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Edna & Harvey: The Breakout (PC)
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While being something of a niche concept these days, there was a time back in the early 90′s where Point & Click adventures were all the rage. On the Amiga 500 alone, I had both the Monkey Islands, Zak MacKrackren, Leisure Suit Larry, Police Quest, Beneath A Steel Sky and Maniac Mansion and can happily boast completing all of them. Yes, I know. I had a pretty sad childhood. Point & Clicks pretty much vanished towards the mid nineties with the advent of First Person Shooters (Probably off playing Doom i bet) and you could be hard pressed to find someone under 25 that even remembers them.

That is until now. The German based Daedalic Entertainment and Lace Mamba have deemed fit for a revival with the release of Edna & Harvey: The Breakout.

The premise is this; You play as Edna who wakes up in a padded cell with no memory of how she got there in the first place. She feels like she has been falsely imprisoned and her talking stuffed rabbit (Harvey) agrees. The two of them begin to hatch a plan to restore her memories and escape the asylum. All with the cunning use of the tools such as ‘Look At..’, ‘ Pick Up..’, ‘Talk To..’, and ‘Use..’. Classic Point & Click ingredients however still somewhat limiting. I remember playing Universe and came across a bit where you had to take a car to the next section. Tried the open, use, look at, and pick up commands but nothing happened.. Turns out you needed to ‘Jump’ into the car to progress. I was literally banging my head on the floor. Edna & Harvey has some similar issues with its interface and can on occasion require you to click again and again on the option you want to use, only to find out that its the wrong one.

Graphically, im sort of impressed with the game. The game has a twisted cartoon style which fits the feel of the lunatic asylum you find yourself in, however with the characters being hand drawn, there isn’t a lot of variation and conversations usually consist of the characters moving between 2 images but it works in a 70′s cartoon kind of way. The characters you meet in the game all look unique (although some do walk like they shit themselves) and it appears that a lot of care went into the artwork.

It’s a shame that the same care didn’t go into the voiceovers. It could be the fact that it was originally German and then translated into English or perhaps the voice over artists themselves but the voices just don’t seem to fit most of the characters. Edna’s voice is just short of annoying most of the time and there were times when I just wound the sound down and read the subtitles instead. Other characters are slightly better but I have wondered sometimes if there was some translation issues as sometimes there is a random word in there that doesn’t quite fit. The soundtrack (which was also bundled with the game) is mainly plinky plonky jazz or orchestral overtures and while initially nice, soon just fades into the background and I forgot sometimes it was even there.

My biggest concern with the game though isn’t in the graphics or the sound, but more the way the game feels to play. For a game that features a static background and not much else, the saving and loading takes an age to complete. One of my biggest peeves is once you have selected something, your locked into it until you get there. There are times when I’ve clicked a door to go through and then seen something else i wanted to look at. Clicking it quickly does nothing as you watch Edna just open the door and walk through anyway. Another peeve is the fact that you have sometimes have to select a specific line of dialogue before it will allow you to perform a certain action with a character. Its little things that just make the game feel unpolished.

That’s not to say that Edna & Harvey is a bad game. Far from it. The game features some classic moments as well as some ‘eww’ moments (toenails spring to mind) but the game feels unpolished in a lot of places. Puzzles range from being mildly entertaining and logical to damn right infuriating, illogical and will force you to try practically everything in your inventory in the hope that it will get you past that one obstacle. It is however a unique title that while not quite resurrecting the Point & Click genre, does at least remind you of what it was once capable of. Just beware your second playthrough.. It will make big furry rabbit ears start growing out of your head….. honest…

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  • Andrew Heaton

    I really feel like I’ve missed out on Point ‘n’ Click adventure games. I ever had a Commodore 64 when I was young and I only got my first pc (which was second-hand) when I was about 15. And for that reason I have managed to get hold of a DOS version of Monkey Island and I even wouldn’t mind giving this one a go..

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