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"Princesses! Why did it have to be Princesses?"
For the past few months, people have been saying that the adventure game genre is dead. Well, SouthPeak will keep it alive for at least a few months more with their new game, Rent-A-Hero, a classic adventure game with a nifty storyline and cool graphics.
It seems that many years ago the miners of the Island of Tol Adar discovered a mysterious substance, which everyone wanted. Due to the low supply of said stuff, wars were fought over its possession. Eventually, things quieted down, and the still-violent people were banished from the island. Since then, they've been gathering their strength, becoming a band of mighty pirates.
Now they've returned. Of course, you can't do anything about that. Not in your current job. As Rodrigo (of Rodrigo's Discount Princess Rescue) all you can get are save-the-princess-from-the-nasty-(insert monster here) jobs. You're dying to go and fight the pirates, but noooo! You have to have a reputation to get those high profile jobs. So you're stuck, until one day, someone hires you to rescue his wife from the clutches of those oh-so-dreadful pirates.
The artists have been hard at work. All the graphics are 2D, but it's all pre-rendered in 3D, and well rendered, I might add. All the backgrounds are terrific cartoony graphics, ranging from a sunlit forest to a dirty pub. This type of thing hasn't been tried for a while. It's nice to look at, especially with the full 3D transitions. Everything fits smoothly together.
The interface is of the simple point-and-click variety. You click one on an object/person to pickup/use/talk to them, and you click on the items in your inventory to use them. You just click on the ground next to you to walk. The interface is invisible and intuitive, so you can just play the game.
My favorite new feature is the Hint book that occasionally pops up. If you've been stuck on a puzzle for a while, don't know where to go, and don't know who to turn to (I feel a song coming on), eventually a little hint book will pop up in the corner and help you on your way. This is cool because if you're really stuck (the bane of all adventure games), you can go on, but you can't just get to the answer immediately to skip through the game, and miss all of the stuff that goes on. Perfect for all ages and skill levels.
The voice acting is pretty good, with characters' voices matching their look. The fat ol' drunkard in the bar has the English accent of a dumb peasant (remember the peasants from Warcraft II?), while your character has a bright sounding voice. All of the lines well done, unlike other games I've played (*cough* SPACE QUEST 6 *cough).
Get ready to save the land from pirates! (Just no more princesses. I'm sooo tired of princesses.) Rent-A-Hero is due out November '99 for the PC.