LucasArts has finally revealed full details and images for Full Throttle: Hell On Wheels, the long awaited sequel to the much loved original, released on the PC in 1995.
The game is set to emerge blinking into the daylight sometime in Winter 2003 on PC, PS2, and Xbox. No dice, GameCube owners.
Despite recognising its rich brand heritage, LucasArts still appears to be shit scared of releasing a point and click adventure game, and fans of the ‘action tinged’ original will probably be rolling their eyes 360 degrees at the prospect of an beat ‘em up/driving take on the brand. Arrrrgh! Simon Jeffrey, are you reading? We thought you cared!
According to the blurb, released late last night, the game sees “bad-ass outlaw biker” Ben engaging in a “humourous adventure” that mixes drunken bar room brawling with “brutal high speed motorcycle combat”.
Rather disturbingly, the sequel forgoes the original’s freeform world for an old fashioned level based approach, with 35 different levels in 20 unique environments such as: a truck stop, an oil refinery, a junkyard, an airplane graveyard and the Polecat's regular hangout, the Kickstand biker bar. LucasArts, you were once revolutionaries that changed the face of gaming and brought unprecedented humour and intelligence to a witless landscape. Now you’re content to churn out me-too driving beat ‘em ups to satisfy the shareholders. This had better be good or you should all hang your heads in shame.
More encouragingly, the screenshots at least reveal that superb art style of the original has been retained, with the stylised environments depicting “a surreal and desolate future where justice is relative and traditional law and order has been replaced by the code of the road.”
This time around, Ben and his Polecat chums are after the Hound Dogs, a rival gang believed to be responsible for wrecking the roads. One murderous plot later, Ben teams up with his old mentor Father Torque and Maureen (remember her?), to bring this villain and his henchmen to justice.
Clearly, fists of fury are going to be heavily involved, as well as “wits, weapons and wheelie-popping motorcycle action”. It appears there will be some adventuring at least, with LucasArts promising “a series of adventures, puzzles and melee style combat”, although with more emphasis on the latter, with more than 40 different “strategically placed” weapons including: chairs, bottles, pool cues, chains, crowbars and even a guitar (now, this could be really good).
Amusingly, Ben’s means of regaining health is to glug back a beer or two and have a good laugh with his gang.
LucasArts marketing director Liz Allen commented with a gravely movie voice: "Full Throttle is one of LucasArts' greatest and most memorable original brands perfectly symbolizing the company's legacy of creating games with rich characters and compelling stories.
“Full Throttle: Hell On Wheels turns up the action allowing players to 'stick it to the man' and leave it all behind for the freedom of life on the road as a charismatic outlaw biker," she added.
Wheelie good? (groan) We hope to get a full hands-on at E3 in just a few weeks.