Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures: The Bogey Man (Xbox360)

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Right back into the swing of things!

The Bogey Man is the fourth and final episode in Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures, and it certainly clubs everything together to bring the episodic series to a blistering and exhilarating conclusion!

Without giving away the end to Muzzled! (Episode 3), Episode 4 begins the day after the conclusion to Muzzled! where Wallace desperately pleads with his heroic hound to help him out of his latest and seemingly inescapable plight. Not wanting to let his best friend down, Gromit sets off in Act One to find a way to extricate Wallace. What slowly transpires is the typical mixture of humourous antics and delightful dialogue from the whimsical characters of West Wallaby Street.

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After a brief stint of putting around and astute eaves-dropping (dogs have a fine sense of hearing, don’t you know), Gromit figures out that the most plausible escape route for Wallace is to join the exclusive country club of Prickly Thicket; only this is easier said than done, since Wallace can’t play golf and membership is strictly by invitation only! Having discovered Wallace’s new driving ambition, so begins in earnest their final adventure…

They’ve come a fair way…

In my view, The Bogey Man does a very good job of regaining the overall momentum that I felt may have been handicapped in Muzzled!, and from the get-go there’s a real sense that this is going to be a much more challenging and engaging adventure than Episode 3. The game continues to develop a basic storyline but again the episode can also survive as a self-contained title, which means anyone can pick this one up whether they’ve played the previous episodes or not. There’s no fear of being thrown into the deep-end with this one either, since most references to past episodes are left to a manageable amount that don’t detract from the flow of the game or confuse new players. The beginning of The Bogey Man does an excellent job of introducing new players to the story and for recapping past players. The faithful control interface returns unchanged and the stellar voice-acting and quirky character interactions are still one of the major highlights of the game. There are plenty of unlikely but still strangely plausible scenarios in this episode, and a healthy serving of challenging puzzles too!

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And when I say “challenging,” I mean it! Of the four episodes, this one definitely has some of the more obscure and tricky puzzles. This means it may take some time to figure out what to do at certain points, but there’s always a higher degree of satisfaction and achievement when the rough patches are overcome. However, you may be required to think a bit more out of bounds in this one! Speaking of achievements, I also found the achievements in The Bogey Man a lot harder to, well, achieve – even after sneaking a few peeks into the achievements list in-game – so my inability to unlock some of them did tee me off! Nonetheless, there is a good mix of puzzles which occasionally will stretch your mind and at other times be a mild challenge, but as with the previous episodes, child friendly puzzles that can be solved through a process of elimination are still par for the course with this one.

What’s the final score? Is it above or below par?

The Bogey Man is another successful episode for Telltale Games and Wallace and Gromit, and everything inside is done just right – I think you’d be hardpressed to find any holes-in-this-one. As always, I am still concerned that they’re not pitching it at the right price at 800MSP because there’s very little replay value contained in the game. I think that if it chipped in at 560MSP this wood be a better reflection for what you get. All-in-all, however, The Bogey Man manages to maintain a riveting rhythm from start to finish, and introduces a fair share of creative contraptions, mysterious puzzles, and crazy antics – just what one has come to expect from Wallace and Gromit.

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My personal highlights would probably be the Prickly Thicket clubhouse and the allusions to its original designers, as well as Wallace’s masterful plan to thwart the Sand Trap. No matter what your preferences, if you’re a Wallace and Gromit fan from having played through the series or from watching the TV show, and you’ve come in with your own high expectations you will no doubt find that this game will follow through on them. The ending is a highly memorable and entertaining showdown with an oddly familiar and yet equally diabolical machine. If you are looking for a bit of clean comical relief and a simply marvelous adventure and want to know if you should buy The Bogey Man then all I can say is… of COURSE!

The Good: Clean and well-ironed out; feels like a traditional Wallace & Gromit adventure; momentum and pace; simply crazy antics and the strangest golf tournament in the world!

The Bad: Puzzles can be frustratingly obscure.

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