Devo has gone digital and the result is utterly devastating. Despite the fact that in the 80's this New Wave band managed to instill in our collective consciousness the uncomplicated lyrics of their ditty "Whip it," Devo has never been what you would call mainstream. Which isn't to say that Devo is good, bad, or ugly, but merely that they, like all things riding off the beaten path, are at once palatable to a few (and here those few usually insert the word "select") individuals who, despite - or in defiance of - the sour, turned-away expressions worn by the masses, gobble this stuff up wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, it is hard to believe that even the hungriest of Devo fans will dig the band's noisome CD-ROM release, Devo Presents Adventures of the Smart Patrol.
The game is hardly a game at all, but rather a haphazardly stuck-together collection of sounds, pictures, crude animations, and slipshod segues in want of a working plot, pointless or otherwise. The premise, in a nutshell: Future mayhem, deadly-disease-vs.-ticking-clock, puzzles to solve, save the world. These elements comprise the goods that all great adventure games are made of; however, in Devo's case any sense of normality, of practical interface and order from an adventure gamer's point of view, is flushed down the toilet. Which is ultimately where the game's endless stream of scatological humor belongs. And these smart-less stink bombs are not merely of the stupid-yet-somehow-acceptable-TV sitcom/zany-buddy-film variety, either. Sinking to an absolute low, players in Devo's stomach-upsetting world must in one scene endure a painfully carried-out act of inanity that involves spoonfuls of creamy chocolate pudding - a once-wholesome foodstuff that, after watching Devo's force-feeding of, players will likely never look at in the same way or have an appetite for again.
All of this wasted effort aside, there are numerous dispassionate reasons to discount Devo's Adventures as well. Take the game's skewed internal clock. In each of the game's half dozen locales, players have 12 "hours" to figure out what is going on, what has gone wrong, and how to correct it in order to move along. While captivating adventure games encourage exploration, wandering, and experimentation, Devo's Smart Patrol follows a strictly unforgiving path that once deviated from is impossible to get back on track with without starting over where you last left off (assuming, of course, that you saved your game). Hours are not really hours, but are made up of an indeterminate number of ticks, for each move or mouse click you make. In no time a double-edged feeling of helpless anxiety sets in, this fear of making the wrong move, taking the wrong step; at the same time you start to wonder and worry if maybe you just aren't cool enough to get what's going on (for the game constantly reminds you how cool you are on account of your hanging with the Smart Patrol).
This is fun? This is cool? These out-of-lip-sync diatribes are somehow worth the time to listen to, to even try to care about? To what end? It's impossible to say, since reaching the end is mercilessly impossible. To think of the trees felled for this game's packaging, the miles of videotape run through, lines of dialog written and hopelessly rewritten, code keyed in and compiled and recompiled, marketing hype worked up and spun out, and raw energy wasted in producing the however many thousands of CDs Inscape agreed to permanently burn this trash into, one can only walk away feeling pity for all of the resources, human or otherwise, that were inexorably drawn into the band's distressing foray into computer gaming. For better or worse, we still have the lyrics to "Whip it" to conjure up a Devo that so many years ago managed to ingratiate themselves into our hearts and minds, those crazy days of summer. Sadly, those lyrics have new meaning now, prescribing in the band's own words the punishment they deserve for getting themselves, and unsuspecting downloaders, caught up in this awful mess.
Adventures of the smart patrol is a game basically inspired by the late seventies/early eighties alternative band Devo, and which takes us to a world based on every little thing that is Devo. You control a Monkees-style group of musicians called the Smart Patrol who take it upon themselves to stop the mad schemes of the evil mutant "Turkey Monkey" who wants to unleash a virus all over Spudland. Gameplay consists of a myst-like game of "slideshows" but without puzzles to solve, most of the game progresses through dialogue and interaction, so you mission really consists of talking to the right person at the right times.
The game features digitized actors as well as multiple endings plus, of course, millions of Devo-related jokes, characters etc.
People who downloaded Devo Presents: Adventures of the Smart Patrol have also downloaded:
Duckman: The Legend of the Fall, Déjà Vu I & II: The Casebooks of Ace Harding, Down Under Dan, Down in the Dumps, Dust: A Tale of the Wired West, Discworld, Discworld Noir, Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong Nou
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