Bud Tucker in Double Trouble

Developer:  Merit Studios
Publisher:  Topware
Year Released:  1997

Review by Steve Ramsey (March, 2004)
Take one smart mouthed pizza delivery boy, add a kidnapped professor with a cloning machine, throw in an evil megalomaniac, and stir with a very large inventory, and you have the ingredients for this game. Needless to say there is some world saving to be done, and Bud is your man.

The game contained the pros and cons of many animated inventory based games. Lots and lots of wandering, numerous objects to be found and used in interesting and occasionally bizarre ways, a plethora of wacky characters to talk to, wisecracks and corny jokes that may or may not be funny, sight gags, insults and puns, trial and error, red herrings (sometimes literally), conversations to be exhausted, repetition, and untold errands to run.

Which are the pros and which are the cons are up to you.

To each his or her own
If you are regular reader of Quandary you may have picked up that these types of games are not generally my favourite. However, I have adopted a manner of gameplay which enables me to still have fun. Simply ignore what you don't find funny, refuse to be exasperated or annoyed at a particular solution, and don't be afraid to peek at a walkthrough. The last of these ensures that you do not get bogged down, keeps the whole thing moving, and eliminates the expenditure of vast amounts of time, particularly on a solution that makes you none the wiser or gives only incremental gain.

I'm not suggesting that this is essential in order to have a good time with these games, and with Bud Tucker in particular. Many players love games like this and the way they are put together (Rosemary is jumping up and down and clapping her hands with glee!). It is simply a matter of your own preferences. By playing in the way described above, I have been able to have a fun time playing a number of games that I might never have started or might have abandoned.

Having said that, I didn't have to peek much to complete the game. It is not too hard, nor too obtuse too often.

Nice and easy Windows
The game comes on a single disk and I had no lock-ups or crashes, nor were there any bugs. It is DOS based, but whilst there is some manual configuring of the sound card needed, it is easy to set up and run in Windows. Which probably shouldn't be surprising, given its release date of 1997. I simply installed through Control Panel, and after setting the soundcard, clicked the relevant DOS icon in Explorer, and away it went.

What is somewhat surprising given the release date is the quality of the graphics. They are nicely coloured and the scenes are fairly elaborate, but they are visually quite blocky, far more in keeping with games several years older. This occasionally made seeing some small items difficult, and some were very small indeed, and finding the (tiny) hotspot for such items was even more difficult.

The game is played in three parts. In the first part, Bud is searching for his friend, the kidnapped Professor, and more and more locations will become available to him as he completes tasks and finds relevant items. In the second part, Bud must find a way for him and the Professor to escape, and in the third part he must, of course, help the Professor defeat the evil villain Dick Tate.

The voice acting is not too bad, some characters better than others. Rik Mayall provides the voice for Dick Tate, and anyone familiar with his work will not be surprised to hear that Dick is completely vain and outrageously over the top. I thought Rick made a good Dick.

Some of the humour is reminiscent of some of Rick's work. For instance, Bud will insult you in a variety of ways if you try and get him to do something incorrect, and watch what happens if you leave him with nothing to do for too long.

I have already said I ignore the things I don't find funny, but there are some good lines in the course of Bud's adventure. The gag about the psychic and the underpants was the pick. The visual humour is similarly a matter of taste. I did enjoy watching the denouement.

Working with Bud
Bud's world occupies about the top two-thirds of the screen. Things and characters he can interact with will be indicated as you pass your cursor over the screen. The bottom third is occupied by the inventory items you collect, and a set of icons which enable you to perform the various actions required. For example, there are icons for "look at", "use" and "pickup", to name just a few. It will be a familiar interface to anyone who was played these sorts of games.

The bottom third will also contain your dialogue trees when conversing with another character. On occasion, an automatic sequence will be triggered, or a short cut-scene will play, and the bottom third will be blank whilst this is going on. Very occasionally, a cut scene will play full screen.

Some of the locations which Bud will explore will scroll left and right as Bud walks across the screen. Others are contained in single screens. A map is used to walk between some locations, always a good point.

There are no subtitles, but there is some musical accompaniment. This tends to change with a change of location, and also tends to stop after a short time, leaving you in silence until you again change location. Ambient sounds are also present.

As a game to play, Bud Tucker is not worth the large amount you will likely have to pay to buy a copy (this game having joined the collectable pantheon), but if you can borrow it you may well have a few fun days, particularly if this type of game is your cup of tea.

Screenshots courtesy of Zoltan Ormandi of Adventure Gamers Hall of Fame rating:  

Copyright © Steve Ramsey 2004. All rights reserved.

System Requirements:
DOS 5.x (played in Windows 98), 486 DX2-66 processor, 8 MB RAM, 2x CD ROM, VGA card.