Take a series of stories by a best-selling author, a computer programmer and the voices of actors from classic British comedy series... What do you get? The first Discworld game (brought out first on IBM PC, then PlayStation), that's what!
What is Discworld?
The Discworld is a world created by fantasy and sci-fi author Terry Pratchett1, which is flat and travels on the backs of four giant elephants, which in turn stand upon the back of The Great A'Tuin, a turtle.
The game designers decided to take one of the most popular Discworld characters and create an insane point-and-click puzzle game...
Instead of taking the stories straight from the books, they combined elements of The Colour of Magic (starring Rincewind the Wizard, voiced by Eric Idle) with the plot of Guards! Guards!, a book in the Watch series of novels.
In the game, members of a cult call up a giant dragon and release it upon the city of Ankh-Morpork (for no apparent reason), leading the wizards of Unseen University (UU) to take up all of their power... and make Rincewind (ie you) search for it. The problem is, Rincewind is a coward and only has a chest that walks on dozens of tiny little legs for companion. He also has a hangover.
'But what about the other Discworld stars?' I hear you cry... Well have no fear, as many of your favourite characters have cameos, and are voiced2 by none other than Blackadder star Tony Robinson, former Doctor Who Jon Pertwee, impressionist Kate Robbins and Marion and Geoff star Rob Brydon, along with Eric Idle.
These characters include Rincewind, the Luggage, the faculty of UU, CMOT3 Dibbler, Nanny Ogg and her cookbook, the Patrician, Detritus (pre-Watch, though not mentioned in name), and let's not forget the Librarian and Death. Death is also good enough to try to convince Rincewind to make the occasional suicide attempt to make things easier for you.
You also get to see the how The Drum bar got its name 'Broken'... (Ok, so The Drum isn't a character, but fans want to know this kind of thing.)
The Game and its Graphics
Let's be honest. The game isn't really much of a game, as it is merely you controlling Rincewind and getting him to talk to the many, many characters. Along the way you need to use objects to progress through ridiculous puzzles where logic doesn't seem to exist, as you get an item that you should be able to use in a straight forward way, but get Rincewind's repetitive phrase 'That doesn't work!'.
For example, you need to catch a butterfly and you've got a net. Yet you can't catch it until you've put a frog in the mouth of the man that it's hovering over (who is sleeping).
The chances are that you'll need a guide to complete it, as the tasks are complicated and the game gets cruel when it brings in the fourth dimension of time, which creates some nasty paradoxes.
The important thing is that it is a Pratchett story, and contains his style and humour, though the animation is a little lame in the starting sequence ('Dragon! Dragon! Dragon! Dra-... Dragon! Dragon!') And as the graphics are sometimes rather pixelated, it is often difficult to identify a 'useful' object.
Rincewind's conversations come in five different styles of speech:
- The greeting (usually sarcastic)
- The question (usually sarcastic)
- The anger (somehow sarcastic)
- The sarcasm (not sure about this one)
- And the goodbye...
Overall, this is a great game with stupid puzzles and has all the Pratchett humour in pixel form. Pratchett was only credited for 'shouting at people', as he did not write the story himself - but did write the foreword to the instruction manual. Perfection (except for the mistakes)! Once you hear Eric Idle as Rincewind, you know this guy is Rincewind, much like you can picture John Cleese as Death after seeing him in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
After finally reaching the end, you'll demand a sequel... and they give you one!