Release date Russia: 1997
Release date Germany: 1999
Game language and manual: deutsch
USK: 6 years and up
A review by slydos 26th June 2004
The "Pilot Brothers" exist for some years as successful Russian TV comic show for children and in their homeland 3 comic adventure games were already created. Just now the 3rd part of the sleuth stories for children is published in Russia. A German-language version only exists of the first part, which was published in the year 1999 by Mitcom.
On the occasion of the current release I want to give attention to the German edition, in expectation of a short intermezzo between two 'real' adventure games. But in Russia one doesn't seem to distrust the savvy of the 6-year-and-up target group as much as Western Europe or North American developers, where one doesn't want to expect of the poor little kids and honestly said meanwhile also adults to stay longer with a puzzle than one needs to eat a medium Hamburger. "Pilot Brothers", although in principle not a long planned game with its 15 scenes, which must be visited successively, offers trickier tasks than expected.
"Pilot Brothers" must not be installed, but can be played directly from CD, by the way without problems under Windows XP too. After a short intro, showing us the prehistory - the robbery of the striped elephant from the zoo of Berichov in the year 1950 by the presumed perpetrator Karbofoss - we arrive in the main menu. From here we can reach all game functions like sound settings or credits. The game's functions are represented by animated icons at the bottom of the screen. To understand them you don't have to be able to read. There is no manual save function, our savegame is stored when leaving the game. The already visited scenes are indicated with numbered flags on the map of the main menu and can be visited by click (after successful completing one location one can restart the puzzles of these places this way).
To start the game we use the flag with the number 1 or the icon for 'continue' and become acquainted with our two small heroes.
"Pilot Brothers" is completely controlled by mouse with left-click. By clicking on an icon at the bottom of the screen we can select, which of the two protagonists we want to control in the game alternating: the uncle or 'chef', more careful considering the tasks with Sherlock Holmes outfit or his funny, but not so super-bright assistant and nephew, the man for the rough work. The one, who is selected, tries to carry out your instructions in accordance with his abilities. Mostly both heroes can take up objects for the inventory (likewise always visible at the bottom of the screen). But during actions, e.g. turning valves or playing piano, we must have selected the correct, let us speak capable character. Exactly the same with the use of inventory objects.
Hotspots are indicated when driving the mouse over it with a text description, which was sometimes not adapted to the German version, but probably had its origin in an English version. The interactive areas are thus indicated to us, but not all hotspots are actually relevant for the game progress. With one click on the quit-icon you'll be back in Windows without delay. Very simple controls, which make an immediate start possible. Only disadvantage: if you click by mistake the not selected character on the action screen, it becomes the acting character. This happens more often than you might think and isn't always noticed immediately, except you always have an eye on the character-select-icon.
The puzzles are sometimes a bit illogical, but make fun because they are varied, creative and humourous. And who thinks of logic in connection with a striped elephant. You must pursue the rogue through the individual areas and places and finally find the elephant. There are imaginative road crossings or one must skillfully abseil from the balcony. In addition one uses inventory objects, operates switches or finds out the correct order of actions to be accomplished by the two characters. A very tricky safe opening puzzle, electrical circuits and ballooning must be mastered. Even a deep fall does not kill our heroes, there is no GameOver.
By the way "Pilot Brothers" has also a crate puzzle. But nothing is pushed, it has to be solved more elegantly I can betray. The degree of difficulty is also interesting for adult adventurefans, as the possible combinations multiply with the two heroes with different abilities which one can let act in different order moreover. There are no action elements forcing you to react fast. I would categorize the balloon travel as (the only) mini-game, but you don't have to be really fast actually, but only await the correct time.
If you set half an hour for each game location - sometimes less sometimes noticeable longer - then you get a game length of 8-10 hours. If one should really be stuck, the walkthrough in the jewel-case helps. But use it carefully, it really spoils the fun, because the results of wrong combinations and attempts are worth seeing.
The graphics are kept in nice comic style added with many partial animated details. The shapes of our two protagonists resemble the actors of a thimble-theatre: small, compact, cylindrical. They do not speak much - if the player doesn't move for some time, the boss-character fetches his watch and requires 'Uhrenvergleich!' (= compare clocks), his nephew still talks more seldom and therefore sounds his brought-along cornet (looks a bit like a Marx Brothers' gag). And if an action is not possible, both say "Mist - geht nicht!" ("Crap - it doens't work!").
No sound effect is omitted. If one turns the television on, then the old boob tube wheezes and fizzles, doors creak in all variations, and each jump reminds of a snapping back spring, to mention only some. Super the jaunty-jazzy music á la Pink Panther, in each scene with a new title, and before you can say knife, you' at least will be tapping your foot to the music. If the music is too much in the center of attention for you, it can be switched off of course just like the sound effects.
"Pilot Brothers" is a humorous adventure game for the whole family, that can be easily controlled, has imaginative puzzles and doesn't get boring. It even runs on older and very old computers and is superior to many games for the same target group, which are predominantly focused on optics and technology. The characters are endearing and it's no wonder, that there will be soon a new adventure game in their homeland after the just published 3rd part of the series, this time in 3D. I can only say: "Have fun with the Pilot Brothers!"
Rating: 75 %
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:
- 486 DX 2/66
- WIN 95/98/NT
- 8 MB RAM
- 2x CDROM-drive
- Sound card recommended
- Windows XP
- P IV 1,6 GHz
- 512 MB RAM
- 16x DVD-ROM (Artec WRA-A40)
- nVidia GeForce 2MX400 64 MB graphic card
- Sound card DirectX-compatible
That's the main menu screen at the end of the game
We get to know about the disappearance of the rare elephant
Looking for clues in the zoo
In the sewers you should avoid the aggressive rats
Ballooning - the one real mini game
We must follow the evil Karbofoss
We've got him back!