Little Big Adventure: Re-releases Review

I pretend I’m a nice person, but I’ve got a racist secret. I have a lifelong gut-level problem with French animation. It started with Robo Story in the ’80s. My enduring memory of this cartoon is a cowering robot helmet called the White Wriggler. That’s not right, is it? Calling a character the White Wriggler? Anyway, he was exposed in the spotlight of a disembodied voice known as the Revered Reverence. This was such a lazy caricature of power-hungry evil, that even as a seven-year-old child I thought “well, this character fails to capture the mundanity of evil, and has ruined names based on religious tautology for me.” Divine Divinity never stood a chance.

Since then, French animation has left me cold. From Robo Story to Belleville Rendezvous, from the hollow attempts to mimic human emotion in The True Story of Puss’n Boots to the dead-eyed opening jokes about prison rape in Mars: War Logs, all leave me feeling like my bones have been drained of marrow. It feels like my skin is retreating from every point on my body and attempting to turn liquid and squirt out of my coccyx. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s difficult to control: when I started playing Little Big Adventure, I felt my scalp attempting to slide down my spine, and my brain whispered “hold on, Log this feels a bit... French.”

So that’s the level of hateful prejudice we’re dealing with here. It’s why I can sympathise with recent gate-related events in the games industry because I know what it’s like to feel irrational, knee-jerk disgust at the creative output of an arbitrary group of people. It’s also why I was quietly thrilled to enjoy Little Big Adventure. Perhaps this could be my healing bridge, my path to finally enjoying Les Nouvelles Adventures de Lucky Luke. For starters, any game that starts with an overlong history of a planet, only to then destroy that planet, has to win points for dickin’ wid ya.

Twinsen, our ungainly hero, has ‘stances’. With old-school tank controls, your stance mainly decides what the hell the spacebar does. Be aggressive, and it’ll swing a punch. Basically, all the moves we’re used to having dedicated buttons for, have been parcelled up into stances, because this was the olden days, and things only lookedsimple back then.

And lest you thought this game was twee, with a villain called Dr Funfrock, and races called the Grobos, Queequogs, Slurpy WahWahs, Wiffleparps and several other insufferable names I just made up, this is also a game in which you murder a nurse. Then a doctor. Then another guy who’s guilty of nothing more than being about to press a button. Then another nurse and another doctor, before talking to a rabbit. It’s like a mix of American Psycho and Donnie Darko.

LBA has some charm, but its main utility for me was to make me feel less prejudiced.


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