Little Big Adventure (known in the US by the uninspired name of “Relentless”) is perhaps where my love for PC gaming truly started and one of the first games I completed. We got our first computer with Windows 95 a couple of years after this game first graced MS-DOS, and we had to quit Windows every time just to get it to run, but memories of this quirky little thing resonate to this day.
As the young Quetch named Twinsen, your first task is to escape an asylum [a “Qwetch” is an alien with a ponytail – Extraterrestrial Affairs Ed.] The asylum is operated by the tyrant Dr Funfrock, and Twinsen was placed there because he claimed to have prophetic dreams of liberation from Dr Funfrock’s regime. Naturally, the good doctor thought it best to lock him away.
You controlled Twinsen by performing actions based on four emotions: Normal allows you to talk and walk, Athletic makes you run and gives you a jump, Discrete has you crouching and sneaking around, and Aggressive lets you bound up to anything that moves and punch them in a rage. These emotions also affect a ball you get later, but at first all he has are his fists and any disguises he can use to escape detention.
The odds are stacked against him thanks to Clone teleport pods. One false move while in the asylum, or indeed many other locations, and someone will press a button to alert the clones. Cue a sequence where a blue elephant shows up and fires a homing bullet that will always hit you, no matter what. Eventually, the game does open up a bit, allowing for exploration of this isometric world, and even lets you fight back against various clones. But the first few moments are utterly oppressive, not least because of the many slaps Twinsen had to endure.