In the mid-1990s, Sierra On-Line was passing its prime. Most of the games that people would call their favorites (yours truly included) were behind them, and the company was caving in to the pressure to move to technologies like full-motion video and iconless interfaces, and developing complicated stories that didn't lend themselves as much to the open gameplay that had made their earlier games classics in the first place. I think they were also trying to market their mainstream titles more to children, with simpler styles and Disney-esque stories and graphics (see King's Quest VII). Into this bleak arena stepped Al Lowe, programmer/composer and developer most famous for the Leisure Suit Larry series of adult games - and what he provided was pretty much the same schlock I was just complaining about, but with the sense of humor that you can't help but love.
This guy warns you not to proceed, or you may have to deal with nutzos and psychos, or worse, politicians.
Torin's Passage is, for the most part, an engaging and entertaining romp through a variety of colorful worlds with eclectic inhabitants, vivid landscapes, and thought-provoking puzzles. There are just a few annoying pixel hunts that may have you reaching for the hint button, which is helpfully provided at any time you get stuck, if you don't want to get the full score. And as we all know, that's the true goal of every Sierra adventure game. Then there are those parts of the game that will have you reaching for the chapter select button.
Pictured: A good argument for giving up and playing Myst instead.
But the good parts of the game are definitely worth playing for, and even the bad parts may be worth watching, if I can figure out how to make interesting commentary over them. If you're not convinced, check out Al Lowe's own page about the game, particularly the game promo video, which I won't link directly for fear of accusations of bandwidth leeching - there are portions of the game that won't make any sense if you haven't watched that video. Okay, it's just one throwaway joke, but I think they knew nobody was going to buy this game unless they'd found the trailer video on one of their other game CDs.
One of the game's few vertical areas, and one of the game's many fun areas.
Join me as I blunder my way through the puzzles in my usual pretending-I-don't-know-what-to-do fashion, try to find at least one joke you didn't know was there, and potentially discover an Easter egg never before captured on video - if I have the patience, or the combined power of the goon hivemind is enough to unlock its secrets. Hey, we cracked Blue Ice - it could happen.
|Part 1: Never accept candy from strangers, but life-threatening quests are perfectly okay||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 2: The Best Worst Pun in the History of Gaming||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 3: Bye, Honey, I'm leaving home! *canned laughter*||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 4: I said, POOR DRESSAGE is a SHAME! You can't GIVE UP when it's TORRENTIAL!||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 5: Violins and Cliffside: Philosophy on a Tile||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 6: Bobby Bitternut was right: They deserve each other.||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 7: Feeling... looooooooooooonely?||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 8: Plants are VERY scarce in Tenebrous, which explains why we're surrounded by them.||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 9: Featuring a terrible plant pun. Maybe two or tree.||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 10: Zippy the Blind Magician||blip.tv||YouTube|
|Part 11: Thefi Nalp Artof The Game||blip.tv||YouTube|
Entity411 illustrates what we were all thinking during Chapter 3:
And Post Processing responds in the only sensible way:
Did anybody want a creepy avatar? The Splash has a creepy avatar for you.
HE WAS WUCKY TO HAVE SOMEBODY LIKE ME