Taking inspiration from the likes of Easy Rider, Mad Max, and the works of Hunter S. Thompson, Full Throttle was a strange game in 1995 – and it remains strange today. A comedic revenge tale set in the post-apocalypse, Full Throttle puts players in the leather boots of Ben, the leader of a motorcycle gang known as the Polecats who get caught up in a bloody conspiracy. For this remaster, Double Fine has completely redone the visuals, touched up the audio, and packed the game with bonus features (much like it did with Day of the Tentacle Remastered). These enhancements make this fantastic adventure game’s age-related shortcomings easier to bear for newcomers and those making a return trip.
Full Throttle shines because of its interesting cast of characters and well-paced story. Though a full playthrough will only take you four to five hours, the characters are given plenty of time to shine, including our laconic hero Ben, the kind-but-determined Maureen, and the villainous Ripburger (voiced wonderfully by Mark Hamill). The plot doesn’t veer into unexpected territory outside of some sequences near the tail end, but the characters are so endearing that it doesn’t matter. I enjoyed revisiting Ben and Maureen’s “will they or won’t they?” relationship and Ripburger’s bumbling henchman so much it didn’t matter how conventional the story of Ben’s quest for revenge was. The line-by-line writing is strong enough to make everyone compelling from beginning to end, even if they’re largely archetypical.
The same however cannot be said for the puzzles. As is often the case with older point-and-click adventures, Full Throttle’s puzzles are bearable at best and frustrating at worst. Only two segments were frustrating to the point that I had to consult a guide on how to solve them, and they feel odd just for the sake of being odd, requiring me to obtain strange objects to use in unexpected places to progress. As annoying as these sections could be, they were brief enough that they didn’t hinder my experience much. Part of the relief stems from the fact that Full Throttle Remastered also has a hint functionality that you can use to light up objects you can interact with in the environment, which often saved me from pixel-hunting for solutions.
The graphics have been spruced up, replacing the pixelated look of the original with a widescreen, fully-drawn, animated aesthetic that looks great. I found myself switching back and forth between the new look and the 4:3 old one just to see the differences and both of them have enough charm that I kept doing it throughout my playthrough just to soak in the differences. The sound mixing for the soundtrack and dialogue has also been improved, and a variety of DVD-like extras including concept art and commentary fill out the package nicely. As someone who grew up on LucasArts adventure games, I loved these little extras and tidbits about Full Throttle’s development.
There’s no getting around that Full Throttle is a 22-year-old adventure game and still plays like it. The puzzles are occasionally frustrating. Your character moves at a slow pace, and some of cultural humor is outdated. Still, the quirks of the original game are as attractive today as they were then, and this version does a fine job smoothing out the rough edges, making Full Throttle Remastered a road trip worth taking.