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Review: Time Gentlemen, Please! (Zombie Cow Studios)

JULY 1, 2009

Adventure games are a lost art these days. Not to sound like an old man, but they just don't make them like they used to. I can't say I particularly enjoyed the more recent outings of a certain dog and rabbit (or any of Telltale's recent works to be perfectly honest) and nothing else has really caught my attention.

Time Gentlemen, Please!, the sequel to Ben There, Dan That, is not only the best adventure game I've played in a very long time - it is one of the best adventure games I've played. Ever. And it's $5.

In general, I don't usually laugh out loud at games. It's not a rule of mine - I just find the majority of gaming humour will at most achieve a grin from me. When I say that Zombie Cow Studios caused me to chuckle on numerous occasions, I must point out the bias; Time Gentlemen, Please! is written in a very British manner and, since my heritage aligns, I in turn adored the humour. It is incredibly British, with a mix of witty banter, silly animations and hilarious facial expressions.

But seriously, have you seen the plot? After accidently wiping out the whole human race, hero Ben and his sidekick Dan go back in time to stop coathangers being invented and, in turn, allow Hitler to take over the world with his army of Nazi dinosaurs. Clearly the game is aimed at an adult audience and contains multiple swears, literal toilet humour and general rudeness.

While the laughs set a high standard, the puzzles follow suit superbly. The game features lots of going backwards and forwards through time, allowing for the player to change things in the past to affect the future. It's a tried-and-tested mechanic, but Zombie Cow pull it off well and, in some cases, have devised some pretty unique scenarios (for example, being able to see both the past and present on either side of the screen).

Another stand-out feature of the game is the fact that nearly every item can be used with every other item and yield a different line or conversation from our heroes. The sheer quantity (and quality) of dialogue is astounding - rarely did I encounter a generic 'I don't want to use that with that' line. This incredible effort alone is worth the $5 asking price.

This becomes even more impressive when you factor in the length of the adventure. I'm pretty bad at adventure games (most of the time my brain can't figure out the most obvious of puzzles) so when I say that it took me a week to complete, this time-scale may not be the best to go off. Let's put it this way - it's not short.

What it boils down to is this - if you're an adventure games fan, this is a must-buy. If you play the occasional adventure game, this is your occasional must-buy. For everyone else, there's a demo to scope out. If you're still not convinced, give the completely free Ben There, Dan That a playthrough and see if that helps make your mind up.

Did I mention the Nazi dinosaurs?

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