Bone 1 - Out from Boneville
Release date: 2005
Game language: English
A review by André 24th April 2006
(translated by MaryScots)
If you happen to be acquainted with a collector of comics you will
probably lean back and give a bored yawn when reading or hearing about new
titles like V for Vendetta or Sin City. For many years now, I also
know Bone by Jeff Smith as said collector owns all issues of the Bone series
and has decorated his quarters with several large-sized and carefully framed posters you
wont be able to ignore on a visit. I was always fond of the little lad with the tall
girlfriend even though not being a comic reader myself - I have never bothered to
look deeper into the matter. Something, which will fortunately change due to the release
of the first episode of the Bone adventure games.
There are two ways to get hold of the Bone adventures. For one, you
can order the game on an ordinary CD packed in a DVD-box. The second possibility is
downloading it for a fee from the developers website. The latter offering certain
advantages but also disadvantages. The advantage being that the game, which is not
available in Germany (or anywhere else outside the USA for that matter) doesnt have
to be shipped and - in a worst case scenario wont have to be cleared at some
obscure customs office. You also can save the money for expensive shipping costs. And the
game is at your disposal as soon as the download is finished, which is another plus.
Then again, you dont have anything in your hands, really
no original CD, no manual and no box, which is certainly not acceptable for
collectors and a reason to forgo a download offer. Another disadvantage would be that you
might save the game on a blank CD of dubious quality. Will the game still run, say, after
three years have passed and the sensitive data carrier might have been exposed to the sun?
In the end, everyone has to decide for themselves but for the
reasons stated I do hope that downloading wont get as successful a method of
purchase as to succeed in becoming the only method. On the other hand, optionally offering
adventure games for download as well as on CD or DVD sometimes is rather convenient (as is
the case here).
Enough prologue, lets turn to the plot: together with his
cousins Smiley and Phoney Bone is stranded in the desert. The group has lost its way
hopelessly. Already we can chat a little and deliberate on what could be done. Some small
initial puzzles must be solved and at the same time - in case we chose the tutorial mode
we will become acquainted with the controls. Having done this the first of two
small action sequences will begin, in which we will have to run away from a few insects.
These quests are not very challenging really and should not be intractable even to
untrained players. The second of those sequences can even be skipped if you want to! After
having escaped the insects Bone sadly has also lost his cousins Phoney and Smiley. All in
all, the game is subdivided into numerous small places and sections and our main goal is
retrieving our cousins and returning to Boneville.
While searching we also play Phoney in the first part, at least one
of Bones two cousins and with him we meet the same characters, Bone has met shortly
before on his journey. Its funny to observe how different Phoney, who is choleric
and always bad-tempered, reacts compared to easy-going Bone. You will always have to
fulfil small tasks. For example, there is a small and really simple maze or we have to
play a game of hide and seek. However, the puzzles are designed originally, like when we
incapacitate an insect a talking leaf. You wont discover any real
brain-wreckers and all puzzles are rather clear-cut and solved quickly. Oftentimes, you
can only proceed if you have exhausted conversations. In this case, you have to find the
proper dialogue-string in a non-linear conversation in order to push the plot forward. On
top of this, we can switch dialogue partners while talking. All this enhances the great
variety of the conversations and the staging of the funny dialogues is one of the
games biggest highlights.
We meet friends like the big red Dragon, come across our enemies,
the Rat Creatures, and many other weird and funny characters such as the simply
super-super-super-cute Possum Kids etc. until we finally arrive at a farm where we meet
the love of our life! I dont want to give away any more, really, for Bone 1 is not
such a long game. Only that the game ends at this point very abruptly and by now it
becomes clear that this is only an open-ended first episode of a game. Those who buy the
first part should know that they will have no chance to avoid the following instalments.
This might better have been made clearer from the start!
Graphics Some like it cute!
