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Clever & Smart - A Movie Adventure


Release date Spain: 10/2003
Release date Germany: 11/2004
Developer: Alcachofa Soft
Publisher: Crimson Cow


Game language: German

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USK: 6 years and up


 

A review by   André   27th December 2004


Which generation before me was actually so lucky to replenish their childhood and youth so detailed? Thanks to Ikea, Ebay and bulky waste I can arrange my 70's flat, that couldn't have been more original in the 70's, the suitable clothes are available at H+M and one of my favourite comic strips from that time I now cannot only read but even play as an interactive adventure game. We'll see, how the realisation succeeded and whether I will still have so much fun with Clever & Smart.

Worth knowing

Finally there it is, the first Clever & Smart adventure game on German shelves. Up to now I've always looked enviously at our Spanish neighbours, who were allowed to play so far altogether 8 parts of the series since 1998 as "Mortadelo y Filemón" (so the Spanish original title) of which 4 parts were pooled in 2 double packs. 'A Movie Adventure' also consists of originally two individual parts, which were released in Spain for the first time. The original comics have been created a long time ago. To be precise, the first volume was published 1972 in Germany, the Clever & Smart creator and draughtsman is F. Ibańez. What many of the books have in common are the unbelievable German titles like "Harry Herz macht wieder Terz!" and so on.

The main actors of the until today successful series are secret agents Fred Clever and Jeff Smart. Clever has the genial talent to be able to turn into the most diverse characters from time to time. They receive their orders from their boss, Mister L. Else they are supported more or less helpfully by the scientist Dr. Bakterius. Last but not least the gracile secretary Mrs. Ophelia must be mentioned.

What distinguishes this series very much from the virtuous Disney comics such as Micky Mouse or Kauka's Fix & Foxi, is the sometimes violent and jiggered humor. It's difficult to describe, what is so funny about Fred and Jeff. I believe, it's based on the totally overdrawn jokes. But humor shouldn't be harped on about, so let's leave it at that.

Story

Dr. Bakterius has invented a new machine named "Tele-Thingamajig". The device is able to teleport thingamajig - pardon, things and persons from movies into real life and also in reverse from life into movies. After we procured one urgently needed diamond to get the machine going, Bakterius begins teleportation. But already the first attempt fails and instead of getting an Egyptian treasure into reality, a mummy named Impoteh emerges in the headquarters. The mummy successfully goes on the run immediately, transforms into a normal human being and must be caught of course, because it tries to take over the rule of the world, possessive as antique Egyptian kings are. And who would be better qualified as mummy catcher than our hyperactive top agents Clever and Smart. And so the two get their order from Mister L and the hunt through many locations from the movie world begins rather involuntarily, where they meet some well-known characters such as Charlie Chaplin or Humphrey Bogart and many more, also a lot of film monsters.

Graphics

Unfortunately games based on films or comic series are sometimes only a halfhearted extraction of the original. With a dull feeling I think e.g. of RTL series like "The Clown", where they produced a cheap adventure game fast, which doesn't even has speech, quasi as spin-off of an economically effective and perfectly sympathy-free market machinery, only to line one's pockets.

But with Clever & Smart we are not only dealing with an adequate game. Already on the box they promote the game deservedly right self-confident with "100 crowded locations", "350 hotspots" and further superlatives. Concerning quality, the ingenious intro is already inspiring - quasi a comic adaptation of the typical spy/mystery movie topic - which I would like to describe as one of the most felicitous since many years. Likewise the many comic style locations succeeded. The graphics maybe so beautiful because of the fact that F. Ibańez personally watched over the project. However the locations are only sparsely and some screens not at all animated. What besides is noticeable, that both protagonists simply don't move at all when not in active mode. Their bodies don't nod and they don't even eye-twinkle.

Interestingly this is hardly disturbing and at the latest with the successful animations, when they speak or run or when Clever turns into a Scot, Sherlock Holmes or some other character, this small deficiency is fast balanced.

Music

More than praiseworthy also the amazing and absolutely suitable film music, which spoils you already during the intro. Finally it was worthwhile, that I was given some good loudspeakers, which I automatically turned louder. The really brilliant music is from now on constant companion during the whole game. Particularly in the Western town most diverse good mood causing tracks please the ears of the player, which "Mr. Happy Sound", James Last, couldn't have done better. Responsible for them is Emilio de Paz, who recorded the 45 (!) songs with a 12-headed Big Band. Mentioned Emilio de Paz was already responsible for the sound track of "The Westerner" and is by the way the head of Alcachofa Soft. Actually he is responsible for the half of the game (script, organization, game flow etc..). I think, that he has done this sound track even better than the one, he arranged for The Westerner.


