Down in the Dumps
Preview by Al Giovetti, 09/22/96
Release: September 1996
Genre: Adventure game
Developer: Haiku Studios (France)
Publisher: Philips Media
requirements: PC: 486DX, 66 mhz (Pentium recommended), MS-DOS 5.0, 2X CD-ROM drive, SuperVGA (640 x 480, 256 colors), SoundBlaster compatible, keyboard, Mouse
History: Out in the vast universe there are the potato beings and the intergalactic gang of bank robbers. For millennia they have avoided contact and now an incomprehensible set of circumstances set in motion by the five fates of far space combine to cause these two aliens to collide while the Blubs are returning from vacation and the slime balls are returning from a drinking binge. Haiku Studios, a french company, is also producing the Demon Driver title for Philips.
Plot: Striking 3-D graphics depict the main characters, called The Blubs, small potato-like extra-terrestrials who just happen to crash land on the earth with their spaceship. The Blubs are just like your own little dysfunctional family, including Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Daughter, Son and even Pet. You will get to know and love the Blubs as you explore the mounds of chaotic trash in the universe of the dump.
Game play: Help the aliens repair the ship and defeat nasty space crooks who have their own ship, while visiting interesting and scenic locations involving other small Earth creatures, who miraculously talk and sing, what else, rock-and-roll. Five plot lines, called chapters, run parallel to each other so the game can be played again with a different plot and outcome. The chapters are like cartoons with the Blubs playing the cartoon characters. Visit rock and roll frogs and lice having a party on a bums head. Its digusting, its dirty, and its funny and you will want to wallow in it a bit.
The game has inventory management, exploration, interactions and discussions between characters, and the ever present adventure staple puzzles. The game is presented in the third person cinematic perspective with a simple point and click interface. An interesting game feature is the ability to record any game and play it back as a cartoon. Descriptive cinematic cut scenes intersperse with the action and are designed to look exactly like the game itself to have more or less seemless intergration.
Puzzles: Dozens of puzzles Involve sticky, icky trash with the obligatory treasure hunt type, where you find, combine, and use the items.
Graphics: Pre-rendered 256-color, 640x 480 pixel, high-resolution, three dimensional graphics of the Blubs and their disgusting dump have to be seen to be believed. Fully rendered three dimensional (3D) characters in disgusting realism. Where is the scratch and sniff card?
Animation: Each humorous animated cut scene has its own edge and interesting plot development. "Lovable characters."
Humor: Wry adult humor blended with slapstick comedy characterize the disgustingly odiferous title.
Cindy Yans, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, pg. 52.
Christine Grech Wendin, PC Games, volume 3, number 8, August, 1996, pg. 33.