The most bodacious computer licence ever reaches the Amiga (but bodacious it isn't!)
Okay, first things first. Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure is based upon the minor cult film of the same name. If you aren't familiar with it than (a) you are too old, (b) you are too boring, and (c) you are probably too intelligent to be reading this. Luckily I don't fit into any of those categories, and have been a long time fan of Bill and Ted (not leasy because of an enormous number of links it rejoices in with the world of rock music, which are far too convoluted to go into here).
The basic premise of the film (and indeed the game) is that Bill and Ted are two LA valley-dudes, who have formed a band called the Wyld Stallynz (with a view to recruiting Edward Van Halen), but have run into problems at school. Unless they get an A+ for their history test, they'll be kicked out. Enter Rufus, a totally cool, time-travelling dude (Yes, this review is going to be brimming with corny LA-speak). Rufus informs them that the music of the Wyld Syallynz actually forms the basis for future civilisation, and that passing the history test is a pivotal point for our heroes. Thus, they are given possession of a time-travelling phone booth (Well, what did you expect? A police box?), a directory of time zones to dial up, and a mission to find lotsa dudes from various points in history, bring them back to school, and use them in a seminar to pass the exam. Simple, huh?
But what of the game itself? Ah, yes. It basically involves moving Bill and Ted around various time zones and trying to locate famous dudes, from Joan Of Arc to Genghis Khan. Objects are littered arouond the place, which when given to various characters will cause them to follow you (it's not giving too much away to tell you that giving a fire extinguisher to the lightly toasted Joan of Arc will convince her to join you, for instance). Then it's simply a matter of popping one or two of them into the phone booth, dropping them off at the local shopping mall back in the present day and going off in search of more dudes. Some situations aren't quite so straightforward, and involve weird sub-games including a 2D maze cum cat-and-mouse affair and even a (very) simplified Donkey Kong variant. Bill And Ted is nothing if not bizarre (dudes).
Right now that we've got the complicated waffly stuff outta the way, it's time for some bodacious analysis. After playing the game for fifteen minutes, something strange happened...
I finished it.
I decided this was either down to my own excellence, or something to do with playing the game at the lowest difficulty setting. However, after trying the harder levels, I can safely say it's still not exactly the most difficult game in the world - and quite frankly not the best either.
I've rarely seen a game design as simple as this one, and it doesn't help the program any in the longevity stakes. If anybody out there remembers the original Back To The Future game, they'll have a basic idea of what to expect (though Bill And Ted isn't nearly as bad). Despite the sampled sound and cool references to the film, the whole thing feels quite tacky. Having said that, I actually quite enjoyed it. Sorry and everything, and I'm perfectly willing to admit that it's probably down to my love of the film, but it's fun.
It's also undeniably very, very average. And sadly that's something a Bill And Ted game should never be. Excellent, yes. Bodacious, most surely. But never average.
The whole thing is just too undemanding and unspectacular to merit the asking price. It would be ideal for the younger players, but older dudes really needn't bother - it just isn't excellent enough to really cut it.