Release date: 06/2002
Homepage & download
A review by slydos 23rd June 2002
Professor Broesl is a freeware adventure game by the Austrian developers pibyte. The game was already finished some months ago, however a host had to be found, to make the 232 MB available for download, this game takes in compressed form. The game can be downloaded from the homepage. An English language version is planned for autumn 2002.
Click on screenshots to enlarge
If you have succeeded in getting the extensive download file you can take the next step: installing the game. If you double click the file broesl.exe, a selfextracting archive, you can select the installation directory from a menu and the program files will be unpacked and copied into the appropriate directory. Here at least 300 MB are needed.
The game was designed for Windows 95 and should run however also with Windows 98/ME/2000/XP according to the developers. With Windows NT there may be difficulties.
So I tried it first on a WIN95 PC Pentium II 233 MHz. Though the starting screen appeared, I was thrown back to Windows after selecting the start option and the game was terminated. (Possibly with the system test my computer was regarded here as too slow.) The same ocurred under Windows XP on a Pentium IV 1.6 Ghz. I only had luck with Windows ME on a Pentium III 850 MHz. Meanwhile there is a patch available, to solve these problems.
The start screen of Professor Broesl shows 3 possibilities: to load the unscensored "bloody" version, to load the kids version (however this version is not offered at all, one can only play the "bloody" version) and to save a game. After a graphical and musical absolutely professional intro sequence, also containing 3D-camera-drives around the research center, we get to the game itself. Professor Broesl is just leaving the bureau of his boss. The research center ZUUM is heading its closing and Broesl was selected to motivate his coworkers.Handling
Before we start, the mouse handling is briefly explained to us: Left mouse button = professor Broesl talks, uses, takes. Right mouse button = professor Broesl looks at an object or a person. Now we can really start.
With the exception of the ESC-key the game is mouse-controlled. With ESC you get access to the main menu on the one hand, and can interrupt video sequences on the other hand.
We control professor Broesl's steps in this 3rd-person comic adventure by simply clicking on a spot and he will move there. A doubleclick lets him appear there immediately. If we drive with the mouse over the screen, hotspots are indicated in a text line above the inventory bar, which is placed at the bottom of the screen. If professor Broesl talks to a person, the inventory disappears and the dialogue selection appears. The Enter-key interrupts dialogues.
Objects, which Broesl collects or receives, are shown as icons in the inventory. Here too you get a description with right mouse-click and can select an object with left-click. If you've selected an object, a plus sign is added to the arrow cursor and in the text line you can read, what you are trying to use with the objects on the screen - at the same time Broesl gives a spoken explanation. Inventory objects cannot be combined in this game.
The main menu has 6 buttons. The selection "watch film sequences" was unfortunately also without function in the version played by me. One can switch on/off speech, texts, music or sound in the options menu and can also change the game speed. More buttons let you quit, save or load a game. One can enter a text in addition to the savegames, which are not limited in number, and a small picture is automatically stored too with each save game.
In addition there's a help button. Behind it the detailed readme-file is hidden, the explanation about the freeware status, and how to treat some well-known errors. Who needs further assistance can select the indicated support email address. Who, like me, has just played a keyboard-controlled adventure game before, will be grateful about the really very easy mouse controls. Both, the control of Broesl and the handling of inventory and the menu are pleasing, fast and functional. You may wish such optimal handling with many games you have to pay for.Graphics
The comic style graphics can also please. One could have done a bit better with some perspectives and equipment of some backgrounds, but the character graphics however are designed in a very professional way. A whole number of weard characters are presented: from the lazy charwoman, over the publican Taegl, consisting only of one big grin up to the body building minigolf attendant. With 10 supporting characters one can interact. Gesturing, mimic and speech animations succeeded still economically but already very well. Beside the 2D graphics there are also some interspersed 3D-sequences with excellent animations and marvelous camera travels. Funny for example is the scene, when the publican is examined by the food police. The food-police-agent calls for support over headphone and a whole batallion of snipers and helicopters actuates, in order to cook his goose, accompanied by melodramatic music.Sound/music
Music themes and sound are selected throughout suitably and form a unit with graphics and story. Jazzy, bluesy bar music, exciting or cheerful xylophon/violin sounds. One can hear the archivist snoring, hushed clatter from the kitchen, birds twittering in the garden of the restaurant and naturally some enormous detonations. The quality of graphics and music makes it easy to forget that it's "only" a freeware game.Voice acting So professional the music, so unprofessionell however the voice acting. First it must be said that it deals with texts which were spoken in Austrian dialect. For me as an Austria layman the mumbling professor Broesl works either language handicapped or as if he would have looked a little too deep into the wine glass. I don't know, to what extent Austrians can follow these nerving sounds, I had to rely here on the German sub-titles. Other characters were quite bearable to good spoken and accented and one could undrstand them without translation help. Puzzles
The puzzles are throughout simple. You have to speak with the correct persons, to find the correct objects and use them at the correct places. You get some assistence by the professor's note pad, which he carries with him from the start (in the inventory). Here important tasks, information about the other characters and questions are automatically written down. Settled tasks are checked off. If pibyte would have inserted some more complicated puzzles, the playing time of maximal 2 hours could have been increased. So professor Broesl simply is finished too fast, without challenging the gamer.Story
Short formula: Naive scientist strays through a research center, which is led by a crazy person, who wants to take over the world domination. The story is told quite funny, interrupted however too early. The gamer is completely surprised, when suddenly the "To Be Continued Screen" shows up. It seems, as if the first part of perhaps 5 chapters was told. One can only hope that the end is published sometime. In addition it would be interesting to know, how the developers want to design the kids-version, so that not after each solved puzzle professor Broesl's partner have to end as bloody blot on the wall.General impression
After I had found the matching system, on which the game was executable, it ran without technical problems, bugs or system crashes. Really impressing, what is made available here for us as freeware game. Graphics, music, sound and handling are very professional and would also fit a purchased game well. The voice acting however sounded rather unprofessional, even if it is a good gag to present the whole thing in Austrian language. The puzzles quality corresponds to beginner level, probably a challenge to nobody and causing the short playing time. Since the developers point out in the end that the story is to be continued, one can only be curious, what they still have to offer the players.
Many will have problems with the download of the large data file. Professor Broesl made available in larger print run as CD version (against payment if necessary), would be desirable. A game, with which everyone could cope and also each adventure fan should play, because it is not only free but also enjoyable.My rating: 62%
Adventure-Archiv rating system:
80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable 70% - 79% good game, recommandable 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 95+
- Pentium II 300 Mhz +
- 32 MB RAM
- Windows 95 compatible sound card
- 16x CDROM-drive + (if playing from CDROM)
- 300 MB on hard disk
- Windows 95-compatible mouse and keyboard
- DirectX 7.0 or higher
- Windows ME
- PIII 850 MHz
- 128 MB RAM
- Sound- and graphic card DirectX-compatible
- Toshiba DVD-ROM