Time Gentlemen, Please Review
Time Gentlemen, Please opens with Dan and Ben looking to fix their TV in order to watch Magnum PI, when aliens descend onto earth to attack them. Dan and Ben are not the basement-dwelling slobs they first seem, but are actually adventuring heroes from Zombie Cow Studio’s previous game, Ben There, Dan That, so they immediately leap into world-saving, alien-destroying action, only to realize that the aliens are Evil Future Dan and Ben in disguise, and the only way to save the world from the dastardly plans of their evil future selves is to go back in time and prevent the invention of the coathanger! With me so far?
Time Gentlemen, Please is a hilarious, vulgar romp. The not-so-dynamic duo riff on the inconsistencies of time travel and adventurer kleptomania, as they haphazardly rip holes in space-time to pocket surprisingly useful found objects. World domination, Nazi attack and the demise of the entire human race create a backdrop for Dan and Ben’s perverted banter and meta commentary.
This is not a game for kids, unless you’re looking to explain the facts of extremely twisted life to a traumatized youngster. Jokes range from the slightly risqué to jaw-droppingly obscene. The word “gentlemen” in the title is used in the loosest sense, sort of like the sign on a seedy bar’s bathroom door, and a lot of the game’s humor would fit in well inside that bathroom.
TGP didn’t need to rely on shock value, F-bombs and genitalia jokes to be funny, and constant vulgarity just cheapened the real laughs.
TGP uses the good ol’ Sierra-style adventure interface. Click items with the eye icon to examine, click with the hand icon to interact, combine items into makeshift tools, and pocket everything that’s not nailed down. Actually, if you klepto a crowbar, you can even steal things that are nailed down.
The floppy disk save and load icons, and quick lines like “I’m selling these fine leather jackets” in between all dick jokes and laser dino battles completed the illusion that I was playing a late-night adults-only version of a Sierra game. In a good way.
The robots, aliens, laser attacks and the rest of the charmingly out-of-proportion sketch art all looked like something that might be drawn in a notebook during a boring lesson. Clearly the focus is on zany dialogue, and storytelling, and not using an increasingly-complex engine for even more realistic blood splatters.
Occasionally the notebook-doodle art style makes it hard to tell what’s terrain, and what’s activatible, but since Dan and Ben have something obnoxious to say about, oh, everything, this isn’t much of a problem.
I didn’t shut the sound off until about halfway through, which is high praise from someone who always hates computer game sound. Most of the time, I moved through the scenes quickly enough to avoid getting annoyed by repetitive music, I really only noticed background music once or twice when I was bogged down in my progress. Noninvasive is pretty good in my book.
Ridiculous dialogue choices added longer playtime by keeping me experimenting even after it was obvious which option would lead to further progress.
I hesitate to call the wild time-jumping in the style of a filthy Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure a linear story, but all the zaniness leads to one chain of events, and I don’t see a lot of replay value in completed linear games. But quoting lines from the game, laughing at Dan and Ben’s antics, or even trying to explain the plot stays funny long after time-traveling Dan and Ben have saved the world from, uh, time-traveling Dan and Ben.
Hilarious Dialogue and Story
Low Replay Value