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Randal's Monday (PC) artwork

Randal's Monday (PC) review

"Point Ďní Geek."

Jeff Anderson should retroactively voice anything of worth. Iím serious. Someone get hold of Peter Jackson and tell him the last couple of Hobbit films need to be reedited because, as good a job as Cumberbatch does voicing Smaug, Jeff Anderson could do it better. Disney should disown Tom Hanks; heís an okay Woody, I guess, but heís no Jeff Anderson. We all liked Christain Bale in Howlís Moving Castle, but you know who could do it better? Jeff Anderson.

Most of you are probably throwing out big league ďWho?Ē ís at this point. You might recognise Anderson from multiple appearances in Kevin Smith films, most notable as Randal in the Clerks flicks. He lends his voice to a different Randal in Nexusí Randalís Monday, a point and click game straddling the line between serving tribute to Smithís work and flat-out licensing it. The two Randals are different-ish people - the game doesnít take place within the filmís canon, but it isnít above dropping sly references towards its source material. Thereís a closed down video store with a familiar name; thereís an early exclamation of ďIím not even supposed to be here today!Ē; Jay and Silent Bob both make cameos. Okay, that last oneís not so sly, and Jason Mewes even pops up to voice his likeness.

The point I was originally trying to make before distracting myself is that, even by lofty adventure game standards, Randalís Monday is ridiculously well voiced. As well as being sarcastic, foul-mouthed and abusive, Andersonís Randal v2 embraces genre logic by being an open kleptomaniac who canít help but steal everything in sight and cram it into his pockets regardless of their potential use for various inventory puzzles. At its core, Randalís Monday is an old school project, 2D in nature and bereft of fancy modern innovations, sharing a lot of traits with the sillier adventures of the past, such as Discworld or Simon the Sorcerer. Or at least it would be if it wasnít for the constant cursing and the pop culture ODing.

Randalís Monday employs a point-blank shotgun approach to its pop culture references, in that it covers the screen in dozens and hopes you notice a handful at a time. Shelves in the background are stacked with triforces, shredder helmets and hoverboards. Photon backpacks, Portal-themed advertising posters and golden cherubs with Tim Schaferís face. Toy lightsabers sit comfortably close to Halo plasma blades; you shall not pass road signs contain a stencil of Gandalf. Lines of dialogue are lifted straight of Army of Darkness, Spiderman and Pulp Fiction. M. Night Shyamalan is routinely derided. Terminator arms and dragonballs sit amongst unsold Dreamcasts and Guitar Hero instruments. Waiting rooms have the level map from Ghouls & Goblins proudly displayed as works of art. People are called out for badly paraphrased Terry Prachett references. I could fill my word quota through these examples with ease. Iím sorely tempted to do so.

It would feel like pure overkill had the gameís main focus been to cram as many geeky references in as it could, but these things are mostly relegated to the background (mostly). Instead, it advances a tale of a cursed ring that Randal kind of accidentally steals from his best friend on the night of his engagement and then pawns off for rent money the next day. The problem is the next day never comes, and Randal is stuck reliving Monday over and over again, with only the changes he physically makes subtlety altering each repeated day. These start off as little things; the huge pile of cash he obtains for the ring slowly whittles away as heís forced to repay his overdue rent each day; using and destroying a fire escape means itís out of commission for the rest of the game. Trying to trick an obtuse metro ticket lady into supplying you with a day pass is a laborious task, but, once done, the ticket is forever valid and in your possession.

Itís an interesting gimmick, adding a fresh layer of the lateral thinking you already need to employ to make any logical sense of progressing. Knowing that the day will soft reset means that youíre constantly setting things in motion behind the scenes, for better or worse. Change the day of a sci-fi con, and the koala exhibit that should have taken place ceases to exist, and armies of homeless marsupials roam the streets. The problems often lay in getting there; Randalís Monday enjoys laying on arduously exhausting solutions to puzzles at times that makes some of its wacky predecessors look downright logical in comparison. Making a simple lockpick, for instance, requires the use of a broken radio, a spring, a sledgehammer, a ducky decorated coat hanger and a high powered blender. Obtaining a simple plastic badge asks you to give a small child a nail gun. Getting the nail gun means you have to distract a builder with some gum. Getting the gum means you have steal a coin from a hipster using cardboard boxes, music piped through a broken gutter system and a magnet. Donít even get me started on how I got that particular bit of music trickery set up. Dear god, please donít ask me about the magnet.

Thereís an in-game hint system which most people will probably view as a downright godsend. Not me! I beat the entire game using just the power of my mind so I could unlock the achievement for doing so and use it as easily manipulated proof to boast about in a review Iíd probably end up writing - observe:

But, should you succumb to a helping hand, know that every time you press the hint button, Randalís Monday kills a kitten. Odds are youíll go on a feline killing spree or fall into the trap of randomly clicking stuff together in the hopes of it melding into accidental success from time to time, and itís bloody frustrating. Yes, thatís a pitfall very much prevalent in the DNA of the genre, but the overt efforts toward the irrelevant and the ridiculous do conspire now and then to motivate the need to mash the keyboard with your face. Itís hard to stay angry, though; as well as the eventual satisfaction coming from plotting your solution (or the lingering guilt that youíve just killed a small family of cats) the game is almost as well written as it is voiced. Thereís always something just up ahead that will make you smile, or a tucked away reference to discover and nerd out on. It would be an interactive cartoon version of Groundhog Day if Bill Murray was constantly drunk, hated you a lot more, and gave up on seducing Andie McDowell to concentrate instead on trolling everyone he could find using weird constructs built from the rubbish he keeps finding in his pockets.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (November 26, 2014)

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