Your name is Prick Peckard. You are a Barn Runner. Your job is to track down runaway robots. Your latest case is to track down a robot that has actually killed a human, and then gone into hiding somewhere in the BGCZ (Blue Grass Containment Zone). But this is not just any case. It's not just your standard 'Find robot, destroy robot, go home'. This case is different. This time, you are tracking down a friend! This is a bad day for you.
You were given this assignment a month ago, but you have been putting it off. Unfortunately, you can't put it off any longer. The day you have been dreading has finally arrived, and if that wasn't bad enough, you are also given the task of facing the victim's family to return some stolen items. Of course, getting in to see the family is not as easy as you would think. Things continue to get worse when The Chief has some bad news for you. This is definitely turning into the day from hell. And then the unthinkable happens...
This is the first part of a game that will be released in 5 chapters over the course of the next year. It uses a simple point-and-click interface, so it is easy to use, and the whole game is very customisable. Setup screen at the start allows you to set various options in the game, but these options can also be adjusted at any time by using the Controls screen within the game. There are buttons to turn Arcade Mode and Director's Cut mode on or off, as well as adjusting volume control, gamma, text speed etc. Director's Cut mode gives you extra content, such as extended conversations with characters, or more secrets to find. You are even given the choice if you want to Play or Skip the forest maze.
You will find words at top of the screen (move your mouse up there) for Look \\ Talk \\ Gear etc, as well as Save \\ Load \\ Quit. But Scott LeGere (the creator) has gone one step further to pull us into Prick's world. Each button lights up as your cursor passes over it, as though you are really interacting with some kind of console. When you click on 'Gear' to see what items you are carrying, it is shaped like a datalink, which I thought was an excellent touch. I also love the little Test Screens that you see when Saving or Loading a game. The Trivia button gives interesting information about many of the Barn Runner games, and also includes some funny comments from Scott.
The story is very well written, with lots of hilarious dialogue. Some of the things that Prick says and does has me in stitches. We even discover that he monologues his own dreams! Puzzles are great fun to solve - not too easy so you would get bored with the game, and not too hard to make you frustrated. But I have to mention the door-lock puzzle at Prick's apartment. That puzzle was very tricky, and had me stumped. At end of the game, you will be given a code. Each code is different, depending on what you have done in the game, what items you have picked up, what you have said to various people etc. It can be used at the start of the next chapter, and allows you to carry on with whatever side quests you have started (although you won't know the side quests yet), so make sure you keep a note of it. On the other hand, you can also start the next chapter with a clean slate, if you want.
Graphics in The Forever Friday are just wonderful. There are so many little 'effects' that you will enjoy. Most of the game is bright and colourful, which gives it a nice cartoony feel. But when Prick is in the forest, and it grows dark, he has to use a little nite lite, which transforms the forest into a very sinister place. Rain falling onto the ground was effective, and really emphasised Prick's bleak mood about the task at hand. At other end of the scale, seeing Prick running from the night chickens really made me laugh. I was also impressed when Prick crashed into Ark 19, and the whole screen shook. The dream sequence is just awesome to see, although it may not be suitable for very young gamers, as it contains some brief cartoon nudity. But thanks to some clever artwork by Scott, nothing is really revealed. Seeing the fish book club was a nice touch, as you don't often see fish discussing books!
MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS
Music is used with great effect. The game starts out with some creepy sci-fi music for the intro, but then changes frequently. Sometimes it seems sad and lonely, sometimes it is funny, and sometimes it is really quite sinister. There is a good variety, and it always seems to fit in with the current situation. My favourite was when Prick left the barn, and headed back to his car. It was very spooky, and I could imagine him creeping through the forest, not knowing what will jump out at him from the darkness.
The Forever Friday: Chapter 1 is an amazing adventure game that I highly recommend. The whole story is well written, and it will have you hooked from start to finish. Poor Prick's day just gets worse and worse, and you can't help feeling sorry for him. At the same time, some of his comments will have you in stitches. He is often lost in his own little world, and tends to twist what people say to fit his wild imagination. He even monologues his own dreams!!! The game is easy to play, and I love the interface that Scott has used - buttons light up as your cursor moves over them, inventory screen that looks like a datalink, using Test Screens to save or load a game, customisable controls that allow you to skip arcade sequences or turn Director's Mode on and off, and more. He has really gone the extra mile. Cut-scenes are brilliant to watch, and add a lot of depth to the game. Some of them are sad, some of them are funny, but they are all very enjoyable. Graphics are equally impressive. Strong, bright colours are used, which gives it quite a cartoony feel. Seeing Prick answer the door after his dream is a sight for sore eyes! If you look carefully at the end (in Foodcourt 212), the food on your table is different, depending on what stall you ordered from. Music was very effective, and always seemed to suit the situation. There was a good variety, so you don't here the same thing all the time. There's really not much I can find wrong with this game. The only thing that gave me problem was the tricky door-lock puzzle at Prick's apartment, as I couldn't figure out how to solve it. Just remember to keep note of that code, if you want to use it in Chapter 2.
Review by: Frodo