Thursday, 28 April 2016

ACE VENTURA


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

Download

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

Like this? Try These...

http://collectionchamber.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/discworld-2-missing-presumed.html  http://collectionchamber.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/zoocube.html  http://collectionchamber.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/ufos.html

20 comments:

  1. Great to see you back, Biffman 101! I follow any of your very interestingly written entries with curiosity and excitement!

    All the best to you,
    Thomas

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  2. Love the Windows 3.1 and 95 releases! Thank you!

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  3. How do I get proper MIDI music (running via a soundfont in VirtualMidiSynth) instead of simple Soundblaster/Adlib?

    I actually managed to get it working once by entering "SET MIDI=SYNTH:2 MAP:E MODE:1" in the DOSBox config file and selecting "SB16 All MIDI" in the MIDI Mapper section of the Windows 3.1 Control Panel, but so help me god I can't seem to get it working now.

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  4. Hi, Biffman! First of all, thank you awesomely! You made me play this game again, I thought I would never find it! I made several tries in order to play it, but nothing seemed to work out! I've even installed a virtual machine inside my PC, with Windows 95 and everything, but the only way I could play this, was with your version. So thank you again, that's awesome!

    But unfortunately I'm facing a bug... On the Huskies mission, when I first came into the mission and have to talk with the Eskimo, when I click to talk with him it opens the inventory (???), instead of giving the option to "Take me to your leader". Do you know something about it? Or am I the only one facing this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Sorry I'm late in replyinng - been a hectic month.

      I'm not aware of this bug, but I'll investigate when I have the time.

      Delete
  5. Another classic I haven't been able to play since I was a kid!!!
    Wish I paid attention to what I change in the dosbox.conf to get rid of the blur in fullscreen... I copied the video and render setting from Darkseed II and it was clean and clear got rid of the blur.

    Thanks a million!!!!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. All that's dissterent is fullresolution= changed from 'original' to 'desktop'. This does tend to give a cleaner image. Ace Ventura is one of my older installers after all.

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  6. Don't know if its a bug, when I start the game it shows the 7th Level and Morgan Creek logos with a voiceover of Ace but after that it doesn't show the intro with Ace and Spike on the mountain at the birds nest, it just goes straight to Aces apartment, I uninstalled then reinstalled and it does the same thing

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    Replies
    1. This isn't really a bug, but the remnant of a tested save. Start a new game (press F1 and use the watch menu) and it'll play.

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  7. hi , I have been struggling to find this game to play and found your version which is great. HOWEVER, once I have completed the whale jumping bit and im back at the apartment, when I click the key it brings up an error message which sayscannot open program-group file c:windows/quicktim.grp

    can you advise what I can do please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello. I've just played it to (almost) completion and I didn't experience this error. There will be an update soon, which will only update DOSBox to 0.7.3 but to me, it sounds as if it didn't install properly.

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    2. I'm having a similar error after releasing the seals. When i'm back at the apartment, where the boucer appears, if i select any item on Ace's shit the game show the error "invalid resouce", followed by several "program-group file" errors. Any idea on how to fix that?
      Also, can anyone tell me where the save file is saved? I want to copy it to reinstall the game

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    3. I'm curious as to why you're getting this error. I play it recently to make the review video and could not replicate the issue. Perhaps it's due to the update of DOSBox? I was planning to have an update by now, but I've been so busy it slipped my mind. I'll work on it later today.

      The save game can be found here...

      (Install dir)/HDD/7THLEVEL/ACE/ACEGAME.SAV

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    4. Thanks for the quick reply!
      After deleting the save file created at the installation, and starting a new game, the bug didn't reproduce anymore.

      Delete
  8. Thanks so much for uploading this. I've had trouble getting this game to work for years.

    Now I can actually play it, I have no idea how you save the game? Anyone know how to do this? I've tried looking to see if there is a menu in the watch but nothing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can click on Ace to open his shirt, then click on his watch there to enter the main in-game menu. Save is labeled on the button to the bottom right. Alternatively, you can press F4 for this menu or F2 to go straight to the save menu. (F1 goes to hints, F3 to the load screen)

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  9. Love how your working on some of these games but im having issues running this game. when i loud it up the game loads super slow then the audio stutters. not sure what is wrong. im running windows 10, 16gb ram with an AMD RYZAN 5 2500U CPU, and with Radion RX 560X graphics. any help would be awesome on what i need to get this game running.

    Thancks
    -Axel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sound issue is a sympton of the game running slow. Could it be your system's performance causng this? I would've though those stats would've been enough to emulate a Win3.1 game through DOSBox. See if the points in the below link help.

      https://fossbytes.com/how-to-fix-slow-performance-issue-in-windows-10-and-increase-overall-system-speed/?fbclid=IwAR3GWRVPmtoVp-k1KtoB0PRlyUPZGgHo5NcYPVNRe7N7ceQksMSBPatA4P8

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