Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures Episodes 1-4 Xbox 360 Review

June 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

Are digital downloads and episodic games the way forward? Telltale Games have built a solid reputation with their work on revived franchises Sam & Max and Monkey Island, but can they handle the pressure of creating a game based on the beloved British characters of Aardman Animation?

The Grand Adventures are split into four separate episodes, each with their own theme and Achievements. They can be played independently, but elements and characters appear throughout to create one larger story. What follows is a brief summary of each episode.

Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees

Seeking to improve his new business making honey, Wallace’s creation of super-sized flowers has an unexpected side effect. Gromit has to save the town from the swarm of giant bees…

Episode 2: The Lost Resort

Heavy rain floods Wallace’s basement and inspires him to create West Wallaby Street Water World, but keeping the guests happy is not easy – especially when one of them gets a nasty bump to the head. It’s up to Gromit to investigate.

Episode 3: Muzzled

With wild dogs roaming the streets and causing Wallace problems, showman Monty Muzzle arrives in town offering to raise funds with his funfair. All is not what it seems behind the shiny rides and the pie-eating contest.

Episode 4: The Bogey Man

Wallace is now romantically entangled with next door neighbour Felicity Flitt and the fortunes of the Prickly Thicket Golf Club. Can Wallace demonstrate the skills of a worthy chairman and find the missing deeds? And can he escape Miss Flitt’s clutches?

Control is very straightforward, with the left stick moving Wallace or Gromit around the 3D environments. Objects and people to be interacted with are highlighted with white brackets, the game automatically suggesting a course of action to be taken by pressing A. The inventory is opened by pressing X, allowing the player to give or use objects. It is through a combination of talking to people and using objects in the right place that the puzzles will be solved and the story allowed to progress.

The graphics are excellent, capturing the style of the animation in convincing 3D. Little bumps and marks in the textures give the figures the look of the original clay. Voice acting is excellent, with Ben Whitehead’s portrayal of Wallace being spot on. There are minor quirks, such as overlapping speech sometimes varying in volume and the odd graphical glitch, but the atmosphere generated by both the graphics and the sound is brilliant. The background music is superb too. Locations including Wallace’s house are repeated and re-used through the episodes, but what you can and cannot access changes.

Each episode gives about three to four hours of playing time and some silly situations to solve. Characters will give hints through dialogue if the player is struggling, and Wallace and Gromit will also look towards specific objects to give further help. The Achievements are cleverly designed to give a reason to replay the chapters; each episode has a hidden cheese for Wallace to find (and eat), and specific dialogue to hear. The contraptions and characters are strongly reminiscent of the classic Wallace and Gromit cartoons, and there are some hidden “Memory Lane” achievements to spark those memories. Solutions are for the most part logical and can be stumbled upon with experimentation – it never feels unfair or too obscure.

All in all, the four episodes are wonderfully presented and good fun to play through. Telltale have successfully captured the quirky (and very British) humour and created some memorable moments of their own. Cracking games, Gromit.

9/10

All four episodes of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures are available to download from Xbox Live Arcade now, priced at 800 Microsoft Points each.

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