It’s true! Sometimes the folks over at Lucasarts get bored with re-hashing the Star Wars universe, so they hyper-drive their proverbial spacecraft into other galaxies. When they arrive at their destination, it is often unfamiliar territory, and we end up with the likes of: Sam & Max, Loom, The Dig, Monkey Island and that Awesome Game about Bikers That Too Few Have Played.
While each of these games demand an article (or 50) to themselves, I will explore only one rarely enjoyed Lucasarts game… to be named after the break.
Released exclusively on the original Playstation and Sega Saturn, Herc’s Adventures was quite different from the plethora of games in the Lucasarts library. It could be considered an adventure game, but it was far different from the point-and-click adventures Lucasarts had created up until this point (although similar to Zombies ate my Neighbors from what I’ve read). The game didn’t completely shun traditional puzzle elements however, but its focus was on arcade-style action. Think Sam&Max meets Battletoads.
Co-op fans rejoice, as this game supported a solid two-player mode. Yup! You and your broseph can team up to conquer bosses and head-scratching puzzles throughout the stylized re-imagination of Ancient Greece. There are three characters to choose from, each with different abilities. You can be the melee-happy Herc, the sexy ranged chick Atlanta, or the hybrid dagger/sling-shot wielding kid, Jason. Technically every character has some sort of ranged capability, but each has strengths and weaknesses.
The camera is fixed in a sort of angled-top-down view, not unlike Zelda or Final Fantasy VI. This works well for the co-op mode, as you and your friend will not be fighting for camera control (like in Baldur’s Gate), but if he tends to be on the slower side, he could get clipped into some terrain. I don’t remember it being much of an issue however.
I have one major gripe with this game… the ending. Keep in mind that it has been years since I’ve played this, but if I remember correctly it is less than satisfying to complete this game. The story is standard but interesting, and it sort of leaves you hoping for an exciting ending sequence. Drown your hopes now. Remember also that this is roughly the same era as Twisted Metal 2 (fantastic and rewarding cut-scene endings) and Final Fantasy 7 (pretty much like playing a movie). That being said, the true joy of this game comes from the journey. You will undoubtedly have more fun playing through the game with a friend and remembering that as opposed to admiring the mediocre story and conclusion.
If you are into lengthy action-adventure games that let you hack-and-slash enemies as well as puzzle solve, Herc’s Adventures is definitely for you. I’d say try to snag a copy, but I’ve seen it on ebay for upwards of $120… ugh. I let this one slip away while it was in print. If you can, check your local video-game hoarders and give it a try!