:

    Stuck in the past? My current games-to-play queue has the likes of System Shock, System Shock 2, Fallout 2, and Planescape Torment in it. First time through each. There’s nothing wrong with the past, when graphics were based on artistic skill, not pixel shader complexity, and people weren’t afriad of inventory screens.

    Still haven’t got anywhere near ascending in Nethack yet, either.

    In a desperate attempt to swerve back on topic, this thread needs more Yahztee.

  45. Ergates says:

    @All
    This was some time ago – I don’t think SCUMMVM was around then.
    I knew they were good, and I dearly wanted to play them but..all I got was KABOOM!
    Should still have the CDs in the loft somewhere – I’ll hoick them out at the weekend and look up SCUMMVM.

  46. hidden_7 says:

    The trick with the bunnies was to release them, then grab all of them before they could explode. Then just release them in a straight line. Letting them go all higgeldy-piggeldy would probably require more than one box, yeah.

    Also, yes, Full Throttle. Though, yeah, it was real short. Though most of the action scenes really were more puzzles than anything. You’re never going to make it through those scenes just actioning it up, and if you know what to do you really can get through em real quick.

  47. Jochen Scheisse says:

    It IS real short. A friend of mine and I decided to replay Full Throttle recently, and after about 3 hours of playing we were finished. We started Dark Corners of the Earth after that to end the evening with something. Anyway, still a great game.

  48. Angel Dust says:

    Awesome game and also my Dad’s favourite game ever. Developers could definitely tap into these types of characters and stories to lure older players in. My Dad saw me play all the other Lucasart adventures but it was the characters and tone of Full Throttle that actually interested him enough to play.
    Also I would like to nominate ‘The Dig’ for underappreciated adventure game too. The character development and voice acting is all top notch and the atmosphere of a truly alien world is well done. It also has one of the best game soundtracks I’ve ever heard.

  49. Ninelives says:

    POLECATS, ROLL OUT

  50. Bhlaab says:

    I kind of prefer the idea of there only being one Full Throttle