Pink Panther's Passport to Peril
Release date: 1996
Developer: Wanderlust Interactive/Adrenalin Interactive
Game language: German
8 years and up
A review by slydos 26th May 2003
"Pink Panther - Passport to Peril" comes on one CDROM with German manual in the unusual shape of a cake quarter box, which one can fold up. The game was published by Ravensburger Interactive in other boxes too, but doesn't take as much space in the shelf as an eurobox.
The (automatic) installation was planned for Windows 3.1, but runs off in Windows XP just as smoothly, even if the game is already some years old. This becomes only noticeable when for the possible filename input only 8 characters are available - a remnant from DOS. Approx. 10 MB are needed on hard disk. It's playable both in a window and full screen and you have at any time, also during the intro or other automatic sequences, access to the menu at the top of the screen.
Already the intro gives something to laugh: The famous MGM lion has got baby lions who are lazing around the famous logo of the licensers - funny! During the long funny-exciting intro, where you watch the pink superspy walking to his client supervisor Clouseau, you may miss the well-known theme song by Henry Mancini. But the current intro music is likewise a suspenseful piece, which fits excellently into the spy story. Clouseau tells the panther the details of his order:
In the summer camp Chilly Wa-Wa are a number of very special children from many parts of the world, whose future task will be to take care of peace on earth. Pink Panther has to guard these children. But when the shady characters of the Federal Office for Camping Supervision emerge and the children become rebellious and disappear, Pink must travel to their home countries, to finally thwart the plans of the evil Dog Father and his henchmen with wit and humour.
Pink Panther is a mouse-controlled 3rd-person adventure game. Additionally there are some short-keys for certain functions.
We cannot move our hero directly to certain places. He only moves, when we click at a hotspot, to interact. At a hotspot we can speak with other characters, take up/use objects or cause actions. We recognize hotspots by the change of the cursor: because then the index finger of the small hand lights up. Unfortunately the developers are not consistent here, because there are a lot of hotspots, where nothing lights up! Here only combining and trying out helps. It also helps that the selected inventory objects are brightly yellow bordered when usable, if we move them over a hotspot - which must not necessarily be successful. The inventory opens in the center of the screen, if we click on our hero and shows one object without text description. The arrows let us browse through the inventory.
Scene exits are marked by arrows. Of course our super agent often automatically travels to other scenes after solving certain puzzles. Here and there we also must find means of transport, in order to get to other places. Dialogues run off automatically.
If we click on an object with the right mouse button, we get an explanation from the Pink PDA encyclopedia. In the menu line we find the PDA, which lets us experience a lot of interesting facts about the cultures of the different homelands of the children, about language, nature, art, religion, clothes etc..
Likewise in the menu line is the save and load function, where we can create unlimited files in Windows mode. We can likewise set the volume here, pause or quit the game, listen to the different songs of the game with their film sequences or visit the help-file written in rhymes.
The controls are relatively easy to use, disturbing is only the fact that not all hotspots are emphasized logically homogeneous and sometimes are also covered by the Panther, whom you cannot simply let step aside. Nice idea, not simply to attach a complete walkthrough, but a hint file stimulating your brain in poem form.
Even if the game wants to be suitable for smaller children, it is not really understandable, why one didn't add the dialogues and particularly the inventory descriptions in text form for grown-ups nevertheless.
The 2D-comic graphics are beautifully multicolored and lively, just as one knows Pink Panther from TV. Animations and film sequences are likewise attractive. Particularly amazing that our hero has the German dubbing voice of Roger Moore, Niels Clausnitzer! There is a lot of dialogue and from time to time there is even an extra song performed by one of the fellow characters. With the songs however not only the pop-music and the video sequences are relevant, but also the texts. Unfortunately nobody thought of a translation (sub-titles), so that a quantity of the German children, who don't understand English, will miss e.g. the Chinese regulations about the one-child-marriage or the building of the Taj Mahal. By the way the game is by no means unpolitical, but points with the greatest of ease at problems in the different countries, may it be the disease transmission by holy water in India and their caste system or the extermination of the Aborigines in Australia.
The puzzles, mainly dialogue and object puzzles, are relative easy and surely solvable for children starting from 6, however they are again not so easy that not also adults would have to think about the one or other task. By the absence of some hotspot marks, as described above, it even sometimes becomes tricky. The game process is linear, without bypasses or dead ends. Our superspy first tries to solve all problems good-natured and without violence, but sometimes he must put the bad ones in comic manner in their place, so that it can happen, that an opponent ends flattened on the wall or something like that. There are however no action or reaction sequences, or otherwise often used minigames for the target group - Pink Panther is a pure adventure game. There are also no time limits or Game Overs.
"Pink Panther - Passport to Peril" is a really recommendable adventure for the whole family. And also just by the way an excellent edutainment game, where even adults will experience new. So you learn in passing without a contrived looking plot. In addition Pink Panther's dry sense of humor, excellently synchronized, and an exciting, long and not immediately transparent story with surprising turns. I played it for several weeks and estimate the pure continuous game length about 22+ hours. That is by far more, than edutainment titles offer nowadays. At present the rightful award-winning game can be purchased at pearl.de.
Rating: 81 %
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 requirement:
- 80486/66 MHz
- from Windows 3.1(Windows 95 and XP too)
- 8 MB RAM
- 10 MB free space on hard disk
- 2x CDROM-drive
- Sound card 100% Soundblaster compatible
- Monitor 640 x 480 with 256 colours
- Mouse, speakers
- 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
Pink Panther, super spy
MGM's baby lions
Approaching the secret entrance
A lot of information in the PDA
1st stop: London
Listening to the bad guys in Stonehenge
Meeeting interesting people in the pub
An Indian market place