The Tales of Bingwood:
To Save a Princess


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Rating: 4.6/5 (32 votes)
| Comments (22) | Views (32)

The Tales of Bingwood

kateSo apparently '80s fashion is back in style, which, frankly, is a bit terrifying, especially for those of us who were permanently scarred by it the first time around. However, should you happen to like neon colors, giant bangs, and wearing turtlenecks under a t-shirt, you might want to put on some Adam Ant and take a look at The Tales of Bingwood Chapter 1: To Save a Princess.

talesofbingwood.gifThis 2D point-and-click adventure from BugFactory is a throwback to every Sierra and LucasArts game ever made. Maybe not every single one, but most of them. The ones that were made in the '80s, at least. OK, the ones that were made in the '80s in which the main character went on some sort of quest and had to click on everything and try to combine all the items in the inventory with all of the other items and where do they even get pants with pockets that big?

Ahem. This game is like those games. The word used here is "retro." At least that's what the kids say now, right? Moving on.

The village of Bingwood is in chaos! Princess Liliana has been kidnapped, as princesses often are, and her parents have turned to the townsfolk to save her. Our young hero, Tombrandt Driftwood, who bears no resemblance in any way to a certain Guybrush Threepwood, is "volunteered" for the task by his neighbors, even though he is naught but a lowly fisherman's son who is allergic to fish.

Like most medieval villages, Bingwood is filled with quirky characters to talk to, strange objects to pick up, and a variety of puzzles to solve, all of which may be useful in finding a missing princess. Use the mouse to help Tom explore every inch of the town and the surrounding countryside. There are four different options for interacting with the surroundings: look, use, speak and travel. The gameplay mechanics are simple: [right-click] cycles through the choices and [left-click] is the action button.

talesofbingwood2.gifAnalysis: It is entirely possible that this game was actually created in 1984 and only appears on the Internet through some sort of violation of the space-time continuum. That's probably not true, but, much like The Chzo Mythos, The Tales of Bingwood is a retro delight, from the 2D pixelated graphics to the liberal use of witty dialogue with a smack of potty humor.

It also improves on some rough patches that were detrimental to its predecessors. For example, you can navigate the world using a map, skip cut scenes and dialogue, and generally rejoice in all the good stuff that adventure fans enjoy. The plot may be basic, but the puzzles are not, and there's an excellent sense of exploration running through your journey. Happily, there is no way to die or be forced to restart the game because you missed an item and can't go back to pick it up. Instead of high-pitched beeping, there's actually a decent soundtrack and surprisingly good voiceover acting.

There are just a few minor flaws here. It's easy to forget exactly which character needed a certain favor or item, so some sort of to-do list would be welcome. Scrolling through rows and rows of inventory items to find the object you need becomes tedious, and there's no hint button to click when you're stuck. Since the gameplay is so open-ended, though, you can simply move on to another task without the risk of exploding in frustration.

The Tales of Bingwood will eventually be a trilogy, so this is just the first third of Tombrandt's quest. This actually isn't really an issue in terms of playability, but if you like your plot tied up with a neat little bow, you aren't going to get it here. What you will get is a well-crafted homage to adventure games of yore.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

22 Comments

"It is entirely possible that this game was actually created in 1983..." Except that it isn't at all, because adventures of 1983 were nothing like Monkey Island but largely text-based games with responses like "YOU CANT SEE IT HERE".

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o: FYI - there were graphic adventure games in the early 80's, not just text-based. Perhaps 1984 would have been a better choice of year to mention? [example: King's Quest]

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Anonymous May 8, 2009 9:36 PM

I like your reviews, Kate. :) Are you holding something in your photo?

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Just so folks know- this game (the demo anyway) most definitely does NOT work on a MacBook using Crossover. It locked it up- no harm done though.

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Anonymous May 9, 2009 1:09 PM

Oh Monkey Island!
How I Enjoyed you!!!
This makes me remember just how much!!!!!!

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Guybrush?

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Is there like an official homepage for the game? Would be great to link to it in that case.

[Edit: Link added. -Jay]

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page May 11, 2009 3:55 AM

I love this game! (As far i played it).

Nice humor, and the puzzles looked all original and logical so far, great thing.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page May 11, 2009 4:05 AM

Just also to add as somebody having been there. This is not possible to be from 1984. First all Sierra games of that time had altough graphics layout and beeing able to run around, still text input. The Sierra-like hand-mouth-eye-foot input style came much later. It was one of the late space quests in the 1990ies I think that had it.

Voice acting was also something that came in very late, as computers were generally not capable to in the 1980ies. Also starting with kings quest 5 or 6 in the 1990ies with first voice acts.

The idea of first click "look" and next click "use", was something AFAIK Sierra never came up with. This is sure a very modern add on.

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Not bad. NOTHING like 1983 games. I'm a huge King's Quest fan. This is nothing like what I play all the time. It's a good game. A lot of fun. Not retro. Not very much like King's Quest 1 or SQ1. Those were around that time period though. The point and click type stuff was first introduced in king's quest V, my all time favourite game. Still, great post. Good game.

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page May 12, 2009 3:22 AM

Ummmm, did I pay 12€ just for the chapter 1? I thought I bought the whole game! Somehow I feel betrayed again...

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page May 12, 2009 3:24 AM

To rephrase, maybe I was a bit too fast... but the actual "game" I finished in not much more time than the 1 hour "demo" :-/

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Fuzzy, it's worth looking around before buying... The dev site has always sold it for 7.95 EUR. Some portals are selling it for "full price" $19.90!

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page May 12, 2009 8:32 AM

grumph

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I am so torn by this game. It's delightful. It has all the humour of the Monkey Island games but with a much easier interface. The puzzles were mostly fun - although I had to resort to a walkthrough.

I do think it is rather overpriced though. It came out at £7.95 for just the first episode - more than I was expecting once it was translated into pounds and I had to pay VAT. If it had been £5 and it had been a voluntary contribution I would have been happier.

Still, silly to quibble when it is just the kind of game I didn't think anyone was still making. It really was a lot of fun.

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Anonymous July 8, 2009 9:41 PM

Great adventure game! It really reminded me the good old sierra and lucas arts gold period of adventure games. Practical interface, great humor and voice acting, nice music and graphics. Does anyone know when the next chapter is coming out? I really can't wait!

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Marie-Anne July 27, 2009 10:41 AM

Pictures remind me strongly of Monkey Island

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I loved this game, can't wait for the sequel!

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i want the sequel!

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danielle May 26, 2010 2:42 PM

Still keeping hope alive for the second coming of Bingwood! :~)

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