PC REVIEW: BONE: OUT FROM BONEVILLE

I was able to finish this game before lunch and get the review up and posted before supper. What a way to make a living. Ain't I a stinker?

You may or may not have heard of Bone. It really doesn't matter but I mention this because Bone is a comic that has attained cult-status and is now invading the mainstream. It consists of a quirky collection of strange but oddly compelling characters that are always involved in some kind of fantasy adventure. This is the recipe for the perfect videogame - and you don't have to have any back-history to enjoy it.

Bone: Out of Boneville is available for just under $20 bucks online. You can download some teasers for free which will enable you to play a mini-game and meet some of the characters including Fone, Smiley and Phoney Bone. In this particular adventure this gang of brothers is lost in an enchanted valley filled with all kinds of strangeness and dangers - not unlike a Popeye's Chicken joint. Mmmmm….Popeye's Chicken….

Created by Jeff Smith the comic that the game is based on is published in black and white and features a very distinct cartoon art in the style of Harvey Comics which publish Richie Rich and Casper the Friendly Ghost. In fact, the Bone brothers look like a cross between Casper the ghost and Pogo the Possum. I can't say that the videogame graphics capture the essence of the comics but if I had nothing to compare them to I would say the graphics are somewhat unique. The character models aren't polished and the backgrounds tend to be a little bare in places. Trying to make the transition from static 2D to animated 3D is not without some kinds of compromises and in this case there are a whole lot, but keep in mind this game has to be accessible to newbies as well as devoted fans. I think the balancing act was pulled off nicely and will certainly open the door for a number of sequels.


Don't confuse adventure game with action game. Most of the "action" takes place with you clicking the mouse and highlighting items in the environment. The focus of this game is the telling of the story. It's not a difficult game by any stretch, requiring little skill - I suppose that's why I finished it before lunch. There are a few mini-games to play but they are very simple and won't challenge even a weekend warrior.

Bringing characters' voices to life can be a challenge. I remember when the Archies first came out as a cartoon series. Having read the comic for years I had a preconceived notion of what the voices sounded like and when I heard a different interpretation of them I was shocked, horrified and eventually checked in to a mental heath facility. The voices in Bone are well done and they may cause the same breakdown in kids that the Archies did to me but now that I'm over that I can enjoy the voiceovers as they were intended to be enjoyed. Of course if they didn't have anything interesting to say it wouldn't really matter how well they said it so I must commend the writers for their efforts. The dialog is funny, witty and conveys enough depth to let all of the characters' personalities shine through.

The only problem that I have in recommending this game is the $20 price tag. If it were half that price I would be jumping up and down and waving my arms in the air. But as such I imagine that only fans of the comic book will be willing to fork out that kind of dough for such a short visit with their pals that have been magically brought to life in the digital medium.

Preview by Vaughn

Bone, the popular independent comic book series has sold millions and has a fanbase the world over. For the first time ever, Bone fans will be able to control and interact with their favorite characters from the Bone universe in this interactive adventure courtesy of Telltale Inc. a development team founded by ex-LucasArts members.

Lost in the desert and dying of thirst, the Bone cousins are separated by an angry swarm of locusts. Now Fone Bone, armed only with a mysterious map and his well-loved copy of Moby Dick, searches a strange valley to try and find his lost relatives. Along the way he will come face to face with its unusual denizens and begin to be drawn into the greater intrigues that surround the valley. Throughout the adventure you'll traverse all over the land and come in contact with all sorts of creatures, both malevolent and benevolent (kind of like a trip to Wal-Mart on a Saturday).

From the look of things, Telltale Inc. is treating the subject matter with love and attention. The characters look fantastic, almost as if they've just popped to life from the pages of creator Jeff Smith. Considering the team responsible for Bone has had their hand in creating some of the best and most influential PC games released in the adventure and action genres (Sam and Max, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Escape From Monkey Island, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Indiana Jones and The Infernal Machine to name but a fraction) it's probably safe to suggest that Bone is in about the best hands possible.

We're huge fans of the adventure genre and in case you weren't sure because you've been busy rotting your brain with First Person Shooters for the last few years, it's about time you gave your brain more of a work out then "find the yellow keycard to Sector 7-G".

We're very interested to see how Bone the videogame adventure turns out. Look for it on storeshelves in mid-September. If you're a fan, whet your appetite early with a trip to Telltale Inc.'s excellent website dedicated to the upcoming Bone game. You can also enter a contest to win some cool Bone related prizes (US residents only). Tell them CCC sent you. Not like that'll make a lick of difference, but it will make you feel important.

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System: PC
Dev: Telltale Inc.
Pub: Telltale
Release: Sept. 2005
Players: 1
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
1.0