I admit that I had to get used to the graphics-style initially,
which at first glance (but at first glance only) seemed perhaps a little too clear in
layout and poor in detail. In the beginning, the game takes its time to show its better
part because you dont see much the three cousins, some rocks in the desert
and thats about it. It soon becomes obvious, though, that the clear layout fits the
graphics style and is kept like this consistently and continuously throughout the
game. Again the devil is in the details as sometimes the games graphics come out
much more elaborate, e.g. with movements such as Bone running or sliding down a slope or
with close-ups of Bones cute and multi-faceted facial expressions and also
that of his dialogue partners like the Possum Kids. Here it shows how lovingly the game
has been designed and how much effort has been put into detail. The dialogues are
interspersed with changes of perspective and just like it would be in a perfect comic
movie the camera switches between dialogue partners. So I quickly have to revise my
initial opinion and am thoroughly enthusiastic about the graphical presentation after a
short time of playing.
If I dont have to tell much about the handling of a game
its always an unmistakable sign that it has been designed simple and convenient and
doesnt give any cause for complaint. The usual point & click control is
felicitous with the cursor transforming into few different icons depending on the kind of
hotspot you choose. The little pictures are spot-on: feet are for walking, eyes for
looking and there are two or three more functions. In addition, you can choose from two
more options by clicking the right mouse-button. With that an item can be examined but
also used. The usual procedure, you see. Those who didnt get it by now can learn it
during said tutorial, which is offered optionally before the start of the game. Then, each
time we activate a new function a short explanation appears. Nice, isnt it?
There is one icon at the bottom left of the screen to open the
inventory and on the right there are two more, one for access to the menu and one for
Thats almost all. Perhaps, I should mention briefly that the
clearly laid-out menu offers all the important options and that it is possible to
separately adjust the levels of music, speech and sound effects, activate subtitles or
skip dialogues by pressing the space bar. Ten save slots are provided, which should be
sufficient for this not too complex game and I dont think that a good
comic-adventure needs anything else, really.
If you dont understand the speech correctly the reason might
be that you dont speak any English. Knowledge of this language does make it easier
at least to a considerable degree to complete the game smoothly and
successfully. Apart from the voice-acting being articulate it also fits the characters
extraordinarily well above all others Bones distinctive voice. Vocabulary
more or less uses school English so there shouldnt be too many problems.
Only thing I dont know what to write about is the music as I
honestly didnt really notice it until the end. This doesnt mean that it is
bad, monotonous or even unsuitable. Its rather playing in the background, its
calm, emphasises and supports the game in a subtle way.
Alright, what can I say the game has convinced me completely
now Im a Bone fan, too! Its obvious that the people at Telltale have
put their heart and soul into the project. From backgrounds via facial animation to
character animation there is no better way to design the graphics just like one
could possibly have imagined the computer-animated models of Bone and all the others. The
dialogues are funny and inventive, the voice-overs perfect. The puzzles are basically very
easy but nevertheless originally designed and the subject matter as well as the phrasing
is suitable for both children and adult gamers. Due to the easy tasks the latter might
probably rather enjoy the wonderful story and the fantastic graphics and puzzle a little
bit while doing so. One last thing worth mentioning would be that the price of the game
has been lowered considerably and so one can now also say that the cost/performance ratio
is very reasonable. By the time this review is getting published the second episode will
already be available and I can hardly wait to play it. The first quickie-highlight of the
Total rating: 81%
Adventure-Archiv rating system:
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended -
for hardcore-adventure-freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers
Minimal system requirements:
- Windows 2000/XP
- P3 800 1,5 Ghz
- 140 MB on hard disk
- 3D-video card
- DirectX 8.1
Hard disk 60 GB
- WIN XP
- AMD Athlon XP 1800
- 512 MB RAM
- Graphic card Radeon 9200 Series
The labyrinth is dark but easy to master
Ho-hop! No need for skillfulness while jumping!
The graphics - sometimes simple, sometimes more detailed, but beautiful.
Talking to the big leaf
Our friend - the big, red dragon
Has he seen our cousins?
The possum kids
Bone in love ...
... with beautiful Thorn!
Thorn in close-up (energetic)
At grandma Thorn