Adventure & Mystery
Devo Presents Adventures of the Smart Patrol
It’s been more than a year since we interviewed Gerald Casale from Devo (indelibleNews! Vol 1 No 5), and heard about Devo Presents Adventures of the Smart Patrol, the CD-ROM in the works at iNSCAPE. Now Smart Patrol has finally been released, and we’re sorry to say that it’s a disappointment in almost every way. Devowas involved in all aspects of this production, and while their aesthetic leanings may be interesting, their story-telling and conceptualizing talents leave much to be desired. Let’s start with the aesthetics, the only thing the program has going for it. The wacky five-member Smart Patrol, the futuristic Spud City, the villainous Turkey Monkey, and all sorts of other narrative debris (like the Pilgrims and Big Media) may not count for much when it comes to telling a cohesive story, but they do enjoy some measure of success in evoking a surreal, media-inspired, satirical vision of the future. The game feels like Kids In The Hall meets Terry Gilliams’ Brazil, with none of the wit or solid execution. The technology iNSCAPE has put behind this sensibility feels out-dated, providing the player with little animation, little motion, few surprises, and severely limited options on any given screen. The interface device – navigating the city in a car while digital hours click by, and choosing a different location for each hour – backfires as often as it works. You might arrive somewhere and take two or three steps before you’re told that your hour is up. There’s a lot of other stuff going on here, but users will likely become so put-off during the beginnings of their Smart Patrol experience that they’ll never make it that far. We envy them.
– October 1996