Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees Review
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Telltale Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Telltale Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Mar. 24, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Deviating slightly from the standard point-and-click setup (due to plans for the eventual launch of Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game), controlling the movements of Wallace or Gromit is done independently of the hotspot selection. The WASD keyboard keys move your character towards and away from the camera and left and right. The exact direction you’ll move changes in relation to the static camera angle for a specific area, which automatically pans and changes frequently as you move around.

Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot

This can sometimes be a tad disorienting when transitioning from one area to another, since you may find the directions have suddenly switched up unexpectedly. Interacting with nearby objects and examining items is still done with the mouse button. Separating the movement from the hotspot clicking was a questionable decision that was clearly a result of designing the game with controllers in mind. While it works reasonably well on the PC (and will surely be pulled-off fine on consoles), it’s more awkward than it needs to be. As the saying goes: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

Many of the puzzles in the game involve scouring rooms for usable items and figuring out where to use them elsewhere in the game. Through most of the adventure your inventory never gets particularly large, and most of the things you pick up are used rather immediately. Wallace’s inventive nature and the peculiar gizmos you’ll come across around the house make for some fairly unusual combinations. There are also a few different kinds of challenges thrown in at various points to provide variety, particularly towards the end of the episode.

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Presentation-wise, Fright of the Bumblebees nails the spirit and personality of the animation series perfectly. The cartoonish graphics have just the right amount of shine and texture to closely capture the look and feel of the original clay animations. The animations themselves are more fluid than the claymation, but they are very true to the original style. Digital recreations of Wallace and Gromit’s home and neighborhood are spot on, and all of the locations are nicely detailed. Unique camera angles keep things fresh too. Rather than the traditionally static front-view found in many adventure games, the camera angles fluctuate from numerous perspectives and angles. Voice work is also a big draw. Sadly, it’s often drowned out by slightly louder than necessary music. Without turning subtitles on (there’s no menu option to adjust the music and dialogue volumes separately), you’ll have to strain your ears to make out some of the thick British accents.

On the whole, Fright of the Bumblebees is an excellent starting point for the episodic series. Wallace and Gromit are just as charming as ever, and their first episodic romp left us looking forward to seeing where Telltale will take the two in future episodes. Clocking in at several hours of solid playtime, episode one is a relatively short endeavor, but the content is brimming with quality.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
Excellent visual presentation improves on and stays faithful to the clay animation classics.
3.5
Control
While it’s an interesting change of pace, splitting somewhat from the traditional point-and-click format isn’t as functional on the PC as it could be.
3.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting is brilliant, but it’s overpowered by the musical volume. Separate volume adjustments next time… please!
3.7
Play Value
Short, sweet, and highly entertaining.
3.9
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Alternating between the roles of quirky inventor Wallace and his faithful canine companion Gromit, embark on entrepreneurial business ventures, tinker with creative contraptions, and interact with an ever-expanding cast of fun and endearing characters.
  • Solve unique and amusing puzzles!
  • Interact with bizarre characters to rescue the town from peril!
  • Cheese is good. We like cheese.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 1: Fright of the Bumblebees  screenshot - click to enlarge

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