Runaway: A Road Adventure (a J!-ENT PC Video Game Review)
April 23, 2012 by Dennis Amith
For point and click adventure game fans, “Runaway: A Road Adventure” is an older PC game that still is fun nearly a decade later. A pretty good first earlier effort for Pendulo Studios and I’m looking forward to playing the other two games of the “Runaway” sequel.
VIDEO GAME TITLE: Runaway: A Road Adventure
YEAR OF INITIAL RELEASE: 2001
VIDEO GAME GENRE: Adventure
RATINGS: T for Teen
RELEASE DATE: August 18, 2003
VIDEO GAME HIGHLIGHTS:
- 2D and 3D action adventure game with animation-based style
- Approximately 100 settings and 30 interactive characters
- High-quality stereo sound, an original soundtrack with over 24 songs
- The highest graphic resolution ever used in an adventure game
- For 1 player
System Requirements: 233 MHz Intel Pentium CPU, 64 MB RAM, 2 MB video card RAM, 24X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 8.0, 631 MB available hard disk space, Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP
As Madrid-based company Pendulo Softwares have received critical praise for their adventure game “The Next Big Thing” (aka “Hollywood Monsters 2″), I have been wanting to play their 2001 point and click adventure video game “Runaway: A Road Adventure”, as well as play the other two “Runaway” games (“Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle”, “Runaway 3: A Twist of Fate”) in the trilogy.
Released in Spain back in 2001, “Runaway: A Road Adventure” would receive its US release in 2003.
“Runaway” revolves around the main character Brian Basco, a physics student who was accepted to the University of California, Berkeley and planning to make his drive from the East Coast to California, but on the day he went to pick up a book at a book store, the shy and nerdy student accidentally hits a woman named Gina Timmins with his car.
As Brian stays with Gina at the hospital and feeling bad of what took place, Gina quickly tells him that her father was killed by the mafia and before he died, he gave her a crucifix. And now, she needs to know why the mafia is after it and needs Brian’s help as they are trying to kill her.
At first, Brian is not sure to believe in her but just in case, while she rests in her hospital room, he builds a fake person with pillows on the bed next to her (and also switching her medical charts with the fake patient). While in the bathroom, he hears gunshots and when he goes to check, he realizes that Gina was right. Someone is trying to kill her and immediately he wakes Gina up and both escape from the hospital.
Meanwhile, the two hitmen from the mafia, Gustav and Feodor find out that Gina was not killed and the mafia begin their chase after Brian and Gina, who now travel throughout the country trying to evade the mafia but also trying to find out the truth of the crucifix.
Since this is an older game, I installed it on a Windows XP laptop and did a full installation. The 3 CD-rom discs installed quickly but there was a problem. When I reached chapter 4, there was a source file missing.
After going through the Pendulo folder/Runaway…there are two folders…Resource and Dataa which are missing the chapter 4 files. Looking online, a few people have had this problem but I’m not sure why some people are having this problem but perhaps we had bad CD-rom discs that didn’t work during installation.
But fortunately, the good news is that by going through Disc 2, just copy the Resource.m04 file to the Resource folder and you will also be missing a Dataa 04 file which you copy to the Dataa folder of where your game is installed.
For those not computer related…go to My Computer and open one window that goes to c: drive->Program Files->Pendulo Software->Runaway. You will see several folders including Dataa and Resource.
Now, Bring up your CD/DVD Rom Drive via a second window using My Computer and go to those folders Resource and copy the Resource.m04 file from the CD to the Resource folder on your hard drive (to the other window) and the Dataa.04 (not the exact name but close) to the Dataa folder on your hard drive.
I tested it and it works perfectly. This should fix the problem.
The gameplay was fairly easy. Click on where you want to go, right click to grab or use the mouse to look at things. Then you can combine objects that you find in order to solve certain situations. For the most part, the game is easy as there is no button or mouse intensive movements. So, for those wanting something not so intensive like adventure games on consoles which require precise button movements, need not worry with “Runaway: A Road Adventure”.
Gameplay requires visiting areas and finding certain objects that can be re-used in another area.
If there is anything that hampers gameplay is that there are moments that require quite a bit of backtracking and for the less patient players, like myself, it does get a bit tedious. For example, during a scene in the desert at Douglasville, one needed to pour water in a derailed train’s water tank. That’s fine, but to go from the train back to the area where the water is located takes time and you have to walk back and forth multiple times in order to fill that tank up. Definitely tedious!
There are easy puzzles and choice selections, but the game doesn’t require one to choose a right choice. If anything, you can ask all the questions and eventually get an answer without risking anything.
For a game that was created in 2003, while there are expected artifacts for a game that is nearly 10-years-old, still…I enjoy the vibrancy of the colors and painted backgrounds. Pendulo used a game engine that made the overall game look like a cartoon 2D adventure, but using real-time lighting and shading effects, as well as camera changes and panoramic shots. I enjoy the overall design and if anything, the game looks good for its age.
The audio is good, while some people are divided about the voice acting, I felt that the voice acting for Brian and Gina were good at times (some parts felt a bit flat) but overall, the two main characters were good but other characters, they sound a bit goofy but considering the characters that are being portrayed, it works!
The music is pretty cool! It kind of reminded me of a poppy version of the Cranberries but the performance by Liquor (and composed by David Garcia Morales) is pretty good. Take note that if you want the soundtrack, it is included with the special collector’s edition of the game.
There are none. Once you beat the game…time to move on to game #2.
Having waited so long to play “Runaway: A Road Adventure” due to my backlog of games that I play, I have to say that I really enjoyed “Runaway: A Road Adventure”. It’s a fun, adventure game about two characters wanted by the mafia but there are some situations that I felt were a bit messed up.
For example, Brian and Gina travel to Chicago to museum where his friend works and possibly can help clean and find out information about the crucifix’ whereabouts. But something tragic happens and it’s quite lame of how the tragedies were forgotten, especially when you are surprised by a twist at the end and if I was Brian, I would have been ticked that these adventures led to innocent people being gunned down.
I suppose that the game does take an amoral perspective when it comes to this but it’s the only part of the game that I felt was ridiculous. But that’s when you tend to overthink about the game too much of how people should react, knowing that video games unlike cinema don’t usually explore the emotional dilemma of its characters and they tend to move on to the next chapter in the storyline.
Otherwise, the puzzles are quite intriguing and to see how one item can make a difference in another situation (ie. using lipstick and gun powder in a machine gun and the many uses of an MP3 recorder). Some puzzles may require you to use a walkthrough (I had to use it several times), in order to find out where to go or why certain things are not working. If there was anything that drove me crazy about this game was the amount of backtracking that can get a bit tedious but it depends on the player’s patience.
But the game is somewhat focused on the coming-of-age for the character of Brian. He’s a nerdy guy who eventually changes as the adventures continue and what would you expect when you see this brainiac save the beautiful damsel in distress? Suffice to say, it’s a banal storyline but who doesn’t love a storyline about an underdog being with a gorgeous sidekick?
While the game has its share of tedious moments, fortunately there are characters and situations that made this game quite enjoyable and fun. Some may find some puzzles to be difficult and there are moments where you can’t accomplish certain things unless you visit an area first. So, there are moments where you have to walk from one area, back to another and yes, I emphasize the word “tedious”.
Overall, “Runaway: A Road Adventure” is still a fun, point and click adventure game. It shouldn’t take one that long to play as the game is not too difficult but for a first game in the “Runaway” series, I enjoyed it and I’m now preparing to play the sequel “Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle”.
J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.
For Product Reviews:
For product reviews, J!-ENT has received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.
Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.
J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”