Ascaron – Fenimore Fillmore’s Revenge review

dull Wild West adventure
Photo of Ascaron – Fenimore Fillmore’s Revenge
£29.99

Unless you’re a total adventure game aficionado and have played every animated adventure for the last 15 years, it’s unlikely that you’ll realise that this is the third outing for laconic lonesome cowboy Fenimore Fillmore, following “3 Skulls of the Toltecs” in 1996 and “The Westerner” in 2004.

In his latest ramblings he’s hooked up with sexy, curvaceous girlfriend Rhiannon and, in the opening scenario, they come across a wounded stranger who reveals to Rhiannon with his dying breath the name on a distant cemetery grave where some treasure is buried. Just then three villains show up, shoot Fenimore and kidnap Rhiannon, hoping she’ll confess what the dead man uncovered.

Though seriously wounded, Fenimore is rescued and restored to health by Baker, a former member of the outlaws’ gang, and he agrees to help our hero find the heroine so long as he gets a cut of the loot. So far, so The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and, as the story progresses, you have the chance to play as either Fenimore or Rhiannon.

The gameplay style is traditional point ‘n’ click, with items to be gathered and occasionally combined in your inventory at the top of the screen and optional subtitles at the bottom. Fortunately the puzzle solving is pretty logical throughout, although a highlight key would have been very welcome as there was more than one occasion when considerable time was spent hunting for the one vital ‘hot spot’ that would provide the missing item that completes the scene.

However, the puzzles seem to be a curious mixture of importance and irrelevance. In an early stage, for instance, Rhiannon has to come up with an elaborate scheme to divert a guard from a window so she can unlock a drawer and retrieve a medallion.

At another stage, Fenimore has to prove his shooting skills to Baker by apparently firing randomly at targets against the clock. There are more relatively random shooting spells later in the game but there’s a general feeling that the whole thing could have been sorted out in half the time, even though the game overall will only occupy you for a few hours.

The graphics are unexceptional, the camera angles often obtuse (especially in close-ups) and the sound effects and music (not that there’s much of the latter) frequently cut out altogether, especially when you replay a sequence.

Consequently, everything about the game feels half-completed: a typical example is the ‘Look’ command icon which might as well not exist. While there are moments of fleeting humour, the dialogue too comes over as flat and tired. Maybe Fenimore has just spent too long under that boiling Western desert sun.

Company: Ascaron


Verdict
Yet another great opportunity to make a fresh, original, funny and entertaining animated adventure set in the Wild West goes to waste in a largely tired, dull, clichéd and uninspiring tale of greed and retribution.