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Monterey Penguin vs. Shadowiii
Monterey Penguin Only three bucks to get to to Hell? What a steal!
HuckdOnFonix (UberSteve) and Grubbworm
Download: 1.04 MB
Play Time: 2-3 hours and minutes
Review # 11 for Shadowiii Only three bucks to get to to Hell? What a steal!
Them's Fightin' Words
    Ah, the classics. When the OHR was in its early days, some of the best games were released. Ever since the release of Wandering Hamster, lots of games have tried to emulate its cartoony, light-hearted feel. Few have succeded (the one coming to mind being Ecopia: Shadow in Perrip), and most of them either didn't have the cartoony innocence (again, Ecopia) or were so bland or ripoffs they were just stupid (Wandering Monkey). But before all these "posers," there was a cartoony RPG that set the standard. This game was Monterey Penguin.

Monterey Penguin is definatly an "old" game. Its got that feel to it that most older OHR games have (the feeling you are playing something polished yet old none-the-less). But this doesn't take away from MP's charm. A somewhat bitter-sweet story of a Penguin snatched up from his home and dropped somewhere in North America, and his quest to find some stamps so he can mail himself back to the Artic is now immortal in the eyes of many OHR gamers. MP also introduced a lot of "firsts." It was the first game to use FMV in the OHR. It was also the first to feature Barney as a boss. It was also a first (and one of the very few) to have a "cheats" system integrated into gameplay. Overall, though Monterey Penguin isn't really a fantastic game in and of itself, it is a great history lesson.
    Montery Penguin excells at showing us a cartoony world, and doing so beautifully. The graphics, ranging from Land Shark enemies to the Super Cucumber, all have a Disney-Cartoon feel to them. The overall feel for the game is that you are playing a cartoon, and there is your cartoony world to go along with it. The drawing, though perhaps not drop-dead gorgeous by today's OHR standards, suits the game perfectly. If there was any game I'd compare graphical style and quality to it would have to be Wandering Hamster. The graphics fit, and add to the subtle irony, which I'll explain later.

NPCs are supurbly done in this game. If you play it you'll notice that almost all creatures that "stand still" (store keepers, a fat cow, etc.) have animations. Their eyes roll, blink, dart back and forth, etc. This little detail isn't really thrilling (at times it can be downright disturbing to see a shopkeeper look around the room...heh), but it is something that I've never seen duplicated in an OHR game, even more modern ones. Its a nice touch.

The battle graphics in general range from decent to great. Some of the enemy graphics don't look as wonderful as the others, but (unlike most OHR enemy graphics), there aren't ones that you can see the artist threw out there in 5 seconds to make time for a drop-dead gorgous one. What I mean is that all the enemy and hero graphics are done with the same level of dedication. You won't see a "leafer" enemy that is a poorly drawn bunny, usually accompanied by a "Rabid Celocanth" that is a huge, mouth-breathing, drooling monstrosity that probably took the artist 3 years to complete. The artist clearly spent time on each and every graphic he drew, which is something bairly anyone does now-a-days.

The tilemaps fit the theme, even if they aren't amazingly beautuiful. I really can't comment much on them besides that they fit the theme.

MP also was the first OHR game to feature FMV's, and it did so SUPURBLY. I have no comment after that on them, besides it is some of the most fluid FMV animation I've seen in a long time.
    Here is where MP gets...interesting. Basically, you want to get home. Simple enough, right? Just get some stamps and mail yourself home? Easy as cake. WRONG! Someone robbed the post office of all their stamps (what a stupid thief...he should have robbed a bank or something. He stole STAMPS?! Maybe he's a collector or something), so you'll have to go a-questin' to get them. On the way you'll meet allies who fight for you either for reasons they refuse to tell you or...well that's about it. Your journey will take you to Hell and back (literally), where you'll fight the keeper of Hell (and we all know who that is, Barney!) until you finally return and realize the demo is over.

The story is well executed. The dialogue is written excellently; you have a real feel for each character. Not only that, there are subtle parodies and hidden tricks to find, which make the story all the more fun.

