Never has the fallibility of memory been clearer than when revisiting video games from the past. It can be surprising just how big the gulf between recollection and reality can be, leaving you to wonder if your brain just might be responsible for some of the greatest video game remasters of all time. As with last year's re-release of Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle Remastered represents another chance to reconcile memory and reality, and if you're unfamiliar with this classic LucasArts point-and-click adventure, it also happens to be the best way to experience a title that holds up surprisingly well in an era where episodic Telltale adventures are king.
Taking on the role of Ben Throttle – leader of the Polecats biker gang – you'll find yourself embroiled in a noir story of murder and betrayal that could threaten the very future of motorbikes. The setting, plot, and characters in Full Throttle are perhaps its biggest strength, and the world it transports you to feels reminiscent of that in the very first Mad Max film, offering up a fascinating version of America that – while still clearly functioning – has a pervading feel of lawlessness to it. It also cleverly avoids explaining too many aspects of its world, never feeling the need to delve into lengthy exposition, and leaving your imagination to run wild while it concentrates on delivering its tightly paced story.
As you'd expect from a game designed and written by the Tim Schafer – the man behind titles such as Grim Fandango and Psychonauts – it's full of cleverly written, interesting characters, who in-turn are brought to life by a strong cast of top-notch voice-actors to deliver a tale that has managed to stand the test of time surprisingly well.
Despite these strengths, though, there were some LucasArts fans who were ultimately disappointed by Full Throttle when it originally came out. This was a time when you'd reasonably expect to be picking up dozens of items in an adventure game in order to solve obtuse puzzles that would stump you for hours, all because you struggled to make some bizarre leaps of logic. And in that light some felt Full Throttle focus on narrative was ultimately short changing the player.
Coming back to it now it's clear there was a cinematic drive to Full Throttle which manifested itself in a tightly paced story that just wasn't being offered by its peers. It doesn't want you to get bogged down working out that you need to use the monkey to turn off the water, and instead presents you with a convoy of focused, self-contained puzzles that have subtly signposted solutions that are fun to find – especially when it involves getting Ben to kick something really hard.
While this more streamlined approach to the puzzle design will help it resonate well with a modern audience, it does still stumble during a couple of poorly controlling vehicle combat sections that crop up during its four to five hour story. From a video game preservation point of view it's great that these sections return, warts and all, but given the number of quality of life improvements added to this remaster – such as being able to highlight interactive parts of each environment to avoid having to do too much pixel hunting – it would have been nice to see a more modern spin that could have made these parts of the experience more palatable as well.
After all, a lot of work's been put into this remaster to update pretty much anything that didn't involve messing around with the fundamental gameplay. Do you want fully remastered audio, including the songs provided for the game by obscure Californian rock outfit The Gone Jackals? You got it. Do you want a complete overhaul of the graphics, with the option to switch on the fly back to the original 4:3 pixel art? That's here as well, and boy do the jazzed up visuals look nice. In fact, anyone unfamiliar with the game could easily think this was a newly released title, if only it wasn't for the aforementioned vehicle sections, and the occasional visual mix of 3D vehicle models and 2D art that reveal its mid-nineties origins.
As was the case with developer Double Fine's previous remasters of both Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle, this release is also a treasure trove of Full Throttle history. Offering up a chance to see a raft of concept art, as well as listen to a commentary with select members of the development team, it provides a frequently fascinating insight into the creative process. It's all great stuff that'll be of interest to anyone curious about how Full Throttle came about, and helps elevate the quality of this remaster to a level far above the procession of pedestrian re-releases that have infested this console generation.
Whether you're looking to revisit a title from the heyday of the point-and-click adventure or coming to Full Throttle for the first time to see just why gamers of a certain age keep banging on about it, Full Throttle Remastered is the LucasArts adventure that feels most comfortable in the present day. With a focus on characters and story over complex puzzles, it feels like a premonition of the direction adventure games were to take over the next two decades, and it's a pleasure to see it get a new coat of paint and take to the road for one last ride.
@AlexStinton Great review. After I finish up Broken Age I will be looking to pick this one up. I never player this so I hope it's good like Broken Age.
That's a 9/10 to all three of these remastered Tim Schafer titles by the way. I wonder if they'll put out a triple pack at any point?
This is exactly what I was hoping to hear. Thanks for the great writeup!
@get2sammyb Already have other tim schafer adventure games on ps4 but if they release triple pack with steelcase and artbook I will buy it for collection's sake
This is one of my favourite old adventure games, finished this remaster in one sitting the other day.
Full Throttle also has one of the most awesome intros ever!
Now waiting for The Dig...if there's any chance for that ?
Hoping this is a future PS+ title .
Fantastic game back in 1995. And after just finishing it day i got this, as i still remember the solutions to all the puzzles as i played this game so many times when it was first released , it just brought back so many good memories...
Also this game is quick easy 100% platinum for trophy hunter's...
@Tasuki Thanks! Full Throttle is one of my favourite adventure games of the era and it's well worth your time. It does make me sad we never saw any of the sequels that were in development though.
Also, as @iv-tecman points out this is a really easy platinum trophy.
I recall full throttle being too easy and paid £29.99 for the game at original release and felt ripped off!
@themcnoisy Ha! There's a paragraph in my review talking about people just like you. Thanks for proving my point.
@AlexStinton That resonated with me, I mean when Swos and Dungeon Master were cheaper with way more game play and £29.99 was a ton of money then I felt conned. Full throttle was over too quickly.
PS4..... land of the re-mastered/re-make/re-hash Playstation has always stood as the hub for everything is a sequel but this is getting ridiculous now.
Should probably expect The Last of Us re-re-mastered next year now.
@DESS-M-8 It's a real shame no new games are released theses days. Just remasters that we're forced to play.
@naruball what am I waiting for?
@AlexStinton How long did it take you to get the Plat Alex?
@DESS-M-8 to be fair it's been how many years since full throttle released? 20 years if not more, I'm pretty sure I was doing mock exams of some description in school when this originally released and I'm 36 now. So that's fair game imo. I'm all for remasters, especially classic legacy games, as long as we get new IP in between.
Can't wait to play this - as a console player back in the 90s this was one of those titles that my PC gaming friends always used to show off, and I absolutely loved watching them play through the opening hours. Very excited about playing this for myself at long last, even if it took me 22 years to get around to it...
@themcnoisy No more than 5-6 hours, though, some of the trophies can be missed so I'd recommend creating plenty of manual saves so you can easily rollback and get the ones you skipped.
@themcnoisy I'm not saying they're a bad idea. I'm saying when it is ALL the time it just shows the emerging "talent" are nowhere near as creative as the last generation of developers
Given that Broken Age, Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle quickly came to Plus, it's quite tempting to wait to play this one for free. No guarantees mind you.
@get2sammyb my thoughts exactly. I would love a triple pack on vita. Have just started full throttle for the first time. Enjoying so far. I missed this one during the golden age of point and click adventures (monkey island, day of the tentacle and discworld being my jams at the time) so looking forward to this
I absolutely love Grim Fandango but I thought Day of the Tentacle was a bit rubbish. This however I'm probably gonna buy now and smash straight through it.
Telltale king ?
In sales maybe, but that's it Their " games" are rather rubbish otherwise what with all that interactivity and choice.
@themcnoisy yeah totally agree. When I played the original I was shocked how quickly it was over. Will avoid.
I saw a live stream recently where Tim Schafer took a pre-release look at the game. I asked about a physical triple pack in the live chat and he said: "People want a physical release... Yeah, rights are tricky."
So I don't know if a PS4 collection is in the stars for us.
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