6.4

Pirate Fry and Volcano Island review
A pirate's tale

The good:

  • Very colored and exotic
  • Good humor
  • Enigmas are easy to solve
  • Intuitive gameplay

    The bad:

  • Some problems for going from a screen to another
  • No sound (due to the engine version)
  • Windows version not working

    Summary:

    Fry (I can't remember his name, Mose? Moons? Moose?) is a pirate who needs to get a license for pursuing his job because the Pirates Guild's chief said so. So, after solving a logic test, he's thrown into Volcano Island, where the locals use heads as bowling balls. He has to pass the triple test: kill someone or something, steal something and redeem himself by doing something good like saving a damsel in distress.

    Pirate Fry is another series made with the AGS engine but contrary to Rob Blanc where the three games were made in 2000 with the same engine, the three Pirate Fry are made with different engines, at least for the Isle of the Deads. Like Rob Blanc, Pirate Fry and Volcano Island is made with a earlier version of AGS where graphics are made with MS Paint and where soundtrack isn't read by recent computers.

    If you played Rob Blanc, you'll not be disoriented by Pirate Fry gameplay. It's still point&click but in the old fashion way. For walking, you have to select "walk" (a little man), for picking objects or interacting with your environment, you have to select the icon hand, for speaking, well, use the (!) for opening the dialog box at the bottom in order to choose your sentences and for looking, use the magnifying glass. You can also choose your action by right-click as you don't have to be fast in this game for choosing what you want to do (contrary to a Ben Jordan for example, made with later versions of the AGS). You can also open your inventory for picking items and using them.

    There is one huge flaw. The fact that for changing screens, you had to be precise. I mean by that that if you don't put correctly Fry in the right direction or if you don't click on the right spot, you will not go from a screen to another. It's kind of frustrating. Also, when climbing the Volcano in the end, you don't have a close up of the path, it's a general view. So you think that by clicking on the top, Fry will go to that place without problems. You've been fooled. Because you have to click to the end of the first lane, etc etc.. And sometimes, you click but Fry doesn't move, meaning that you weren't on the good spot.

    Graphics are made with MS Paint, probably because of the engine version (see Rob Blanc for example, released in 2000 - Pirate Fry is from 2001). It's very cute, very colored but contrary to Rob Blanc, where the brightness was too much sometimes, here, the developer, Squinky Productions, has balanced everything. It's not always so bright (the beach are but not the background for example). And as the game is displayed in full screen, it's a good point for the eyes.

    It seems that the same engine doesn't let the recent computers to play the soundtrack. I've had the same problem with Rob Blanc (and not with Ben Jordan for example). So I'm disappointed to not enjoy completely the game because of that matter.

    As I've stated in the "good" section, enigmas are easy to solve. When you're trying to do a wrong thing, Fry lets you know it by making a comment and usually, it will help you to solve the problem. Oh, perhaps that for the first puzzle with the egg and the bottle will cause you some thinking but it was the most difficult thing to solve. One of the passages reminds about Pokémon or Bomberman Tournamnent on GBA as you have a pet you had to change into a bigger one (for the old man on the island who can make him a real monster). It's so cute to see the little monster growing up.

    Pirate Fry, as a first game for the developer, isn't an exception to the rule first game = short game (I mean, when you're doing yourself a game and that you test the engine). See Rob Blanc, Ben Jordan or the mods for Dink Smallwood (every first mod is very short). But I must admit that Pirate Fry is a little longer than Rob Blanc and about the same lenght as Ben Jordan 1. Meaning that you will play between 30 minutes and 1 hour. It's a good way to relax during a break for example.

    Finally, I couldn't play the Windows version, it wasn't working, giving me an error message. I wanted to play it and I tried to find a good version. I ended up on old Squinky website with download link to a DOS version. I tried it and oh miracle, the game was working. If I didn't make some search, I wouldn't have been able to write this review, to write a walkthrough in my language (I always play the games I'm writing a soluce for) and the most important, enjoy completely the trilogy.

    I recommend playing Pirate Fry series, this first story is coherent enough to make you laugh, enjoyable to play and well, perhaps that my rating of 3.2/5 seems severe but I didn't have the soundtrack and the fact that the Windows version, who is the version you'll find more often, isn't working. So if you want to play Pirate Fry, download the DOS version. Otherwise, I don't think that you'll be able to play it.

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