Relentless: Twinsen’s Adventure

7_1Cutesy and nostalgic adventure gaming.

Relentless: Twinsen’s Adventure blends the simple and effective control scheme of a game like Alone in the Dark with a superb overhead 2D environment set in a charming cartoony world. Developer Adeline set themselves up with a good foundation on which to build a novel game. An effective inventory system further adds to the experience, plus the ability to change your protagonist’s stance to suit various combat and platforming obstacles.

During the introduction you’ll learn how the evil Dr. FunFrock has taken control of the planet Twinsun, moving its people to the southern hemisphere. He achieves his goals through military occupation, as well as some diabolical technologies: cloning and teleportation. Through cloning, FunFrock has almost unlimited forces at his disposal. And by using teleporters, those clones can appear just about anywhere to bring down any potential troublemakers.

You’ll start the game in a cell, and escaping from one of Dr. FunFrock’s prisons will be your first priority. The game immediately requires you to switch between the various stances, suited for things such as combat or platforming. After you fight some guards, you make your way back home — avoiding some very nasty Groboclones along the way. And it’s in these first few sequences that the interface of Relentless begins to show its charm.

Moving the character with the arrow keys is very easy. You can press the CTRL key to change your stance, hit the spacebar to use an item or perform an action, and use the SHIFT key to access your inventory. You can switch your character between Normal, Athletic, Aggressive, and Discreet. In the normal mode you walk, talk, activate devices, and pick up items during your journey by using the arrow keys and hitting the spacebar. The Athletic mode allows the player to run, jump, and even call attention to himself, while Discreet lets you sneak quietly past trouble spots.

11_1Aggressive attributes are used for combat, and can be set to auto mode so that when you hit the spacebar your character automatically chooses an appropriate attack (such as a punch or kick) to use on your opponent. If you prefer, you can pick your own offense by selecting the manual mode, then using the spacebar and arrow keys to control combat. Sometimes its best to use a magic attack by pressing the ALT key — especially considering Twinsen’s annoying inability to move or run while he’s being hit (the manual states that the best way to avoid this problem is to run backward instead of forward).

The biggest issue in Twinsen’s Adventure will be the annoying saving system. You’d think the developer might have learned something from Doom’s saving scheme from years back, but instead it relies on an auto-saving system. The issue is that it leaves room for some really annoying situations. For instance, you can start a saved scene, get beaten up hardly and quit the game. If you reload the same game you will start in the same spot as you did before, but this time you will carry the low health you had when you (probably) rage quit. You can manually archive and restore saved games with a ballet of copying, pasting and renaming files.

This awkward way of cataloging your progress through the game takes a bit of getting used to and will likely stir occasional frustration. But there’s plenty more to like in Twinsen’s Adventure, offering up a world that is cutesy, fascinating and also inviting to its players.

System Requirements: 80486 33 MHz CPU, 4 MB RAM, 11 MB HDD, DOS

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