For the sick at heart...
Something that I've been missing lately are all those adventure games that Sierra used to pump out. There's no shortage of first-person perspective kill-fests or Dune 2 wannabes, but where have all the Leisure Suit Larrys, Maniac Mansions, and Les Manleys that I grew up on gone? I always thought that out of all the computer games I played, these were the ones that truly tested my wits and creativity. Fortunately, some people still feel the same way. Armed and Delirious, by Sirtech, reaches back into those days of yesteryear to re-kindle the old Sierra fire with third-person, point-and-click antics.
Is there a word for extremely-super-sick-weird? If so, I'd like to know it now because I'll need it a couple hundred times to describe this game. Armed and Delirious isn't your typical point-n-click game, it's a point-n-click game on speed, steroids, and a Silicon Graphics workstation (or for you kids, a LOT of sugar).
Here's the plot in a nutshell: "Once upon a time there was this dysfunctional family called the Crotony's. One day, Daddy Crotony sold his family out to this man with a rabbit's head (The Great Rabbit). Desiring Grandma Crotony's cookbook, this rabbit-man stole the cookbook and then took a giant pair of scissors and cut the Crotony house right out of the ground in Warner Bros. cartoon-like style. All of the Crotony's were sucked out the front door by the vacuum of outer space except for Grandma Crotony. Then Grandma went on the quest to retrieve her cookbook. The End."
Sounds normal enough right? That's not even scratching the surface. This game is filled with such incredibly strange dialogue, animation, characters, and music, it gives you nightmares about what the designers at Sirtech must be like. In the game you control Grandma Crotony through five CDs (yes you heard me right.. you should see the case for this bad-boy) on her search for her stolen cookbook. For those of you familiar with point-n-click (or enter text) type games, Armed and Delirious plays very much the same. The only difference is that your movements are sort of pre-destined. That is, you can't click on a spot and expect to walk there. There are only certain actions you can perform in any given area. But there's a good reason for this: every thing you can do is animated with amazing quality (not quite Toy Story but within field goal range).
What sets this game apart from all the rest is its superb graphical quality. You can seriously compare some of the animation and artwork to stuff coming out of Pixar Studios (makers of Toy Story). There is an introduction movie you can watch before you start the game and it is pretty amazing. All the background scenes have been 3-dimensionally rendered and you get to interact with much of it. And as I said before, the animations when you perform actions are awesome.
The sound department isn't too shabby either. Although the music and sounds are weird (to say the least), they are all high quality and fit the mood of the game (weird/sick/insane). I can't really describe it because it is so you-know-what, but believe me, it's pretty good. All the dialogue in the game is recorded and this is where the sound department lagged a bit. The voice of Grandma can be annoying a lot of the time, so its a good thing there's the option using captions. Also, some of the other voices are muffled at times, so it's handy to read the text.
As for control, there's not much to say, except: it gets the job done. There are basically four actions to take: drag or pull something, use something, exit a place, or look at something. The actions are represented by four different icons that appear when you move the pointer over an object. You can also use objects in your braventory (a sick version of an inventory- you figure it out) to perform certain actions.
Gamplay in Armed and Delirious doesn't break any new ground. The search for your cookbook sends you travelling to several different planets where you solve various puzzles, meet strange characters, and collect items. The puzzles are plentiful and most are pretty challenging. The gameplay was where I thought Armed and Delirious had its biggest fault. The game is huge and there is little direction to help you out. After figuring out how to leave the house you travel to numerous other planets with little knowledge of what to do. And one other point this brings up: now I know why CD changers were invented. You constantly have to swap discs when you change areas. This is definitely annoying when you don't know where to go.
Well, that's about it. Armed and Delirious excels in the graphics and sound department, but it lacks in the direction department. Hopefully someone will come out with a walkthrough or Sirtech will print a hint book. For parents looking for a game for their small kids, look somewhere else. This game got rated 'T' (for teens) for a good reason: it's sick.