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Little Big Adventure

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Released: 1995

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: PC - DOS

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: Adeline Software

Submitted by: Francis Clarke

Little Big Adventure was one of the first PC games I ever had a chance to play, fleetingly, as my dad looked around PC world when I was younger. I had no idea what I was doing, and played it for about 2 minutes in total, so it’s a testament to the games unique visual style that I remembered my small play test when I stumbled upon the game nearly half a decade later.

LBA is an action adventure with the emphasis for once placed on the ‘adventure’. The story revolves around the games protagonist, Twinsen, as he fights against the oppression of the planets dictator Dr. Funfrock, who has turned the entire world into a police state. It sounds like the setup for a fairly dark game, but the overall presentation of the game is bright and colourful, and looks more like something from Richard Scarry than George Orwell.

Interacting with people and objects and doing some good old fashioned inventory puzzling went hand in hand with incredibly frustrating platform elements and action sequences, but it was the way the game was controlled that was the most unique.

Using four different modes, the protagonist Twinsen would respond differently to the same set of controls. Pressing the action key in ‘Action mode’ sent Twinsen into a kicking and punching frenzy, while pressing it in ‘Athletic mode’ caused him to jump, complete with a wholly unnecessary but hugely satisfying ‘BOING!’ noise.

What could have been a disastrous and fiddly control system gave the game added depth as you worked out the best way to approach a situation. Twinsen himself is actually quite weak, and combined with the fact your main weapon is essentially a bouncy ball, the game was as much about staying out of combat than it was fighting your way through.

The joy of the Little Big Adventure isn’t in the controls or the combat though – it’s in the beautiful, flowing detail of the games environments, in the hilarious voice acting and in the knowledge that you’re playing a game about brutal oppression that also has talking elephants.