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Adventures of Thumper: Wonder Wombat Reviews
Author: Chris Tyson (Diablo)
Date: 2002
ADRIFT 3.9


Reviewed by: David Whyld

Whether you like this game depends pretty much on your sense of humour - personally I loved it.

The general idea behind it revenge. Dazza the Dingo has burnt down your house and you've set off with an AK47 rifle to exact a little "payback".

Wonder Wombat is set in a darkly comic world inhabited almost exclusively by animals (the exception being Mattdarkbaron who pops up as a strange man spouting lots of gibberish (amidst cries of "not much change there then!")). But these are not just your ordinary everyday animals: they walk and talk, trade items, moan about the trials and tribulations of life and generally make the game a pretty damn enjoyable one to play.

There are several nice features used in Wonder Wombat, the niftiest being the Swear-O-Meter which allows the user to turn off (or on) the levels of bad language in the game. It's not entirely successful (you still get occasional bad language in even the 'clean' version) but it's certainly an interesting idea that should be used again.

Wander around the game and you'll encounter a wide variety of characters. Perhaps too many characters if the truth be told. At times its confusing keeping track of them all and what it is they want (and it pretty much goes without saying that they all want something). I found myself struggling to remember just who was who. But that's just a minor quibble really; the characters are amusingly rendered and seem very believable. Their dialogue is always interesting, if a little on the "colourful" side in even the clean version of the game. Maybe a few more hints giving a clue as to what the characters wanted - and where to find what they wanted - would have been a good idea.

You can talk to the various characters in the game but it's difficult to actually hold a conversation with them as they only seem to have a standard 
reply to whatever you say. While this is a pity, the dialogue is very comical and it's hard to find fault with it.

A good number of the puzzles I encountered seemed to involve the tried-and-tested technique of "find an item, give it to a character, find 
another item, give it to another character, etc, etc…". This isn't really a bad thing in itself because, as mentioned above, there are a lot of characters in this game and an equally large number of items. But, as also mentioned above, sometimes the sheer volume of characters becomes overwhelming. The same applies to the items. It's easy enough to find items, but very difficult to find anything to actually do with them (or maybe it's just me going about things the wrong way).

Wonder Wombat comes with a hints system to help out the poor player who's become stuck but the hints, while occasionally helpful, never really give you enough of a clue to be able to figure out some of the more difficult puzzles.

Where Wonder Wombat comes through best is the humour. Sometimes it's just downright crude (the swearing competition in the stadium being a classic example of this) but it's hard not to find yourself grinning along all the same.

Quite how parents with impressionable children would view this game I'm not sure but, personally, I found it endlessly amusing.

Logic: 7 out of 10
For a game set in a world inhabited by talking animals, Wonder Wombat had a surprisingly refreshing logic. Not everything was straightforward but a fair sum of the puzzles were easily thought out with a little effort.

Problems: 9 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
Only one thing caused me a problem: trying to talk to a character at the back of the nightclub and, for some strange reason, finding myself knocking on a door instead!

A lesser point is the intro to the game which, while setting the mood well enough, does take a while to get through thanks to the annoying pauses. An 
option to skip the intro would have been a blessing.

Story: 7 out of 10
Basically, the story is just so much nonsence but then the whole game is nonsence and that doesn't distract from it being endlessly inventive and 
amusing.

Characters: 8 out of 10
Interesting, amusing and believable characters. Too many characters? Maybe.

Writing: 7 out of 10
The writing really showed its flair in the witty dialogue between the player and the characters in the game. In the location descriptions however it did tend to 
lean towards the basic side of things.

Game: 8 out of 10
All in all, a very good game that shows that comedy can easily hold its own against the more serious genres.

Overall : 46 out of 60


Review by Robert Rafgon

When I was looking for a game to play, the description for the Adventures of Thumper - Wonder Wombat caught my attention and I decided to try it. The first thing I discovered is that this is a very funny game, although it is a fairly crude sense of humour. That doesn't worry me, but it may offend some people. There is a No Swearing gameplay option, which may improve it a little, but if you want to use this mode, then this game is probably not for you. Unfortunately this kind of humour does become a bit less funny after the first time. 

One of the best features of the game is the many, many distinctive NPCs and locations. These all have humorous descriptions and it is fun to wander around and see what you can find. Unfortunately, the consequent large number of interactions has also made this into a weakness in the game, as there are some problems with sparse implementation. Whilst the game contains lots of rooms, these rooms are often empty of objects that can be interacted with. The objects that are there often do not have logical interactions included. I did not like that the "Ask Character About" command generates the same amusing response, no matter what topic is chosen. If this is the case in a game, I feel it would be better to instead just use a "Talk to Character" command, rather then give the illusion of choice. 

Another bad feature is that there are timers that you regularly have to fulfil, which is a feature I really dislike in IF. One of these timers can kill you, if 
you wander around for too long without taking precautions. This is very frustrating, as when the game is restarted you have to sit through the long 
introduction again. The introduction was funny the first time, but grew progressively more annoying as I continued. 

This game is very hard, which is mainly due to the illogical nature of the game world. This provides humour, but also creates puzzles where you are trying to guess the one solution that the author had in mind. The game sometimes failed to hint adequately as to what this one solution is. At times I found myself trying randomly to use all of my many inventory items, hoping that one of them would work (and generally none of them did). Many items do not have multiple uses and finding their one specific function is difficult. Unfortunately the longer you persist in trying to solve this game, the more you will probably become disillusioned with the game's weaknesses, especially when your sensible solutions keep failing. 

The game suffers from being unclear, especially in not explaining why what I was doing would actually help me achieve the game's ultimate goal. Despite being a fun environment to wander around aimlessly in, I would prefer more of a sense of purpose. However, it is a testament to the game that I kept trying again and again (and failing again and again) to succeed until I eventually did, rather than just give up. In general I enjoyed playing the Adventures of Thumper - Wonder Wombat, but it could have been designed much better. 

Score - 7/10 


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