There’s plenty to appreciate in Full Throttle Remastered even if you didn’t play the original back when it was released by LucasArts in 1995. It’s a darkly humorous adventure set in a Wild West-like near future, where the last cowboys (biker gangs) are struggling to stay saddled before the march of encroaching technology (hover cars). A clean new art style and remixed sound make this old hog feel refreshed, although with its questionable puzzle logic and technical issues Full Throttle definitely still feels like a 22-year-old adventure game.
Our protagonist, Ben, is the John Wayne of the future: tough as nails but always ready with a quip loaded in the chamber when that’s what the moment requires. With a colorful cast of supporting characters he embarks on a gritty quest for vengeance and salvation, one in which he’ll be knocked off his bike countless times, purposely light himself on fire, and throw concentrated poop in other bikers’ faces.
As a classic point-and-click adventure, Full Throttle mostly involves selecting objects around static environments and telling Ben to interact with them using his eyes, mouth, hands, or feet. It’s a unique system that gives you interesting options without feeling overwhelming.
It’s testament to Tim Schafer’s skillful writing that we get to know Ben well.
It’s often funny, as well. “Something tells me the bridge is out,” Ben mutters as you direct him to examine a bridge that, moments earlier, you witnessed explode in a dramatic fireball. It’s testament to Tim Schafer’s skillful writing that in addition to the humor you get to know Ben pretty well over what really amounts to a pretty short game, at around six hours. And that includes time spent developing excellent side characters like Maureen the mechanic and the dastardly Corley Motors executive, Ripburger.
It all goes down with a great, clean-looking new art style and totally remastered sound. If you’re a Full Throttle fan already you won’t want to miss Remastered for that reason alone, especially because you can easily see exactly how faithful any given frame is by switching back to the old graphics and sound with the press of a button. There’s a weird satisfaction in doing so, and you might find yourself flicking between the old and new styles frequently just to see how far we’ve come since the days of gigantic pixels. That also makes it evident how vastly the sound has been improved, from the quality of Full Throttle’s original songs (get ready to have one or two of those stuck in your head) to the new mix that thrusts the dialogue by skilled voice actors like Mark Hamill and Roy Conrad into the forefront where it belongs.
It could have used some technical polish, though. Although it no longer looks or sounds as old as it is, Full Throttle Remastered includes stuttering scene transitions and severe frame rate drops during action sequences I didn’t expect to see in a 2D-animated game.
Many puzzles are well designed, but just as many make absolutely no sense.
Those issues are irritating but are easy enough to look past if you’ve got the gumption and the grit to see the story through to the end. But if there is one thing that will stand in the way of your riding off into the sunset, it’s the ridiculously unintuitive “adventure game logic” that marked so many old LucasArts adventures. Many of Full Throttle’s puzzles are well designed and thoughtful, but just as many make absolutely no sense, like one where you have to steal multiple boxes of mechanical bunnies that keep magically reappearing every time you screw it up. Those require either a big time investment in trial-and-error or a quick trip to an online guide for a spoilery answer. If you haven’t played Full Throttle before and are determined to see the credits roll on Remastered, don’t be ashamed to look some solutions up, and don’t be surprised when your reaction is less “Ohhh!” and more “Huh?” Ben also gets in high-speed highway duels, clumsy action scenes that have aged poorly despite revamped controls for the Remastered edition.
On the other hand, Full Throttle rewards you for paying attention to everything that’s going on. This world is full of tiny details, many of which become important long after they’re introduced. It would be good to remember, for example, that the Cavefish, a rival biker gang, navigate by the reflective bumps in the road because the helmets they wear make them otherwise blind. That’s both a good world detail and one aspect of a puzzle solution later, which is part of Full Throttle’s biggest strength.
Full Throttle: Remastered
Get your helmet. Get your boots on and hold on tight cause it’s time to ride at Full Throttle!
On PlayStation 4
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Full Throttle Remastered mostly succeeds on two fronts: As a fresh way to revisit an old classic, and as the ideal entry point for players who haven’t yet smacked rival bikers with a two-by-four on the Mine Road or figured out the combination to Old Man Corley’s safe. There are a couple of sticking points for both old and new players, including some technical issues and (especially for the latter) that questionable “adventure game logic” which is anything but logical. Nevertheless, there’s never been a better time to hit the open road with Ben and his gang.