Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures – Episode 4: The Bogey Man
From animated short film to full-length feature film, Wallace and Gromit have done it all. They’ve made several appearances in video game media, yet none have managed to top their Grand Adventures, as presented by the talented folks at Telltale Games. This four-part series is divided into “episodes” that are sold individually, or can be purchased together in a bulk package. The fourth and final outing is titled “The Bogey Man”, and as you may surmise, sends our duo into the glorious realm of golf.
If you’re anything like me, the very word “golf” sends shivers down your spine. And not in a good way, mind you; if knocking around a tiny ball with a stick doesn’t excite you, chances are a video game based on such a premise will hold no attraction for you whatsoever. However, I will alleviate your concerns now by telling you that “The Bogey Man” is not a golf game. It requires almost no knowledge of golf in order to play, just some decent reflexes and a sharp memory.
Like the previous titles in the series, this final episode plays with the familiar “adventure” mechanics as put forth by Telltale. The character you play as, which alternates between Wallace and Gromit, can be manipulated using the arrow keys. While guiding him around the environment, simply move the cursor over objects to see if they are of interest. Chances are, you will find many bizarre trinkets along the way, some of which appear to have almost no practical use. Rest assured, their power will be unleashed in time. Additionally, you will find stationary objects of ambiguous function. This too will seem like utter nonsense, until the right moment strikes. This is where the game’s brilliance becomes abundantly clear.
As before, you may interact with the colorful cast of characters simply by clicking on them. Like the aforementioned objects, they may also be offered items from your inventory to see how they react, which is sometimes necessary to solve a puzzle. They can also provide helpful clues along the way, which is very fortunate, as many of the puzzle solutions are outlandish.
The story picks up immediately where the previous episode ended. Wallace has accidentally proposed to his neighbor, the finicky Felicity Flit, and enlists Gromit’s help to find some way out of the impending marriage. Like any faithful canine companion, Gromit sets off in search of answers. He discovers that, due to an old family feud, Felicity will not marry any man who is a member of the local golf club. Of course, after Wallace is initiated as a full member of the club, he finds himself stuck with solving bigger problems than his own.
More than the previous titles, Episode 4 emphasizes timed events, which mean clicking a certain object or finding a new solution before the window of opportunity shuts itself. Fortunately, this effect is temporary, so you have as many attempts as needed without penalty, and the only reward for quick-thinking players is their own expedited progress. This makes the game feel a bit on the easy side, but at least it allows the player to explore much of the environment without fear of reprisal. Venturing beyond the safety of West Wallaby Street also takes players the golf club, and being a brand new location, this should satisfy players craving something a bit new after the backtracking of the previous games.
The visual style of Episode 4 is virtually indistinguishable from the previous games, but that isn’t really a problem. Bold use of colors makes each scene clear, easy to understand, and generally clean enough to search through. Small cameos and inside jokes also lie in wait for seasoned Wallace and Gromit fans; one such joke even manages to worm its way into Telltale’s first Monkey Island chapter. While I did not personally find “The Bogey Man” to be as enthralling as “Muzzled”, it is certainly one of the best games of the series and will no doubt appeal to fans and newcomers alike.