Have You Played… Full Throttle?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I haven’t, you see. Well, I played the demo years and years ago, and I watched the cutscenes-stitched-into-a-movie version not quite so many years ago, but I’m very conscious that this 1995-made, 2040-set adventure is the big blindspot in my Lucasarts knowledge. I’m also aware that some people hail it as the studio’s most grown-up and impressive-on-a-level-beyond-just-funny hour. Given this is Grim Fandango re-release date, it seems timely to look back and wonder if Tim Schafer’s earlier, more leathery work deserves similarly modernising treatment.

Of course, this tale of future motorcycle wars probably needs it a whole lot less, given its 2D nature doesn’t date it as badly as low-res 3D did Grim, and it had conventional point’n’clicker controls. It is badly in need of a digital re-release at the very least, however. Let’s hope that it’s still to come from GoG’s ongoing glut of exhumed Lucasarts titles.

I hope so. I really do want to play it properly at last. It’s that rarest of things – a Lucasarts game in which failure is possible (if only for a moment). Also, there’s punching. Lots and lots of punching.

So tell me: have you played Full Throttle? Would you do so again, if you could?

69 Comments

  1. Siimon says:

    Blew my little 12 year old mind. What an awesome game.

  2. amateurviking says:

    I don’t have anything.

  3. Geewhizbatman says:

    Yes, and it was amazing. Then it was terrible because my little brain couldn’t figure out a puzzle. The world ended. My father then found a walk through. I refused to use it because that’s “cheating.” Cave and use it…just that once…Rinse and repeat a few times on other puzzles….and bam. One of the first games I actually played from beginning to end (King’s Quest 6 being the only other one, if you didn’t count dos things like magic number carnival or whatever.)

    But yes, one must play it–or at least watch a full walk through like with DIG. There are so many amazing things that don’t show up in the cut scenes.

    Like bunnies–adorable, tragic bunnies.

  4. Blackrook says:

    “NOT WITH MY BOX OF BUNNIES!”

    That brings back memories.

  5. shinygerbil says:

    Wagner will never be the same again.

  6. KValthaliondil says:

    I miss this game very much. As a young teen back in the day, this was one of my favorite games. It told a great story, had Mark Hamill, and had some kick ass motorcycles in it. When most people think of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, they think of Apocalypse Now… I think of this game.

  7. Greg Noe says:

    Whenever I smell asphalt, I think of Maureen.

  8. unitled says:

    My favourite… easter egg? I suppose? in a game ever is what happens when you use the box of bunnies on the front of the truck right at the end. And also the fact that that is a thing you can write about a game.

    • Jackablade says:

      I liked the one where if you bug the guy with the knife in the bar enough, he’ll eventually let you play the knifey stabby between the fingers game.

  9. John O says:

    I remember it being quite short. Disappointingly so. I did very much like what was there.

    • dskzero says:

      That was the common complaint back then, but it was still brilliant. I think it might have been short but it was so well written it did not bother me.

      • John O says:

        I guess it’s a good thing if a game being too short is disappointing. I put way too many hours into Dragon Age 3 and in the end i was too disappointed to finish the damn thing. Damned “hit monster, receive sparkles” machine.

    • Shakes999 says:

      Thats cause the entire middle of the game was filler if I recall. I don’t remember exactly but you hit a point a few hours in and then you just keep having to do motorcycle fights. The beginning and end were fantastic.

      • LionsPhil says:

        They’re a relatively small part of it, and are kinda a puzzle in disguise as a combat minigame. It’s all about weapon selection.

        • Giuseppe says:

          This was the only part of the game I didn’t really enjoy. However once you figure out what weapon to use on which biker, the ‘combat’ becomes trivial.

          Other than that, the game is great fun. Too bad it’s such a short game.

          • somnolentsurfer says:

            I think that’s the thing that’s most frustrating. They look like action sequences, but they’re not really. The one at the end is especially terrible.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      When I replayed, and finally finished, it last year it did seem kinda short. But then I’d been stuck on it for the best part of ten years, so I guess I got plenty of play time out of it.

      It’s probably fairly comparable to Broken Age act 1 in length, though it is harder in places. And with some horribly frustrating ‘action’ sequences.

