Adventure & Mystery
Al Lowe is the funnyman of home video games – just ask any ofLeisure Suit Larry’s devoted fans. So when Al set about designing a game suitable for his young daughter, it’s not surprising that he made it humorous. Torin’s Passage (Sierra On-Line) looks, on the surface, like a regular, if high-budget, kids’ adventure game. The animation is nearly Disney quality, the music is done by an Academy Award-winning composer, the voices are mostly high and piping, and the hero – a 16-year old boy – carries a cute fuzzy animal named ‘Boogle’ everywhere he goes. When an evil wizard puts Torin’s folks into suspended animation, Torin must strike out and explore the five ‘nested worlds’ that form this universe, in the hopes of finding the wizard and forcing him to return his parents to normal. Once the action has started, Al Lowe’s sense of humor begins to show through, and the smaller kids become mystified. References to Chuck Berry are all well and good for grown-ups, but our youngest reviewers found themselves not only confused but unamused. Perhaps, then, the game should be considered as a grown-up’s title; there’s plenty of sly, multi-level humor to keep us entertained. But the aesthetic of the program is a bit too happy for the average adult, and the puzzles are, on the whole, not terribly difficult. Torin’s Passage is stuck straddling two audiences that may be mutually exclusive. It also suffers from a flaw that afflicts many other adventure games – an excess of dialogue. These not-so-slight problems aside, it’s a top-drawer disc with several cool features, including a scrollbar that actually scrolls the playing field, a hint-for-points exchange, and the option of skipping immediately to any ‘chapter’ – that is, to any nested world. Clever problem-solving activities run the gamut from hand-eye coordination to pure mental gymnastics. As family entertainment Torin’s Passage can provide hours of fun, with the parents explaining references to the children, and the children giving the parents a reason to sit through Boogle’s latest slapstick routine.
– February 1996