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Tony Tough 2 Preview

Tony Tough 2 pack shot
Genre:Point and Click Adventure
Official Site:http://www.tonytough2-game.de/
Release Date:TBA (UK)
Writer:James Barlow (Malis)

Point and click adventures it seems, are like London buses. Wait an age for one to come along and suddenly a baker's dozen pitch up at once. If you're an adventure game fan, things are looking very rosy indeed at the moment. We had Secret Files: Tunguska a few months back, and Sam & Max' return to gaming more recently. Now make way for a new point and click star; the scruffy, scrawny, bespectacled little urchin Tony Tough. Tony Tough 2: A Rake's Progress is a prequel to little known adventure game Tony Tough and the Night of the Roasted Moths - one which I certainly never played, but was met with some critical success.

Set in the town of Washington in New Mexico, the game seems to revolve around the events of one fateful day in 1953. Tony Tough is a geeky 13 year-old who will have to solve a mystery involving the death of one of the residents of this tiny village, right after he's managed to escape from detention of course.

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You'll immediately be drawn to the graphical style of Tony Tough 2, which uses a mix of 3D characters and 2D backgrounds, seamlessly blended. The level of detail in each scene is pleasing, and it's great to see just how well the characters can interact with the scenery. For example, using a rope on a clothes hook sees Tony reach into his bag and whip out the rope before reaching onto the pre-rendered background and hooking it on. It may not sound like much, but quality of animation really helps invest player interest in games.

Of course, adventures like these live and die by their script, so it's here where Tony Tough 2 will really need to shine if it's to sit shoulder to shoulder with the latest Sam & Max. The dialogue is pleasingly adult, despite Tony's on-screen age. Tony has a dry, somewhat introverted sense of humour, and much of the jokes come from his sarcastic and lengthy observations on actions the player has asked him to do. For example, ask him to cover a live frog with glue and he'll tell you that he will happily oblige - once he's found a use for a dead glue-covered frog of course. He'll often talk to camera and player directly too - much to the astonishment of his friends who think he's either insane or talking to an imaginary friend. Refreshingly there seems to be an individual response for most combinations of items and and environment 'hot' zones, with most featuring Tony mocking the player for their poor choices. If this is kept up through the game it'll be a most welcome feature.

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In the build which I played there seemed to be no voice acting present, though there will be in the final version. As such it was hard to gauge just how funny the final script will be - a lot will depend on the vocals of whoever is playing Tony, as it will be hard to mix his innocent teenage outlook with deadpan witticisms. A strong vocal cast could well make or break this game.

But how do the puzzles play? Well from what I've played puzzles and items seem to be limited to scenes, which makes it a little easier to work out what gets used where. While the puzzles aren't totally logical, there is a certain cohesion to them. Working out how to get rid of a teacher in the classroom snowballs from standard classroom folklore of pins on teacher's chair into a more elaborate solution. One little touch I really liked: Tony's inventory is displayed at the top of your screen when you mouse over it. When you do, Tony stops and adopts a thinking pose, and your items become figurative thought bubbles as he plans his next step.

From what I've played of Tony Tough 2, it has the potential to be a pleasant little game, much like Secret Files: Tunguska was. All will depend on the voice acting and how they handle the script - if it's good this could well be a point and click game worthy of any adventure fan's collection.

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