Founded in 1993, 7th Level's first title featured a comedy troupe they would revisit until the very end of the company's life five years later. Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time may have been conceived as simply an interactive way to view that dead parrot sketch again, but the final product turned out to be so much more.
The game is divided into four different main screens, a mini-game collection and a 'Pythonizer' (more on that later). Each are represented in the title screen by the lobes of a brain, which is apt because the entire game is mental. If there is a goal, it's to solve each lobe (which apparently needs to be done in order), though each of them goes beyond moon logic by just simply being insane. Who knows if there's any reason to any of it?
Upon release, there was a $5,000 competition for those who 'beat' the game. I say 'beat' the game, but there's no real clear objective. In fact, lucky Pythonites can enter by clicking randomly in the hope that you might come across that specific hotspot which leads to that elusive piece of code. It's not really random, but it's certainly designed to feel that way.
The first lobe is the 'Loonatorium', a brain-fart of a collage consisting of Terry Gilliam's unique art style. Every click does something, whether it be a fart noise, a video clip or the unleashing of a flapping man-chicken that you have to kill. At this point your cursor turns into a crosshair and it's time to unleash bullet hell. Or not, as it may sometimes be the case. If you fail at some of these mini shooting galleries, you're sent to a penalty box where you're confronted with a clown or the Spanish Inquisition. It may seem like a punishment, but it's actually a clue on what to do next. For example, the Spanish Inquisition arrive through a door so you now have to find it. Once you do, you are transported into a maze where riddles will test you on your mundane Python knowledge. I'm sure everyone knows how many times the dead parrot is beaten against the shop counter (five) or which mountain has the biggest tits (hint: its peaks are massive too). Do this and you get some letters to solve a later puzzle cryptically hidden behind more surreal humour.
The other screens work in almost the same way. The Exploding TV Room lets you shoot up the fireplace or learn about penguins while the Portrait Gallery contains a treasure trove of clips along with a money-hungry slot machine. The Corridor has the most interesting mini-game by also being a pinball table. It doesn't compete with the likes to 3D Ultra or Pro Pinball but it at least adds some variety. To complete the game, the menu screen itself as well as the introductory theatre each have their own hidden mazes, but are amongst the last to be completed.
To round out the package, the last two lobes contain a trio of basic mini-games that are more frustrating than they need to be and a 'Pythonizor' which can change your desktop theme. The games are jokey representations of Whac-A-Mole and Pang with the third being some kind of floaty chicken death trap thing. These were my least played sections as the games hold little humour and get old fast while desktop theming hasn't been a thing for over a decade (not to mention it's incompatible to modern systems). It does contain some funny little audio clips so it has that I guess.
Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time lives or dies on whether you're a fan of their unique brand of British humour. If you are, you'll be laughing more often than not - even during the crappy game and maze sections. If nothing else, this is a hugely hilarious game. Even if you've seen every sketch a dozen times there's enough new here from the original team to keep it from being just a well-made excuse to put some low-res clips on a disk.
It may be a complete waste of time, but the time wasted was worth it.
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. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.
02.03.2020 Version 2 - Updated DOSBox to 0.74.3. Added manual
File Size: 676 Mb. Install Size: 788 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time is © 7th LevelMonty Python's Flying Circus is © Python [Monty] Pictures Ltd
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me