In a time before photo-realistic visuals and complex game mechanics, one genre ruled PC gaming; the point-and-click adventure. Dark Scavenger from Psydra Games hilariously embraces this classic format, mashes in some old school RPG flair, and perfectly captures the spirit of the genre time forgot.
Many gamers under the age of 25 probably aren’t very familiar with many point-and-click adventure games. Classics like Sam and Max, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Grim Fandango will go down in history as some of the best titles in the genre and arguably some of the best games ever made. Dark Scavenger takes cues from these masterpieces and focuses on telling an absurd story filled with great humor. Unfortunately if you can’t look past the dated menus, lack of modern gameplay, and slow pacing, you may find it difficult to get caught up in the hilarious storytelling.
Dark Scavenger puts you in the role of well, a Dark Scavenger; a mysterious hero who travels space in search of resources. You wake aboard a mysterious ship filled with a rather curious crew consisting of a green troll in a suit coat, a skeleton warrior clad in a dark robe, and a disturbing black alien creature. Your unlikely band of brothers set a course to distant planets in search of precious supplies and fuel for your ship. During your travels you’ll encounter a wide variety of ridiculous friends and foes, and uncover the surprising back-stories of the various creatures inhabiting this imaginative world.
The outrageous writing and overwhelming silliness is where the game truly shines. Much of the dialogue is legitimately hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. Many of the conversations with the inhabitants of this world lead to completely wild outcomes, but the combat dialogue was easily my favorite aspect of Dark Scavenger. After selecting a melee attack and landing a wicked piledriver “that’s right, a piledriver” on a giant inter-dimensional being, I couldn’t help but laugh at his counterattack; “Den unleashes a devastating meteor strike that rips your body to shreds. You take 15 damage.” Many of the game’s weapons and attacks have ridiculous battle commands like this and I was always excited to try out a new weapon or item.
Those familiar with the first-person RPG’s from the days of yore will immediately feel at home when it comes to the game’s combat/RPG system. Your crew members will turn the various items and materials you collect from your travels into weapons, items, or even allies. You can then use these items against your foes in traditional turn-based combat or in a more scripted “choose your own adventure” type fashion. All items have a limited number of uses and managing weapon types for different enemies created a rather deep combat experience. Sometimes I would face a brutal three-headed foe who was weak to wind attacks, only to discover I had wasted all my wind weapons earlier in the chapter. This always led to frantic moments of inventory scanning as I strategically tried to plan my next attack.
While Dark Scavenger may contain much of the same charm as its point-and-click predecessors, it unfortunately has many of the same issues. Navigating the game’s environments and menus is generally an ugly experience. Character artwork was always impressive, so seeing the lower quality room designs made immersing myself in this world somewhat difficult. Like I mentioned before, much of the game’s dialogue is hilarious, but there were large segments where I found myself completely uninterested in the character’s and the stories they were telling. I must applaud the game’s soundtrack, however. It has some of the best/worst music I’ve heard in a long time. The poorly performed and overwhelming generic rock played during battle sequences had me laughing every time.
Dark Scavengers definitely isn’t for everyone, but fans of classic point-and-click adventure games will find a great deal to love. The genuinely hilarious writing combined with the outrageous charm of some of the strangest characters you’ll ever meet comes together fantastically many times throughout the roughly three hour journey. If you approach this game with an open mind and a bold imagination, you’ll genuinely enjoy the ride. It may not achieve the same level of excellence as games like The Secret of Monkey Island, but the wide variety of choices will remind you why you loved this genre in the first place.
Recommended for fans of: Point-and-click adventure games, old school RPG’s, and absurd humor.
Miles Dompier is the chief editor and founder of What’s Your Tag?. He is a Seattle native who recently moved to the sweltering heat of Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a composer/voice actor. When he’s not up writing until his eyes bleed, he likes to play a Prince level of instruments and listen to terrible death metal. Follow his shenanigans on Twitter and be sure to join our gaming community; TEAM XBRO.