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The Adventures Demo
(TMB Productions)


"Exciting Platform adventure for Up to Two Players!"

While Handy the Hippo, Grandpa and the Little Ball friend are travelling in the sea, they discover a mysterious and enchanting new land dead ahead. The trio make a stop on the island and take a quick look-around. In all the commotion, Grandpa disappeared to go looking for food!

Now Handy and the Little Ball have to Grandpa before he gets into a scuffle with the island's inhabitants, including flying birds and stingy parrots! It's going to be tough, but you gotta find out what happened to gramps!

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Despite high challenge levels, this is really the strength of The Adventures. A QB classic in terms of age, it's pretty clear that this is the first platform game by The Making Brothers to really take advantage of their graphics artist. The characters are distinct, and the gameplay is flickerless. What makes the graphics score average is the non-connectivity of the backgrounds and the simple but charming look of it all. There's very little to complain about here; it just looks average in style when compared to the high-end QB platformers.
Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Music is absent, but a Sound Blaster card is required for this game (it won't even start unless you have a compatible sound-card ready). That's because Handy the Hippo comes with a handful of sound effects that are slightly ahead of it's time. When jumping, you'll hear Handy go "Hop!" and you'll hear a flamboyant "Ouch!" when he's hit by the island's locals. It's pretty good programming, but without some music to counteract the sounds it all seems a little too high-pitched and cute.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vv
Average. On paper, the controls for The Adventures Demo seem ideal. But when you try out the game, you'll soon realize the problem with this platformer. The speed of The Adventures Demo is directly proportionate to the overall speed of your computer. If your computer is modern, this game will be playable but frustratingly quick. If your computer was made too far back into the past, then this game will be too sluggish. It's like you have to have the perfect computer for this particular game for it to run properly.

What does add to the gameplay is the unique feature of The Adventures demo to include two-player simultaneous support. One person can play Handy the Hippo while the other person plays The Little Ball. While this should have added to the gameplay drastically, there are few details in this two-player mode that hinder the gameplay. For example, if Handy dies you'll generally start the stage over. But if The Little Ball is left behind or he falls into a hole, Handy often reappears in between pillars, where he's forced to commit suicide. This is very awkward play.

That being said, The Adventures Demo is a straightforward left side-to-right side platform game, where you grab apples for life and basically dodge everything else. Because of the speed problems, the latter skill is much more difficult than it ought to be.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
While there are quite a few original characters (albeit the Spot-like Little Ball) and a great demo to compliment the storyline, it's an overdose of good story elements that actually bring the story score down. The introductory demo does a great job of introducing the game's plot the first time around, but unfortunately you have to watch this same, long demo everytime you replay the game.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
It's hard to build replay value when the controls are so aggravating. Timing jumps can be such a chore, and since you can't stomp enemies or fight them in any way that's really all you can do. What really helps add to the replay value though is the level select feature, which allows you to access all the levels at once. It may seem tempting at first to haul to the last level and try to beat the demo immediately, but you probably won't develop the skill needed to get through this platformer unless you start from the beginning and work your way up.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
(Very Good)
If there is one thing The Adventures Demo is really good at pulling off, it's putting an incredible amount of challenge in such medium-sized levels. Part of it is just in the distance between holes. You have to get the most distance out of your jumps each time, whether you're jumping over holes or dodging enemies. Failing to do is almost always lethal.

It took about six hours to get past all the levels offered by the game, and in that time key to it is focus. On a faster computer, The Adventures game can be especially tough since you have to leap at the last second and it doesn't help that the enemies are that much faster. The elevators in particular are especially tough.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
The bugs are probably what bring this maiden voyage down. Even when compared with the more modern efforts of QB programmers (and even the latest of TMB Production's titles), The Adventures demo had enjoyable graphics at best, and decent graphics at it's worst. If the game had more speed control, less collision glitches in the two-player mode, and a lot more game physics, The Adventures would have been a stunner. As it is though, The Adventures is technically clever but a little lackluster overall.

The Adventures Demo reviewed by QBShire

Players 1-2 players
Genre: Platform Game
Rating To solve: 6 hours Final Rating: 13/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
wThis game requires that you have a 100% Sound Blaster compatible card.
wTo play The Adventures Demo, unzip the file and run "".

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