The folks at Parroty Interactive are at it again with another pop-culture parody. This time it's the classic 90's supernatural procedural that falls victim to their particular brand of 'comedy'. Having a timely release in 1997 when X-Files fever was at a high, there's a lot for The X-Fools to mock, but how does it fare for fans and non-fans alike?
To anyone who has played any other Parroty game, you'll know it fares not well at all. I've previously covered two other games in the catalogue (Star Warped & Micro$haft WinBlows '98) and to its credit, The X-Fools does feel like a step up from mire in which each of those both resides. Any extra micro-points could be due to my unabashed love of the original series, but it still won't add up to anything other than a bad game which can only be enjoyed ironically. Still, irony goes out the window to anyone who paid good money on this crap. If I did - and I remember being tempted back then - I would feel more than a little gypped.
The voice actors do a decent enough job impersonating David Duchovny
& Gillian Anderson. Shame about the over-use of bad puns.
The plot, such that it is, sees Agents Mully and Scudder (often confusingly referred to as Mulder and Scully) fired from their positions at the FBI and have hunkered down in a technology-filled trailer to continue their search to for the truth. The trailer can be searched in a single 360° panorama with a number of interactions. There are three games (more on them later), and four points of multimedia among the few 'comedic' hotspots. You can view compressed copyright-free videos - complete with Mully and Scudder commentary - on the VHS player. You can hear their takes on some copyright-free photos scanned on the computer. The tape recorder and projector will reveal a number of sci-fi infused parodies of 90s TV shows such as Ellien and Mad About U.F.O.s and lastly, the filing cabinet will host dossiers on a select number of X-Files characters. Some of the latter are actually amusing, particularly the Flukeman's life as a wild-child cheerleader.
None of these are open to you straight away, though. You'll need video cassettes, CDs, storyboard tapes and dossier papers respectively to unlock them. They can be found around the trailer, popping up randomly in one of four places so it's hardly a hunt to begin with. They are to be dragged on to the correct hotspots to view one of the many skits. This is the main goal of the game, with the screen going white after a certain number is revealed to allow for what little excuse for a plot there is to take place. This will eventually lead to the rambling finale explaining all of the alien activity. I'll leave it to you to discover it if you're curious. If I had to, so should you.
Abduct This! is better than Parroty's usual effort, but far from perfect.
If you're tired of the skits, or even skipping past them, there are three mini-games to pass your time. The one the developers are obviously most proud of is an arcadey timewaster called Abduct This!. You can tell they love their creation because not only does it have its own separate shortcut in case you want to play it without navigating the main game, but the now-defunct website also had a browser-playable version. You control a flying saucer with your mouse, beaming up a variety of beings running across the screen for points. You only have a certain amount of beam power so you have to weigh in how and when you use it. It's incredibly unbalanced as the gun-toting agents take the longest amount of time, but can also shoot you instantly depleting you of your power. You can only beam one being up at a time too so if there are two agents on screen at once, you won't have a chance. Little green aliens are worth the most and take relatively little time to scoop up, but they are vulnerable to both the agents and the trailer trash hicks with a shotgun. If you're too late, they'll be shot to smithereens. A fun little idea in theory but in practice, it's poorly implemented.
Like Star Warped, the You Don't Know Jack clone is the most fun minigame of the bunch.
The best game in my X-Files loving opinion is Trust No One. This is a trivia game based on the show's first four seasons and a direct rip-off of the video game gameshow You Don't Know Jack. I was not expecting some of the questions either, with more than a few stumping me. Looks like I have to revisit the show again for the umpteenth time - something good has to come out of the playthrough. It's hosted by a caricature of Richard Langley (memorably played by Dean Haglund in the show), but the attempts at humour here can't really be described as such.
There's also a Pac-Man clone called Run Agent, Run! in which you play as either Mully or Scudder navigating one of four mazes each based on a classic episode. The power pellets work a little differently here, with you gaining the temporary ability to shoot down foes instead of munching them on touch. It's certainly playable unlike some other minigames in Parroty's back catalogue, but it has very little meat on its bones. It's nice to see their interpretations of the locations of classic episodes, including the forests of Darkness Falls and the sewers of The Host, but it's ultimately Pac-Man and little more.
Run Agent, Run! is a half-decent Pac-Man clone. It features stages based on several episodes
including Darkness Falls, The Host, Jose Chung's from Outer Space & Little Green Men.
That's all there is to it really. Some of the impersonations are nicely performed but wasted on a series of incredibly unfunny jokes. There is a terminal with which you could access the X-Fools website, but that obviously no longer works over twenty years later. I have included a link to the archived site from Wayback Machine, but I couldn't find a way to inject it into the game itself. I doubt you're missing much.
By now, you should know what to expect with a Parroty game. There was a reason why the word 'comedy' had inverted commas throughout the review. The only bit I really chuckled at was the opening movie, which re-shot the shows iconic opening in a very silly way. Be forewarned that if you ever choose to give The X-Fools a chance, do so with the knowledge that it's all downhill from there.
That being said, I'm still strangely drawn to Parroty's games. Not enough for a second playthrough (hell no!), but enough curiosity for a first. I don't know whether that says more about me than the game.
To download the game, follow the link below. This exclusive installer uses PCem running Windows '95. Press Ctrl-Alt-PgDown to toggle fullscreen. Press Ctrl-End or middle mouse button to release the mouse. Tested on Windows 10.
IMPORTANT - Remember to shut down the emulated version of Windows before exiting PCem. This could potentially result in errors, lost saves and corrupt data. Close the program only when it is safe to do so.
File Size: 525 Mb. Install Size: 861 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
The X-Fools: The Spoof is Out There is © Parroty Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me