Full Throttle review

I first recall playing Full Throttle in primary school on an old mac; it was absolutely great then however I cannot recall ever playing through the entire game. It has been at least 13 long years since I last played this game.

Ben, just out of the dumpster and ready to kick some ass.

Ben, just out of the dumpster and ready to kick some ass.

I was visiting my regular game store and I saw 2 copies of Full Throttle on the shelf (yeah sometimes they just find crates of vintage stuff laying around). This game from 1995 is sitting on a shelf in 2009. Unopened. Sealed in plastic. The asking price was 30 USD so I just had to oblige. I purchased both copies–one sits on my shelf waiting to be opened never, and the other copy I opened.
It’s quite nice to open something that has just been sitting there for 14 years; it has a nice expensive smell to it. The pamphlets and slips of paper, although ultimately useless still posses some form of charm that cannot be found elsewhere (like the “send this in and get six free Duracell batteries” offer that came with my Virtual Boy). The box contains a survey, mini official player’s guide, a lucasarts promo booklet, a reference guide and a Jewel Case that has a small booklet inside it (along with the game obviously); these pieces of paper separate old games from new games, most new games don’t even come with a single piece of paper in the entire box, everything is a PDF that you can just search through. But this paper stuff is nice. It’s what makes me want a physical copy of the game.

Unfortunately this is a mac version of the game, so I had to copy the game files and after minimal fiddling around I got it running on ScummVM. The game starts with a brief rundown of the story.

The entire game world is actually a dystopian kind of world; everyone is out to get you. Evil suits, badass bikers, and a decent story to boot.

One of the first interactions you have with anyone in this game (in which you interact) is with a fat bubba barman; you have to use the P key to ‘punch’ him, which really just pulls him by his nose ring down to the bar. He gives up the keys to your bike instantly. Imagine seeing this as an 8 year old. Come to think of it, what kind of a primary school lets children play on a game in which you have to handle someone by a nose ring?

"You know what might look better on your nose?... The bar."

"You know what might look better on your nose?... The bar."

This is what this game is like. For a point and click the interaction is unique; you have a selection of keys (walk, examine, inventory, talk, punch and kick) which you have to use to go around the world and do what you need to do. You can either use the keys or just click and hold for the ‘action menu’. The action menu is quite well designed and although the keys are faster it is still nicely done.

Full Throttle Action menu

The action menu

Full Throttle inventory

Full Throttle inventory

The music for the game is provided by a real band, The Gone Jackals; it’s nice that the music isn’t too in your face and the subtle bass guitar notes here and there suit the barren American motorcycling landscape well in my opinion.

The audio and dialogue quality overall is good for an adventure game for its time. The box advertises movie quality sound and I can’t really see any reason to argue with that; in particular the recording quality of the dialogue stands above many other point and click adventure games.

As the game menus etc are replaced by ScummVM I will avoid commenting on them.

One of the novel features of the game comes about half way through; you have to beat the crap out of some other bikers. There are 4-5 different bikers during this situation and it is a nice dynamic touch that many other point and click games don’t really have.

Full Throttle fighting sequences

Full Throttle fighting sequences

Ben weilding a spikeball after defeating an enemy

Ben weilding a spikeball after defeating an enemy

Some of the stuff in the game is a bit far fetched to expect most people to discover. The controls and actions you are able to direct Ben with, whilst novel aren’t very straight forward in some situations.

Even though Ben’s motorcycle gang, The Polecats, is mentioned enough times it barely has any presence in the game.

A major shortcoming of the game is length–the quickest playthrough of the entire game was recorded at just under 17 minutes. Whilst you may argue that that is a speedrun there aren’t really that many locations in the game either; but what isn’t there in length is made up with by dialogue, gameplay and a solid story.

Overall, Full Throttle is a great, entertaining game.

I rate it


More links:

wikipedia: Full Throttle (video game)

Walkthrough: Full Throttle

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