The Adventures of Fatman
Release date: 05/2003
Game language: Englisch
A review by slydos 31st May 2003
"The Adventures of Fatman" is a classic 3rd-person comic-style adventure game by independent adventure developer Socko, more exactly said, the work of Michael Doak. To come to the point, who likes humorous adventure entertainment in the style of LucasArts or Sierra, shouldn't miss this game. Read here, what it is about:
Fatman is an unemployed, fat-bellied anti-hero in skintight costume and spends the time in his 'Fatcave' with eating, drinking, watching TV and waiting for his big, heroic mission. When his speaking computer actually reports about an explosion in the Acne Labs, the tired hero takes the whole matter not very seriously, states that tomorrow is still time for it and prefers to watch the Captain Caveman Show on TV.
Actually we already know as spectators that a group of dangerous industrial criminals is at work here and that the sabotage has caused another incident: the explosion of the poisonous substances mutated the author into the invincible 'Toxicman', who wants to control the city and then the whole world...
The next day Fatman sets off to the devastated labs and we accompany him.
"Fatman" comes on 1 CDROM and can easily be installed under Windows. In the setup of the AGS game (Adventure Game Studio by Chris Jones) one can adjust some settings for screen resolution and sound (e.g. to change to WaveOut device, if the sound should not function). After the installation we find a link to the homepage and also the English-language manual in the Windows menu.
Before the intro begins you are asked, in which mode you want to start the game: 'Easy' or 'Hard'. The puzzles remain the same, but in the Easy mode there are hints during the game, if you don't get ahead for some time, and in addition you get the possibility to 'Retry' the game from the point before our hero died, which often happens suddenly.
The 3rd-person-game "Fatman" is totally mouse-controlled. The screen is devided into 3 parts: below the main action screen we find an interaction bar, which accommodates the inventory on the right side. The inventory only shows 4 objects in each case, but is scrollable.
On the left side of the interaction bar you find clickable action verbs: Walk, Look, Use, Speak and Select inventory objects. These verbs can likewise be selected with the right mouse button, we can watch this in a text line. Below the verbs we find buttons for saving (only 6 savegames with a small picture), loading, exiting and for the starting menu.
The cursor does not change its shape - so we must have always an eye on the descriptions in the text line, especially when searching for hotspots. We can also examine the collected inventory objects closer, change and combine them, what is a completely special attraction of this game.
A word about the hotspots: there are a lot of them and not only useful ones for the continuation of the game. There is a comment to nearly each object or area, be it a thrown away cigarette or a torn off piece of wallpaper. Likewise to all our actions there is a reaction, may they be wrong or right - the comment proves that the programmer expected it.
There may be small problems at the beginning with the controls of Fatman. Often just another verb than "Walk" is selected, and you try in vain to move around with mouse-clicks. In addition the scene exits are not graphically marked, so you have to search a little bit sometimes.
Not supereasy but nevertheless an interface very much succeeded, quickly to cope with.
The 2D graphics are in the old Sierra/LucasArts comic style. Many well drawn details can be discoverd in a considerable number of scenes. Beside Fatcave and the crime scene, we visit Rent A Wreck, Burrito Barn, shops, backyards and others with the 'Fatmobil'. Besides there is a large number of very unusual and different NPCs, everyone a character for him-/herself. Fatman can talk with nearly all of them and the conversations and comments are funny, appropriate and not too long. The conversations in the multiple-choice-style are part of the puzzle design. It is advisable to speak repeatedly to characters since there are new aspects again and again.
Special praise must be expressed for the excellent music of Mark Lovegrove, which particularly contributes to the quality and atmosphere of "Fatman" beside the good sound effects. There are reminiscences to the well-known Batman theme and here and there also to the exciting X-Files music. Also respectable the speech - even if there are no professional speakers. Great the commentator of the game.
The puzzles in this relative linear adventure game are mainly object- or dialogue-related and excellently integrated into the story. They are very imaginative and will give you the one or other night to think. But one can solve them quite logically and by familiarizing oneself with the story. There is also a time-dependent task, which however - if you paid close attention - doesn't need too many attempts. Fatman can die in many places and often unexpectedly. If you play in the 'Hard' mode, then you should save frequently.
Each time, you find an object or get an important information, your always visible score increases. This well-known feature shows us always the excact progress.
A super comic-style adventure for the whole family with many funny details and allusions. Michael Doaks fine humor often leaves you smiling and is not exaggerated. Somehow it fits also, that I finished the game with 107 of 103 possible points! An adventure game that simply makes fun and which you really shouldn't miss, if you're not just an excluding fan of 1st-person graphic-stressed games. Approx. 14-15 hours you'll need to play it in the 'Hard' mode. I can only hope that Michael Doak will give us more adventures of Fatman or others.
Rating: 78 %
Adventure-Archiv rating system:
80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable 70% - 79% good game, recommandable 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable) 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only) 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- Pentium 100 MHz
- Windows 95/98/ 2000/ME/XP
- 32 MB RAM
- 320 x 200 VGA screen
- DirectX-compatible sound cards
- 247 MB free space on hard disk
- Windows-compatible mouse
- Windows XP
- P IV 1,6 GHz
- 512 MB RAM
- 16x DVD-ROM (Artec WRA-A40)
- nVidia GeForce 2MX400 64 MB graphic card
- Sound card DirectX-compatible
Fatcave - Fatman's headquarters
You travel by Fatmobil to various locations
The crime scene is guarded
It can be over faster than you think
There are many useful things in this shop
A job at the pizzaria brings some money
Fatman has to buy new clothes
Searching for clues
The house of the perpetrator
Fatman once again has done it