“I’ve always wanted someone else’s arm covered in Hitler’s feces and blood, so I’m considering this a wild success.” We can think of no more appropriate quote to encapsulate this indie adventure. Sequel to Ben There, Dan That, a game you’ve almost certainly not heard of, Time Gentlemen, Please! is one of the funniest, stupidest, and most entertaining adventure games we’ve played in years.
Starring the two creators of the game, Ben and Dan, this is the everyday story of two men trying to undo the damage they cause while going back in time to prevent the invention of coat-hangers. Rewriting the future, Hitler conquers the whole world (apart from Canada) with his army of goose-stepping robot Nazi dinosaurs. Via rips and rifts in the fabric of reality, our heroes must fight Hitler’s giant robots and teach cavemen to love.
Playing the first game isn’t necessary. You should, because it’s free, and excellent, but this ludicrous sequel is mostly self-contained. It’s a wonderfully tasteless, deeply silly, and consistently naughty adventure. Jokes about willies and wanking come thick and fast (yes, like that one). There are balloons in the shape of ladies’ inside bits, old men getting shot in the dick, and an array of swears to keep any immature heart happy. But here’s the thing: it’s also incredibly polished.
Despite being made in Adventure Game Studio, and thus very low res, the scratchy hand-drawn details are lovely, and there are even lighting and particle effects. As there’s no voice-acting, you’ve a lot of reading to do, but it’s all good stuff. And wow, they’ve written a joke for everything. Click the magnet on the laser-beam door, and a children’s nursery rhyme explains why it doesn’t work. You’ll spend the five or six hours Time lasts deliberately clicking on everything just to find the gags.
Owing a vast amount to classic LucasArts adventures, Time Gentlemen, Please! borrows most heavily (and unashamedly) from Day of the Tentacle, with time travel-based puzzles that make you think in four dimensions. Crucially, these puzzles are often as good as any from the glory years of the ’90s. High praise indeed. One lovely detail is a machine capable of rewinding or fast-forwarding individual objects through time. Need a skeletal arm? Put a severed fleshy arm in there and instantly age it.
With excellent puzzles and a ridiculously convoluted story, the only other vital ingredient is humour, and here it’s nailed. So long as you’re not adverse to scatological silliness, it’s by far the most consistently laugh-out-loud funny game we’ve played since Psychonauts. It’s only a few bucks, it’s hilarious, and you get to fight Hitler.
Jul 22, 2009