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Freeware Garden: Comedy Quest

A different kind of killing

If it weren't for the obviously spoileriffic title, I'd have loved to present you with a riddle. A riddle that'd probably go a bit like this: "What looks like an early Sierra adventure, plays like a late Sierra adventure, smells a bit of Lucasarts and does stand up comedy?" I am certain that nobody would have cried "Comedy Quest!" to that and that'd be sad. Hence, this post's title and, frankly, this very post itself.

Now, you see, you know.

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You may even have guessed that Comedy Quest is a freeware, AGS-powered adventure with game a traditional interface and you'd be absolutely right. It is. It is also a game about being an aspiring standup comedian trying to make it big(-ish), and thus light-hearted, inoffensively offensive and, twice, downright funny. By being of a humorous nature, Comedy Quest also manages to ensure its typically paranoid puzzles do not feel out of place; not that they are nonsensical or demand demented applications of lateral thinking. Far from it, but they do follow that strange adventure game logic.

It's a glamorous life, it is.

All the puzzles are easy and feel integral to the whimsical plot. What's especially interesting is how you (well, in-game-you) collect and tell jokes, and how intuitive, clever and correct that process feels. It's something both seasoned adventurers and genre detractors will appreciate.

Also, I must admit I love its graphics. They are old-fashioned, yet also colourful and charming in an albeit garish way, consistently out of proportion, and with too-wrong a perspective to have ever made it into any point-and-clicker of the classic era. I like that. When coupled with the emphatically unprofessional but superbly appropriate voice over (possibly recorded in a cupboard), Comedy Quest sounds and looks exactly like the games I imagined would appear after reading the scratchware manifesto.

Rather surprisingly it's a big game too, at least by freeware standards. Then again, you don't get to become a modestly successful comedian by working a single club.

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