However, there is something I'd like to mention that I noticed about this game the first time I played it. It doesn't have the light-hearted "happy-go-lucky" feel that Wandering Hamster does. This game, even from the beginning when a little green thing gets crushed under a text box, has dark undertones. The story itself is tragically sad; an innocent Penguin is captured by poachers and only by luck manages to escape. He then enters a world of...bizzarely disturbing people. Cranky old geezers, sad cows, poachers, Barney, flying cucumbers...its disturbing. Don't ask me why, but this game seems dark.

Also, the story kinda burns out after Barney, which is too bad. I wish this game were finished because it is absolutely amazingly done. Eh.
    As stated before, MP added some unique things that had never been seen before on the OHR when it was released. Cheats, for instance, could be inputted to get money, powerups, etc. Stationary NPC's (shopkeepers, etc.) roll their eyes and blink. The game itself plays decently, though not exceptionally. Though the game IS interesting, towns are mostly barron (again adding to the "dark" feel mentioned in the Story Line comments), and there isn't many puzzles or such in dungeons. Overall, decent, not great.  
    Battles....are just battles. Like most RPG's, they COULD be space-bar smashers if you wanted. There is nothing truely unique about MP's battles. They are your standard OHR battles...  
  Map Design
    Maps are executed skillfully, though not exceptionally. Some maps do have puzzles, but others are just boring and barron (especially towns). As stated before, the game kinda goes downhill after Barney, and this includes map design. Though not bad, they certainly could use some spice.  
    Battles are balanced decently. Not too hard, not too easy. I really can't say much more about them.  
    Most of the music was taken from the free OHR music that comes with the Engine. It is well placed and sounds good in-game (though it does make the game feel a bit like Wandering Hamster...) There is some ripped music that is also decently placed, but I really can't comment much on the music. It neither adds nor detracts from the overall gameplay, which is too bad.  
    Fun, dark, mysterious, and cartoony. The innocent looking graphics seem to mask a possibly dark and brooding style storyline. The game plays fun, though it does tend to get boring after a while. Even though the jokes and camios, as well as the fact that you WANT to help the Penguin are put there to try to keep you to play, after Barney the game sinks fast. There really is nothing exceptional after that, and because of this most players will simply give up after that point.  
Final Blows
    This game dominated OHR Monthy's Top 30 list from September 2000 to January 2001, and it was for a good reason. The game is supurbly done, though it does have its flaws. Overall, every OHR game should play this just so they "know their roots" so to speak. An excellent game, and I'd recommend it to all. And don't feel bad if you quit after you beat Barney (in fact I'd recommend it; there is nothing exceptional after that)
Whoo! Free money!

Whoo! Free money!
Final Scores
Graphics: 9/10.0
They look great, the cutscenes are supurb, and the overall feel works out perfectly. A game that is certainly fun to look at.
Storyline: 7.5/10.0
Starts somewhat dull, escilates into a huge, grand event, then sizzles down at the end. Decently done, though it certainly could have been improved upon.
Gameplay: 8.5/10.0
It added a lot of new things to the OHR world, like Cutscenes and Cheats. Though the game isn't nearly as exciting as the graphically intensive ones being released now-a-days, it is fun to go back and play it for old-times sake.
Music: 5.5/10.0
Either Bob's included BAMs, or ripped. And not exceptionally placed, either. The game should probably have ripped all the way, to be honest, just so it would get rid of the "Wandering Hamster" feel. This game isnt' Wandering Hamster in the least.
Enjoyment: 8/10.0
Fun to a point, then dull. Something interesting about most older OHR games is it takes a while for them to really shift into high gear (much like professional games, FYI). This game is no exception. If you can get yourself into it, you'll have a grand time. But unfortunatly the enjoyment doesn't last all the way to the end...
Overall Grade: A-
Final Thoughts
    A game every OHR player or creator should try out, just to know their "roots" and experience an old classic. Great game, though it does burn out near the end.  

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