I'm a sucker for cartoon-style point 'n click adventures, so much so that games otherwise designed for little children will keep my attention until the very end. Ace Ventura (1996, 7th Level) is something of an oddity in its tone. It's obviously geared at young children, yet hidden beneath the surface is a script filled with crass humour and innuendo.
From off-handed remarks about making 'whoopie' cushions, Eskimo kisses and freezing your balls to some questionable debris floating in a sewer-set mini-game, the pet detective has a mind not entirely suitable for the very young.
And then there's this...
All righty then!
The game-play, on the other hand, is only a step more complex than what you'd find in any Humongous game or Animated Storybook. Like those games, most areas of interest are clickable and often result in neat little animations, particularly in Ace's apartment. That's not to say children won't be able to play this "T" rated game. There's an option to tone down the more adult humour in the options menu (it's on by default, but you can turn it off by entering the password 'Ventura'), but I doubt most discerning gamers would opt for this. Most of the humour would go over the heads of anyone not yet in their double digits, but it's worth noting for any overprotective parents out there.
7th Level designed this game way back in 1996, a year after the second Ace Ventura movie starring Jim Carrey. I have played a fair few of their games by them, of which Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail - also reviewed on this very site - is perhaps my favourite after this. With the kind of off-kilter quality they put out, they are somewhat an underrated developer. Their initial manifesto was to create "interactive entertainment" such as the Monty Python games, and this would be the first and tragically only time a bonafide adventure game came from them. In 1997, they merged with Pulse Entertainment to create P7 Solutions - a corporate solutions company.
After playing Ace Venture to completion (which wasn't very hard), I wondered if the game was at all representative of the cartoon. I hadn't ever seen the show before even though I remember enjoying the movies quite a bit two decades ago. While the look and chaotic nature is spot-on, the cartoon is definitely more family-friendly going by the single episode I viewed on YouTube. It was entertaining, but overall I found the game to be far funnier.
The visuals and voice cast are the same as the Warner Bros. Television show, with a lead that gets the insane vocal inflexions Jim Carrey gave to the character on the big screen. Each click gets a quip of some kind that has a high hit-rate of being funny. And if they're not, they're short enough to move onto something else without much of an annoyance.
The puzzles are definitely on the simple side though no less enjoyable for it. They're mainly of the use-item-on-object variety, though you'll occasionally need to note down obvious passwords and clues on occasion. Outside of these are the dreaded slide and matching puzzles which I've never been fond of. At least Ace's encounters with them are few and far between.
I had the most trouble with the unskippable arcade segments which are easily the games weakest points. Whether it be dodging doo-doo in a side-scrolling sewer system, hopping over the backs of erratically moving whales or navigating a maze-like frozen road system on a snowmobile, all are universally infuriating to play.
I urge you not to quit, though. The game surrounding them is pretty darn decent. It's a short and easy romp with some great animations that - in my opinion - is down-right funny from start to finish.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Tested on Windows 10.
18.07.2020 - Ver.2 - Updated DOSBox to 0.74.3
File Size: 450 Mb. Install Size: 631 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Watch the Video Review here...
Ace Ventura (The Game) is © 7th Level
Ace Ventura (The Show) is © Warner Bros.
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me