It can be fun to command an idiot. - Review By Celeryface - Page 1/2
When you picked up your Dreamcast on 9.9.99, do you remember hearing of Sega's "Top-Secret Platformer"? Well if so, it has finally been released, and is called Floigan Bros - Episode 1.
Developed by the same people who brought you NFL 2K, and NBA 2K series, Visual Concepts brings you their platform/adventure game Floigan Bros. - Episode 1 which has been in development for around three years. Floigan Bros sets you in the world of Hoigle and Moigle, the Floigan Brothers. Hoigle And Moigle team up together to protect their junkyard from Baron Malodorous and his gang of Mercenary Cats. To go along with the storyline, Moigle has a secret project that he is keeping hidden from his brother Hoigle, and needs seven pieces in order to complete the project. But Moigle cannot do this on his own, so to complete the project Moigle needs his big (not phsyically big, but older) brother's help to find all the missing pieces. While battling off the evil Baron and his gang of cats, Hoigle and Moigle also enjoy solving numorous puzzles and have fun playing games.
Visual Concepts developed a "state of the art" Artificial Intellegence (AI) system for Floigan Bros, which allows Moigle to react as a living character would, with all kinds of different emotions. (Happy, sad, and even extremely angry). There are thirteen areas within the junkyard to explore, and each area has different things that the Floigan brothers can interact with. When playing the game, you take the role of Hoigle, and by helping Moigle find his missing pieces to the secret project, and playing mini-games, you are rewarded with points. These points are then used to open up new abilities that you can teach Moigle, and also can be transfered to future episodes of the Floigan Bros. (Assuming that there will be more episodes)
Moigle will badger you whenever he wants something.
Floigan Bros. also allows you to logon the Internet to trade your Moigle character with others, and grab the monthly download called "Fun Moigle Things" (FMTs). When trading characters with others, you can see how their Moigle reacts to certain situations, as they may have taught him abilities that you have not yet discovered. The monthly FMT downloads add small, new features to your game. A new download is featured every month, and will stretch out the playability of the game, after you complete it. More on that, later in the review. You can also chat with other Floigan Bros. fans online as well.
The game features a tutorial mode that is set in a kitchen and teaches you all the different aspects of the gameplay, hence the title "tutorial mode". The tutorial mode is actually fun because you help Moigle try and cook some cookies, and to help you have to get all the stuff he needs from around the kitchen. So you get to play, have fun, and learn the gameplay at the same time.
Distributed across the junkyard, are emotion crates for Hoigle to use, and are activiated when Moigle gets extremely emotional either being sad, happy, or really mad. When Hoigle hits these stages of emotion, one of the crates will open, depending which mood Moigle is in, and Moigle will do something cool to you. The "cool" thing that happens after the emotion crates are activated, is that new areas open up in the junkyard for you to explore.
You can teach and play games with Moigle as well. Hoigle can teach and play games with Moigle like "hide and seek", and "high five". You can earn points by winning matches against Moigle to use to open up new games, or new abilites for Moigle to learn. Now onto the good, and the bad. Lots of both.
You'll often have to make use of Moigle's large size to complete a puzzle.
One of the first things that you will notice about this title is the cartoon-like presentation. The cartoony look of the Floigan Bros. is great. I enjoy cartoon worlds in videogames, like Stupid Invaders and Day Of the Tentacle. Visual Concepts did a great job getting Floigan Brothers to have that authentic cartoon look. To get that feel into the game, Visual Concepts presented the game just like a Saturday morning cartoon world. It even has a random intro, that is different everytime you start up the game. Not to mention the fact that the game has a really great looking environment. The junkyard, which is the main play area in the game, boasts some nice graphics and highly detailed textures. So overall Floigan Bros has some very sweet eye candy. And yes, eye candy can taste sweet.
Visual Concepts worked to develop Floigan Bros. for about three years. In fact, the title is old enough to be previewed in the first issue of the Official Dreamcast Magazine. It is evident that most of the time spent was programming the AI, and it shows. Moigal reacts with different emotions, such as happiness and sadness, as stated previously. Moigal can also learn new tricks and games and think about whether or not he wants to do something. I tip my hat to Visual Concepts with respect to the AI present in Floigan Bros. It is extremely well done.
The Saturday morning cartoon simplicity also carries over into the way the title is controlled. Floigan Bros features very basic controls which utilize the buttons on the Dreamcast controller perfectly. Your button layout consists of speak, point, action, and call, which are each assigned to one of the four face buttons. If another action, such as climbing, is necessary, the command is given to the A button. This is shown onscreen as it is in the recent Nintendo 64 Legend of Zelda titles. Other than that, the analog stick is used to move your Floigan brother around the screen, and the L and R triggers control the camera.
Next: More Good, The Bad and The Final Word