Koala Lumpur: Journey to the Edge

Review by Jen

I have a gigantic heap of unplayed games in my bedroom closet, and since I was out of newer games, I started digging through the older ones and came across Koala Lumpur. My good game-choosing instincts must have completely failed me that day because out of the great heaps of classics, this is the one I picked. Hating it almost from the get-go but ever the intrepid adventurer, I decided to see it through to the bitter end just so I could review it for you, dear reader.

The story starts out with Koala Lumpur (who is, you guessed it, a koala) (but I bet you didn't guess he's a Buddhist bear in a purple fez) seeking enlightenment. He finds a piece of a scroll, and by reading it comes frighteningly and perilously close to unleashing the greatest of evils (which is trapped behind a gigantic door) on the world. The greatest good, behind a door on the other side of the corridor, tells Koala he must find the rest of the scroll and put it back together to prevent the evil's escape and attain enlightenment for himself. She presents him with a familiar to aid him in his quest—you play as that familiar, a common housefly that doubles as the cursor. In seeking the scroll pieces, your first stop is the home of a genius Dingo (who is, you guessed it, a dog) (but I bet you didn't guess he's an inventor who wears an explorer outfit, complete with pith helmet). He turns out to be trapped in the refrigerator that doubles as a safe, and your first task is to get him out. From there, you travel to the land of lost dogs, ruled by a green wooden puppet, Dingo's old girlfriend's house (she is a tiger with a woman's body dressed in a white bunny suit), and the spaceship of a six-year-old girl genius who captures the fly, Dingo, and Koala to keep as playmates. One or more scroll pieces are found in each of the four locations. Is any of this making any sense? I thought not. Believe it or not, though, that's the way the story goes, and there is never any justification for any of the strange elements of the plot—they just come out of the blue. The plot was just pure gobbledegook.

The interface is fairly easy because you, the player, are both fly and cursor. You just click on whatever you want to interact with, and with your amazing insect muscles, you can lift some pretty gigantic items. Whatever you can't handle, Koala zaps into submission with a sort of magic dingleberry that sits atop his fez. Koala's fez also doubles as the inventory storage area, so when you pick something up that you need to save for later, you click it on the fez, and you click on the fez again to retrieve something. The puzzles, however, are another story: they range from ridiculously easy to incomprehensible (I was going to say they range from the sublime to the ridiculous, but there really weren't any sublime ones). In the dog/puppet world, the main puzzle involves navigating a maze (my second-least favorite kind of puzzle, sliding-tile puzzles being my least favorite). In the tiger/bunny world, the main puzzle comprises answering questions with the right responses to please the tiger/bunny, who is also a psychoanalyst. And last but not least, the main puzzle in the six-year-old genius space nut girl is to free your ship from some tractor beams, which entails the absolute most hideous arcade sequence I've ever encountered in any adventure game—you must traverse not one, not two, but three tunnels while avoiding laser beams that zap you back to the beginning if they hit you. Discovering these so near the end of the game was sheer misery (I truly, from the bottom of my heart, detest arcade sequences in adventure games), and they almost stopped me dead. I thought I could probably complete one of them, but then to be faced with two more after that, well, just the thought was agonizing. However, a couple of days ago, I got a brilliant flash of insight and searched the Internet for cheat codes (you know how in some games, you can just type a word or number to skip a puzzle that you don't want to do?). There were no cheat codes, but one fellow had written a walkthrough that gave great strategies for completing each of the three stupid tunnel puzzles, so I followed his advice. Lucky you, dear reader, because I was then able to complete the game and thus my review, and now you can profit from my experience and not bother with this game.

The graphics weren't bad. They were your standard, run-of-the-mill cartoon animations. The colors were rich, the backgrounds were fairly well-drawn. The cut scenes, and there were a lot of them, clashed in style with the game-playing part of the graphics—they sometimes looked as if they were drawn with colored pencils. Even considering this, my only real gripe with regard to the graphics was that, while the copyright date is 1997, you must switch your monitor to 256 colors before Koala Lumpur will even launch.

The music was also run-of-the-mill, but the voice acting was simply horrid. Koala Lumpur sounded like a stereotypical, no, that's not the word I'm looking for ... a caricature of an East Indian gentleman, what was once known as a "wog" in the days of British Empiricism. I am a not very politically correct, middle-aged white woman, and even I was slightly offended. The Dingo Dog actor affected an Australian accent (dingos ... Australia ... get it?) that was also grossly exaggerated. The actors were all too loud, due more to bombastic attitude than actual volume. But I saved the worst for last: you are a fly, and what do flies do? Why, buzz, of course. Incessantly. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseam. Why was there no fly swatter for Koala to do away with his pesky little friend? From time to time, I thought I had swimmer's ear—I must have used about 50 Q-tips over the course of this game, to no avail, of course, and sometimes when I went to bed, I dreamed about buzzing.

Overall, this is one game I can't in good conscience recommend to anyone. My final verdict is the coveted double cornpoop. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Colossal Pictures Publisher: Broderbund Software, Inc. Release Date: 1997

Available for: Windows

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System Requirements

Windows 95/3.1
2X CD-ROM drive

Where to Find It

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