  10. piedpiper says:

    I played and finished it this summer. It’s funny and smart but i can’t say this is a real must play as I can say about Grim Fandango. It didn’t really clicked with me though I got some pleasure when I was playing it.

  11. Lars Westergren says:

    > I haven’t, you see.

    *monocle pop*

    I played, and definitely would replay it. But mainly for the music, the setting, the story and the great characters. The action sequences were not that good, and once you remove them you are left with a good, but very short, point & click adventure game.

    It was neat that some of the lateral thinking typical of adventure games required the realization that you played a big burly biker. When confronted with a locked door, many like me probably started searching for a key, a lockpick, or a paper to slide under the door, but the solution turned out to be “use foot on door”.

    • K_Sezegedin says:

      Yeah that’s what was most interesting about the game to me, at least inititally.

      After spending so much time with guybrush, bernard and roger wilco it was very novel you could solve puzzles simply by smacking someone/something.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    You know what might look better on your nose?

  13. Continuum says:

    Eh, Emmit’s not an “I’m ok, you’re ok” sort of guy.

  14. Continuum says:

    My wife and I freaking loved this game. Yes, the puzzles were obtuse, as is common in old adventure games. But the animation, characters, attitude, and one-liners were just epic. Still quoting it 20 years later.

    • amateurviking says:

      Ben’s face when he brings back a bike part to Maureen.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      There are a surprising number of occasions in life when the most appropriate thing to say is ‘I’m not putting my lips on that.’

      And an even great number of people who will give you odd looks when you do.

  15. Shazbut says:

    It’s brilliant. Probably the Fourth Best Adventure Game Ever

  16. Scrape Wander says:

    Blew my mind when I was younger, replayed it on SCUMM VM a few years ago and thought it aged very, very well. It’s surprisingly short for a LucasArts game, but rich with strong characters, a very bizarre and anachronistic world, and some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Incredibly, it also has real “bad-ass” moments which, again, are rare for LucasArts titles.

    I’m firmly in the love-it camp on this, but I recall that at the time and to this day many people call it one of LucasArts lesser games. I definitely think that some of its spirit seeped into Brutal Legend, though. And the soundtrack kicked ass – to my memory, the Gone Jackals become a kind of touring-with-LucasArts type of band.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    Funny you all complain about the puzzles, when the game was considered “too easy” when it was released. It just demands a little attention from you.

    I think it is a sweet little game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Except for that one bit where you have to kick a wall.

      • somnolentsurfer says:

        Oh yeah, I thought I’d eventually beaten it fair and square, but I’d forgotten about that part. I did use a walkthrough for that.

      • K_Sezegedin says:

        The demo derby was weird too, – Still not sure exactly what happened there. So you disable cars, and push them to the butt-end of a ramp in order to…heighten the ramp? That makes no sense.

        Maybe i’m not remembering it correctly.

  18. Jakkar says:

    My favourite. So much more satisfying, more interesting than Monkey Island or DotT. This, and Grim Fandango are the masterworks of puzzle-adventuring.

  19. Jimbo says:

    Grim Fandango was the pinnacle of the genre, but Full Throttle wasn’t far off.

  20. LionsPhil says:

    its 2D nature doesn’t date it as badly as low-res 3D did Grim

    No kidding. The 2D art and animation in this game is beautiful and would need as much skill, love and, frankly, inflation-adjusted money thrown as it as originally to do it justice.

    Also, the voice acting contains Mark Hamill, so you’d better damn well keep that. And the guy who played Ben, notable for doing a gravelly biker voice that sounded calm and natural, is sadly dead.

    • welverin says:

      The VO is one thing that wouldn’t need to be replaced, so need to worry about that..

  21. elder_pegasus says:

    Now have the soundtrack stuck in my head again. Brilliant game.

    Would probably be fine with just a compatibility update, hard to remaster without losing the character.

    Sequel would be good too, although I have a nasty feeling Ben’s voice actor died?

  22. captain nemo says:

    The ‘Gone Jackals’ title track :D

  23. deiseach says:

    My momma’s face has dripped down into the dirt.

    • Jackablade says:

      But I’m still chasin’… chittlins, whiskey and skirt.

