In every top 10 list of the most-metal-games-EVER, you’ll find Brutal Legend in there somewhere. The game offered a razor-sharp script, voice acting from Jack Black and a comprehensive check list of every trope known to the gods of metal.
However years before Brutal Legend, the same designer worked on a game which rarely, if ever bothers those same top 10 lists. Which is a tragedy, as it crushes its younger sibling like a dancing dwarf under a full scale Stonehenge trillionth.
Few games manage the cross over between rock and gaming as perfectly as the 1995 adventure Full Throttle.
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The game mixes motorcycles, leather jackets and film noir sensibilities as it follows Ben, the leader of outlaw biker gang The Polecats.
Set in 2040, Full Throttle challenges players to help Ben clear his name - and that of the Polecats - after they’re framed for murdering the head of last motorcycle manufacturer Corley Motors.
Ben is aided by a mysterious mechanically-gifted woman called Maureen and a journalist called Miranda who help him clear the gang’s name and save Corley Motors from the naked ambitions of Malcolm Corley’s true assassin.
Full Throttle is one of a series of adventure games created by legendary point-and-click studio Lucasarts. They made a spectacular reputation for themselves with adventure games like Sam and Max: Hit the Road, The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle – games with an insane sense of humour, perfectly-pitched soundtracks and fiendish puzzles.
Development on Full Throttle was headed up by Day of the Tentacle designer and self-confessed metal-head Tim Schafer (who later went on to give the world Brutal Legend). It was the first project that allowed Schafer to share his love of rock and metal culture with the world and it’s probably the passion that he poured into Full Throttle that makes it so compelling.
Schafer’s creative skills are ably assisted by some impressive voice acting from Mark Hamill as Adrian Ripburger, Simpsons and Futurama voice actress Tress MacNeill and Kath Soucie who’s provided voices an insane array of cartoons including classics like Biker Mice from Mars, Earthworm Jim and Spawn as well as games like Kingdom Hearts, Baldur’s Gate II and Tomb Raider.
The game is a triumph of pacing but what really sells it is the impressive intro sequence that sets the gruff and rocking tone for the whole story. Helping to bring this to life in most triumphant fashion is the music from the opening sequence which is one of several tracks provided for the game by The Gone Jackals from their 1995 album Bone to Pick.
Full Throttle was actually pretty groundbreaking for Lucasarts as it was probably the first games that they created that used licensed music in the soundtrack – a pretty forward-thinking effort for 1995.
The game was almost lost in time thanks to the decline of point-and-click adventures (and the rise of Doom-era first person shooters) but Tim Schafer’s own studio, Doublefine, has been slowly reviving his classic Lucasarts games with permission from new owners Disney. Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango are already available in remastered form on PC, PS4 and PS Vita. Full Throttle is getting the same treatment with a proposed 2017 release which is good news because Full Throttle is pure heavy metal gold. If you’re a metal fan and a gamer, you need Full Throttle in your life.