Length - Medium/Full
Engine - AGS
Suitability Factors - Crude Humour, Very Strong Language, Cartoon Violence
Ben There, Dan That is a good length comedy adventure by Dan Marshall and Ben Ward. I'd been avoiding this game for quite a while (more on that later) but decided it was time to give it a try.
The player is thrust into the role of Ben who is joined (followed) by his best mate Dan. It is Ben that is controlled by the player whilst Dan is there to provide commentary and generally help (term used loosely) his friend out when needed.
The main part of the story involves alien abduction and wacky alternate dimensions, with the main goal being to return home. Whilst the basic premise of the story isn't wildly original, enough varied locations and characters are encountered to keep it ticking along nicely. A word must go out to the ending however which is surprising and very funny.
Being a comedy game, Ben There, Dan That clearly needs to be bang on with it's humour, and I can happily say that it is. The game is genuinely funny throughout, mainly due to the banter between the two protagonists. The relationship between the two characters is very much reminiscent of that seen in the original Sam & Max, although I personally found Ben There, Dan That funnier.
The writing is clever and one particular thing I liked is that many actions that take place throughout the game will be mentioned by the characters again later on. The fact that the characters are aware of the environment and their actions within that environment just seems to make them seem more real, as well as creating a better feeling of a game-world.
However, in my opinion there is one key area in which the game lets itself down. The reason I was originally reluctant to play the game was that I'm not generally a fan of needless crude humour or cheap comedy tricks such as pointless profanity. Having read parts of other reviews it seemed that there was quite a bit of this included in the game, so I thought it best to stay away. Having now experienced the game for myself, I can say there isn't as much of this as I feared there might be, although it is unavoidably present. I personally feel that the game is very funny without resorting to such things and my enjoyment of the game would have been greater if this was at least toned down a little. I'm aware that opinion may be split on this issue but for me the game could have done without it. It's not that it necessarily offends me, it's just that I think there are far cleverer ways to get laughs - and the developers are clearly more than capable of this.
Moving on, the colourful and crazy backgrounds and characters nicely fit the tone of the story although in places the graphics may have benefited from being touched up a little. For the most part though they're very good. Also, the spindly legs of Ben and Dan and their subsequent strange walking animations add further humour to the game. There isn't much music included although this didn't really bother me.
Puzzles are of the inventory variety and can get quite tough later in the game when there are several different locations and objects available. The solutions are mostly logical within the game however and it's always fairly obvious what the next challenge is even if how to get past it proves a little more tricky.
And even when stuck the game is never dull. A great amount of time and effort has clearly been put into the different responses given when items are examined, used, combined etc and these do a great job of keeping the player occupied, stuck or otherwise.
Ben There, Dan That is one of the best AGS games I've played. The only thing that would stop me from whole-heartily recommending it is the aforementioned strong language and crude humour. If you're not unduly bothered by this or can just ignore it then Ben There, Dan That! is a must play for anyone who is a fan of humorous games, it's clever, funny, and one of the longest AGS titles I've played in a while.
- Very funny
- Great dialogue
- Well written
- Very few generic responses given
- Crude humour
- Needless profanity
- Graphics perhaps could have been refined a little
Particularly For Fans of;
- Sam & Max Hit the Road
Download for free;
Ben There Dan That