  24. kalirion says:

    I played it back in in the day, but I don’t know if I would do it again for the simple reason of too many games I haven’t played yet vying for my attention.

  25. Darth Grabass says:

    At the time (I’m old), I was disappointed by the Lucasarts adventure games. They seemed too mainstream and obvious compared to games like Gadget, The Dark Eye, and even Bad Day on the Midway. Those are forgotten gems that are begging for rediscovery, so it’s funny to see the AAA games of the era being touted as lost classics.

    • Emeraude says:

      Are we talking about the Poe inspired Dark Eye ?

      Really loved that one.

      Should go dig my copy. Been too long, and I have hours to spare. Loved the mood of that one. Thanks for the reminder.

      • DrMcCoy says:

        The scary part about The Dark Eye is that it’s all done in Macromedia Director 4.0 (and Quicktime videos).

      • Darth Grabass says:

        Yep, that’s the one. I also love that it’s a completely forgotten footnote in William S Burroughs’ cv. Hearing him read Poe is wonderful. I can’t read Annabel Lee without hearing his voice in my head. And I haven’t played the game in 20 years.

  26. Michael Fogg says:

    I thank the Lord each day for the Apocalypse

  27. Spacewalk says:

    I thing that remember the most about FF is the demolition derby part being such bullshit a key combination was coded in that let you skip it.

  28. Turkey says:

    Not my favorite Lucas Arts adventure game, but still amazing.

  29. drewski says:

    I kinda bounced off it. The dialogue has some really funny lines, obviously, but I found the rest of the game fairly tedious.

    Not a patch on Grim Fandango, and I probably even prefer the whimsy of the Monkey Islands.

  30. It's not me it's you says:

    I loved this game so much when it came out. I replayed it somewhat recently (last few years) and it held up beautifully.

    Such amazing atmosphere. Wonderful voice cast. Gorgeous 2D animations (the 3D pre-rendered stuff obviously looks a bit dated).

    Sure it was short and I breezed through it but it felt complete.

    Also, one of the best love stories in gaming?

  31. Premium User Badge

    Phasma Felis says:

    There’s a bit where you’re supposed to retrieve a thing from the mysterious Cavefish bikers, which involves finding their tunnel to their secret hideout. You proceed down the tunnel a little ways and find the thing you’re after, just in front of the point where the tunnel opens out into into a vast cavern, revealing the Cavefish hideout: a massive underground fortress. You can throw a rock at it and find that the entire structure is protected by a bloody force field. And then you…take the thing and leave, and never come back.

    I wonder if there was some cut content there, or it was supposed to be a sequel hook, or they just felt like throwing something huge and unexplained in there for kicks.

    • deiseach says:

      Not quite the full story. The Cavefish chased you for the ‘thing’ and you had to use the thing to aid your escape. It was an exasperating puzzle because you couldn’t move on until you solved it and there was little in the way of content around it to keep you amused while trying to work it out, but it was perfectly logical with no red herrings. A typical Lucasarts puzzle.

  32. phlebas says:

    The puzzle getting into the junkyard remains one of my favourites ever. Lovely little bit of lateral thinking.

  33. Churba says:

    Sadly, even with a remake, one vitally important thing would be missing – Roy Conrad, the voice of Ben, passed away in 2002. It just wouldn’t be quite the same, if Ben sounded like every other male lead in the industry. So basically Nolan North, Troy Baker, Steve Blum and Liam O’Brien.

  34. Daniel Klein says:

    Fuck, this game rocked my young mind. At 15, I was just discovering that I had a taste in music, and that it slanted heavily toward metal and hard rock, and this game was everything that was cool about that.

    Yeah, it was a superficial experience far as adventure games go. It was barely “click here to see the next scene”. But it had action sequences of motorbike battles, and it had that impossibly cool song with the chorus of “I thank the looooOOOOooOOOOooord each day for the apocalypse”.

    (Folks are mostly disfigured or dead / but sugar I won’t let it go to my head / my mamma’s face has dripped down into the dirt)

    In short, the best game in which I woke up in a dumpster, ever.

  35. Grey_Ghost says:

    I think this game forced me to finally upgrade my CD-ROM drive. As I recall it didn’t like my old MediaVision drive… I think.