Speech

Just as intricate and certainly also not quite cheap the conversion of the German speech. Crimson Cow has engaged a number of top-class names out of the movie world for synchronisation. Though in my opinion the bad German synchronisation of Tony Tough proved that well-known names are still no guarantor for a success, what however rather was due to the contents, what means to the really tepid jokes (at least in the German translation) and to the almost endless babble.

Fortunately the humor of the original series was preserved and the texts skillfully spoken. Here the expenditure was really worthwhile and both Clever and Smart have got well fitting voices. So the journey through the dialogues doesn't become an embarrassing rhetoric odyssey, provided that one likes not so filigree humor ... I'd expected nothing different and so a graphically and acoustically correct Clever & Smart-feeling came up from the first minute.

Puzzles

Of course "Clever & Smart" is very appropriate to tinker an adventure game from it, since already a master version with two protagonists exists. So it's almost compellable from adventure view to use them both in different ways according to their abilities. Very competent the developers included their characteristics also into the game's concept. Similar to Julio and Miguel for example in "Road to El Dorado", they both have different abilities, which sometimes let Clever be successful in interacting with a character, where Smart finds it a hard nut to crack and vice versa. Clever and Smart must cooperate often to be successful. I very much like this kind of double-casting in adventure games and this simply makes the game still more interesting and more diversified.

We must primarily find a lot of objects and jabber a lot. It's not always easy, particularly since not everything has to be combined in a logical way. That I am spoiled in the end even with a (fortunately not so big) maze, I really didn't wish at all. To be honest, I hoped that there would be none. Is there actually someone out there, who likes labyrinths?

Handling

Fortunately the trend is gone, to experiment with the wildest keyboard controls. We move with simple, first-class point+click control through the game. If we click the small box right on top of the screen, we quite simply change from Clever to Smart and of course vice versa. If we drag the cursor to the upper left of the screen, a clear, the whole screen taking inventory opens. It disappears as from ghost hand in the lower right corner. Very helpful are doubleclicks on the exits, bringing us directly to the new screen. We don't need more things for a good adventure game. The option menu is just as simple and practical, where all important topics such as save and load, settings for music, dialogues as well as sound effects, adjustable sub-titles (important!) and one or two other useful functions can be found. The savegames are however not so clear, as they have no text description. Especially at the beginning you must guess on the basis of the made screenshots, where you've been last time. In addition one must click away the intro every time the game starts, which is not so comfortable even it's very nice.

 

Multiplayer

Not to be left unmentioned the multiplayer mode, even if I must confess, I havn't tested it yet. Two players can play the game over the net and communicate via voice chat (?) or normal keyboard with one another. So far the theory. That's really an innovation to the adventure genre and should be lauded of course. But I'm not quite sure, if I want to play my beloved genre this way.

Result

I can't get enough of the legendary Clever and Smart corny jokes. It's not only because of the good mood, this fine adventure game produces! High-quality adventures were published enough lately, but 2D classic-style comic adventure games with handpainted graphics in the style of Galador, Runaway & Co. are rare these days - especially real good ones.

Graphic style and flair of the booklets were converted skillfully, although not much animated, into an up-to-date adventure game. And thanks to the partial somewhat more difficult puzzles the game is interesting for all age groups. The topic teleportation from reality into movies (and in reverse) is not new actually, I remember e.g. the film "Purple rose of Cairo" by Woody Allen.

But it doesn't make any difference, because the topic's almost predestined to produce this original and turbulent comic adventure. Likewise not new, but it always makes fun, moving two heroes through the game, and only be able to make progress when deploying the correct character suitable to the situation or only be able to continue with both heroes at the same time. Because this creates very varied puzzles.

Thus after Runaway and The Westerner a new amazing comic adventure game was developed in Spain and it seems a trend continous that the most beautiful games of the comic sub-genre come from this country.



Rating: 85 %

 

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 on it)

 

Minimal system requirements:

  • Windows 98/2000/XP
  • Pentium II 266 MHz
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 1,3 GB hard disk + 200 MB for savegames
  • DirectX-compatible 3D graphic card with min. 16 MB video RAM
  • DirectX-compatible sound card
  • 8x CDROM-drive

Played on:

  • WIN 98
  • AMD Athlon XP 1800
  • 256 MB RAM
  • Graphic card Radeon 9200 Series
  • 16x CDROM-drive
  • Hard disk 60 GB

 

 

Copyright © André for Adventure-Archiv, 27th December 2004

 

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