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Future Boy!

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Kent Tessman

GAME DEVELOPER:General Coffee

GAME PUBLISHER:General Coffee

Copyright 2005, Kent Tessman

Future Boy! is a fun graphical text adventure by Kent Tessman, maker of the Hugo game-creation language. Billed as “an interactive comic book,” Future Boy! offers a full suite of graphics, voices and music to complement the parser-based interactive fiction interface that Infocom fans will be familiar with. The game does make things easier for beginners, though: you can right-click to open a short menu that lists basic commands such as TAKE and EXAMINE, and double-click on any word in the text description to add it to your command line. The game casts you as a close friend of a superhero called Future Boy, who lives in a fictional city called Rocket City that looks a lot like a regular metropolis in our 21st century. Your job, naturally, is to help Future Boy defeat a supervillain, here named Clayton Eno.

Future Boy features a fun storyline that unfolds with interesting twists and turns along the way, interesting NPCs to talk to, and logical puzzles that start out easy, but gradually increase in difficulty the more you play. Similar to Legend’s classic Eric the Unready, Future Boy is broken into ‘episodes,’ each of which are separated by long cut-scenes that usually contain animated sequences. Although you have much more freedom of movement than in Eric the Unready in that you have access to a large section of the total gameworld almost from the beginning, Future Boy! does steer you in the right direction most of the time, so you are never really at a lost as to what to do next. There are many items to pick up and use, and the puzzles are logical and fun for the most part – I especially like the ones involving time travel that you get to solve in the last part of the game. My only complaint is that the game is not restore-proof: in other words, you *can* get stuck in a dead-end from which the only solution is to restore an earlier save. But all in all, the clues are quite well-placed and if you save often enough, you shouldn’t have problems finishing the game. As a bonus, the game also includes a context-sensitive on-line hint menu, which can be accessed at any point in the game.

With a fun plot, attractive graphics, and interesting puzzles, Future Boy! is well worth your time and money. The only potential complaint would be the $19.99 price tag, which is steeper than most shareware games. But when you compare the quality of Future Boy! and the 10+ hour playing time with mediocre-to-bad commercial adventure games today that you can finish in 3-4 hours and cost $29.99 or more, this one-man-coded underdog is well worth every dollar. Highly recommended!



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