A Case of the Crabs: A Nick Bounty mystery!

May15 It was a dark and foggy morning.  The fog was so thick you had to cut it with a knife.  The morning was so early, even the moon hadn’t gone to bed yet.  It was so dark, a blind man could see better than I could.  I stumbled into my office, and sat down to a breakfast of Johnny Walker red.  I sat around, for hours and hours.  I sat around so much I wore a groove into my seat.  I drank so much that I fell asleep until the next morning.  That was when SHE walked in.  All curves, not a straight edge or corner to be seen.  I had sworn off women ever since a man hired me to find out if his wife was cheating on him and I learned that his wife was my secretary and the man I was investigating was me.  In fact I lit out of town the instant I figured that out.  I decided I was going to be alone forever.  That is until she walked in.  She didn’t walk in again, I simply said it again to emphasize it.  The woman turned out to be my mom, and she had baked me some cookies.  Cookies so good you would have shot Betty Crocker just to taste them.  She also brought me the newest Nick Bounty Mystery, A Case of the Crabs.  Okay maybe it was the first, how was I to know?  Actually maybe she brought me the website address of Pinhead Games developers of the Nick Bounty games.  I don’t really remember, see I was drinking.  In fact this may have just been some creative wordplay because Nick Bounty is a comedy adventure mystery type game.  Now that I had wasted some space talking about myself in the third person I was ready to start the review.

ACaseOfTheCrabsSS01 Nick Bounty: A case of the crabs, will be hereby referred to as Nick Bounty so as to shorten it to something more writeable.  In any case Nick Bounty is a point and click adventure game.  The reason I’m reviewing this on a Friday, is because it’s actually a flash game.  You can download a version of it, which is identical to the web version, but it’s cool to play it on the web.  Nick Bounty is fairly humorous, and the interface is similar to an old Lucasarts SCUMM type interface.  You have six verbs, Look, Get, Use, Talk, Move, and Shoot.  I don’t think you get to shoot at all in this game.  But you do get to use Move once.  Note Move is not for walking, you simply walk by clicking the ground.  Essentially you click on a verb at the bottom left, and then on the object you want to interact with.  Inventory is on the bottom right.  You can use items with each other or with items in the scene.  The game contains spoken dialogue as well as printed dialogue.  The interface was ok except there is an inherent problem with the interface that was also present in the old Lucasarts games.  You click on a verb, and then on something in the scene, and then once it’s done it’s cleared again.  Also at times you think you’ve clicked but it doesn’t take.  Also in this game there’s a bit of pixel hunting which is kind of annoying, but doesn’t detract so much from the game.  Sometimes I couldn’t figure out where to walk because the cursor didn’t change.

ACaseOfTheCrabsSS02 I tended to use hints a lot in this game, because while the game isn’t overall that tough, some things didn’t make sense.  For instance, without giving it away, the rat trap puzzle.  I’ll give you a hint, the items you need are in your inventory.  Also the fuse box, and the squid crate.  I won’t tell you the solutions because I don’t want to spoil it for you but they tended to be things I wouldn’t know to try without looking somewhere or trying “everything with everything”.  The story is interesting, as are the characters and the game doesn’t last too long.  The graphics are in black and white to go with the “film noir” theme.  The animations are pretty staticy and vectory.  The drawings aren’t really that great either.  In fact they’re probably pretty much what I would do if I did make my own adventure game and did all my own art at this point.  The voice acting is actually pretty good, and the music is ok too.

Final Analysis:  If you like adventure games, and like to play games on the web, this game is for you.  It’s an interesting idea, single player adventure games on the web, but something we might see more of in the future.  I liked this ok, but maybe not as good as some amateur efforts like Ben Chandler’s Shifter’s Box, or Francisco Gonzalez’s Ben Jordan series.

ACaseOfTheCrabsSS03 Name: Nick Bounty: A Case of the Crabs

Developer: Pinhead Games (Quick note: Pinhead Games themselves may not have actually developed this game.  As the link seems to be off of something called the Otter Archives, however a lot of the stuff on that site doesn’t seem to work, and the CotC website seems to point to Pinhead Games.  So unless someone wants to correct me?)

Price: Free

Where you can play it / get it: Here!

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