Monday, January 09, 2017

Donkey Island

Monkey Island?

In 1997 Ed Cleveland (aka Eddie Cat) had spent many moons working on a comedy adventure called Donkey Island. However, the latter end of the 90s were bitterly cold days with most of us having sold up and moved onto the Mac/PC. Sadly, it appears he got little feedback from us all and thus, decided to call it a day. 

Well, that's my take on what I read. Whatever happened, it's a shame because his talent and dedication were on the way to creating something rather special. Yep, it's disappointing but at least he released this final/beta version that was very kind. And it's more-than-worth downloading...

Donkey Island is a graphical adventure that is different from what I was first expecting. Think of something vaguely similar in style and content to Lure Of The Temptress or a Sierra On-Line game and you get the idea. But with a comical twist: we are Fred, a geek who loves playing games on his Atari ST so life is obviously TOS-taSTic!

However, that changed when he found out that Donkey Island, a game he has been eagerly awaiting, had been cancelled. Fred is crushed and cannot accept it. So he powers of the little green desktop computer to begin exploring his hometown to find out why it was cancelled. (A feeling not new to ST gamers in the 90s!)

The cartoon design works really well and some drawings are superb!

He looks familiar O_o

Fred is controlled using the cursor keys which is simple and effective. The keypad is used to interact with your surroundings and characters - who are incredibly entertaining and interesting, to say the least. It's now that I feel even sadder that this game wasn't finished because the style and sense of humour gone into making Donkey Island is quite beautiful. Although incomplete, there is a large town to explore with some cute surprises.

In its current form, this is pretty much a broken adventure game but one we can fully play. Getting around Fred's town is a cinch and we have all the abilities to investigate this horrifying gaming incident. Roam, explore, and never forget to chat with the locals. They're nothing like you are expecting and their humour is often superb!

Although unfinished, full exploration is possible and many characters are available to knock up a conversation with. Some rooms are complete whilst others are in an unfinished state. Yet, they're there to use which is brilliant. I'm so happy this "beta" was released yet, at the same time, I am gutted. What a game this almost was!

Sadly, some areas of the game will never be finished but at least they're left in for us to play.


Each location is depicted using a cartoon style similar to a comic book which Fred walks through in a rather crude but functional fashion. The artwork isn't exactly brilliant but the amateurish quality works wonders and the characters are superb. I love the way we communicate with others and our surroundings which is quite unique in style.

The sound effects are good but what I really love is the technique used for speech - it reminds me of Charlie Brown's teacher. Come on, tell me you can't hear that too? Well, I think it's superb :)

Exploration is always the key to success and there are lots of (hidden) locations.

The CryptO'pinion?

Donkey Island had incredible potential and I imagine it would have ended up being a hugely fascinating adventure. It still is of course, albeit unfinished. I've enjoyed playing what is potentially a killer product that offers a different approach to the genre whilst being thoroughly entertaining with a wonderful sense of humour, strange locations and the silliest characters. Trust me, this is a hidden gem and something I wholeheartedly recommend!!

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