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News 09-06-12 09:40 AM

Going adventuring in Ron Gilbert's The Cave
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-conten...12/09/cave.png I still prefer the smooth taste of Grog classic.
Double Fine / Sega

Just looking at the screenshots for The Cave, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island designer Ron Gilbert had given up his favored adventure game genre in favor of a standard side-scrolling platform game. Once you play the game, though, it becomes apparent that this is just a classic Gilbert adventure game in the guise of a platformer.

Sure, there's plenty of running and jumping in The Cave, but it's just a way to get your three controllable characters (chosen from an eclectic group of tropes ranging from a time traveler to a medieval knight) around the games snaking 2D corridors. There's absolutely no penalty for death, and there won't be any challenges that involve careful jump timing or pinpoint landing accuracy to complete.

What there will be plenty of are the kind of convoluted, adventure-game-logic puzzles that only a genre fan could love. In the short PAX demo I tried out last weekend (which was "halfway between alpha and beta"), I was tasked with getting by a dragon that burned my characters to a crisp every time they approached. To do that, I had to first use a crowbar to tear off the crank on the side of a well, then use that crank to get a bucket up from another well, then use the bucket to stop water from dripping on a fuse box, then hook the newly detachable fuse box to a giant hot dog machine, then use the oversized snack to lure the dragon out onto a pit of spikes before finally returning the fuse to its original position and activating an oversized crane to lift it out of the way. I mean, obviously, right?

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