Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode One Review

Posted by Dave Horvath, Jun 21, 2008 09:55


Fans of the web-comic, Penny Arcade showed up in droves to download the creation that has been over a year in production with Hothead Games and dubbed "Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode One".  As the name would suggest, it’s an episodic RPG filled with the verbose scribe laid down by none other than Jerry "Tycho" Holkins. Set in an alter-reality 1920’s universe called New Arcadia, Rain-Slick follows the misadventures of you, the gamer and two companions you meet along the way, Johnathan Gabriel and Tycho Brahe. 

Along the way, you’ll meet notable characters directly related to the comic, such as Tycho’s brainy niece and the always lovable fruit... umm... friends as well as new characters created specifically to push the story further. You begin life as a custom created avatar who is content with his life in his perfect house on the perfect street in the perfect neighborhood until it all comes crashing down when a giant robot steps on your house and thereby thrusts you into the adventure with Gabe and Tycho. Hell bent on vengeance and armed with your garden rake, you team up with these anti-heroes in their quest to stop that which is running amok in the streets of New Arcadia. 

The story is expertly written by Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins who is known for his often long, detailed and rather verbose blog posts. Fans of the comic will be glad to know that much of the same humor found in the comic resonates throughout the game as well. Simply selecting random objects in the game world brings up their descriptions which often range from mundane, to side splitting hilarious in their details. Notable quotes by the characters such as "I could stand to kill a few more hobos" are just a mere taste of what gamers will be treated to. Sadly, those looking for superior voice acting will be forced only to read what each character says as the only voice acting in the game is done by a narrator that only reads dialog between major scenes in the game. There is no voice over option for your avatar or those of any characters in game. The general feel of it is that it adds to the mystique of the game and doesn’t detract from what would eventually turn into a gamer battle of what Tycho’s voice should have sounded like. The story and world itself is an odd one, but that shouldn’t come as any surprise to fans of the series. It was probably entirely on purpose that a player would have to think to themselves at one point in the game, "I should grind on a few more hobos so the Urinologist will give me a pass to the carnival so I can take on the Dark Mime Lord." 

Graphics in the game need special mention as Mike "Gabe" Krahulik has, together with a team of animators, convincingly re-created his artistic style directly from the comic into a 3D realm with apparent ease. Every character, every landscape, every facet of the game world looks exactly as it should. It’s colorful and vibrant, yet sets the grim mood of the story with its attention to gloomy detail. For obvious reasons, the entire game poises itself within the frames of a comic. When you reach the edge of a game board, you change panels as if flipping a page in a comic book. Character dialogs take place on comic panels too, as you would expect them to. Everything in the game world is as it should be and the creation team should be credited for that. An impressive feat all while keeping within the confines of a 350Mb file size.

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Our Rating for Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode One Review
7.0 Replay
Replay: Once you’ve completed the game, you’ve seen everything there is. The charm may bring you back, but with no New Game+ option, replay is moderately low.
9.0 Graphics
Graphics: Richly detailed graphics allow the web-comic to be truly and accurately realized in 3D. They captured the essence and feel of Penny Arcade throughout.
8.5 Sound
Sound: Easily one of the hidden gems within the game. Hidden and creative sound effects abound make for a crazy and humorous adventure even with some of the most mundane things. Music never bothers and fits the mood well but is forgettable.
9.0 Gameplay
Gameplay: Taking a unique spin on classic turn-based RPG gameplay, the game delivers a fun and fresh approach on how modern turn-based RPGs should be handled. Fun and exciting controls are often overshadowed by an unbalanced difficulty level.
0.1 Multiplayer/Online Content
8.5 Overall
Overall: Easily can be judged as a fan-only game, but offers enough unique RPG gameplay and humor to appeal to anyone. Taking on an adventure with these unlikely heroes can only lead to one thing. Anticipation of the inevitable release of Episode 2.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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