The title of this game? It’s false. Also, instead of reviewing one game, I’m actually reviewing two, since Ben There Dan That is a direct precursor to the game Time Gentlemen, Please!, and is required gaming if you want to have any idea what is going on in the story. Actually, that’s not strictly true. The main characters give you a brief run down of what they’re doing and why at the beginning of Time Gentlemen, Please!, though honestly it enhances the experience if you’ve been there through it all.
Ben There Dan That and Time Gentlemen, Please! are both adventure games in the same vein of Sam and Max and Monkey Island. That is, they are incredibly funny point and click adventures with an increasingly bizarre plot, involving characters that can usually get a chuckle out of you with their antics. Actually, when I was talking about this article with Elrood not more than like twenty minutes ago, I told him these games were like playing Sam and Max, if there were a lot of dick jokes in Sam and Max.
The game follows the story of Dan Marshall and Ben Ward, who are also, for the record, the two dudes responsible for making the series. Ben seems to be the alpha male of the two. He’s the character you control, and its up to him to decide which items should be shoved into the ol’ abstract inventory, which ones to combine and when and how to use them. He’s the one who will be talking to all the NPCs and flicking switches, opening doors and fighting the undead.
Dan is his friend, who sometimes likes to code things. At the start of Ben There Dan That, he’s working on coding an adventure game. This game is, presumably, Ben There Dan That, saying as how Ben often will complain about the way he is drawn. Ben is upset because with his current animation, he can barely walk in a straight line. Dan thinks the art style is just kooky. Roll with it.
Dan is also, for the most part, functionally useless. He is the Max to your Sam. Every now and then he can be tapped to do an activity too stupid for Ben to engage directly, but for the most part his job is to follow Ben around and dispense some sass.
The first game opens with a horrible dilemma: Ben and Dan are returning home from an adventure, just in time for a sweet ass Magnum PI marathon, but their TV doesn’t work! Oh no! So, off they go to obtain a coat hanger and get better reception for the TV. This leads, inevitably, to shenanigans and possibly some alien abductions. The next part? Spoiler:
Ben and Dan eventually end all life on the planet.
Okay, spoiler done. Whew, that was a toughie. Anyway, Time Gentlemen, Please! picks up right after the end of the first game, and thrusts us back into the roll of our two heroes. Ben and Dan resolve to make their way back to the, uh, alien ship they wandered around in the first game and score some sweet time travel technology. They quickly resolve to go back and time and prevent the creation of the coat hanger, thus fixing all of their troubles forever.
Quite predictably, they screw that up pretty bad and before you know it Hitler is on the verge of taking over the world, with only noble Canada resisting the horrid regime. Also, Hitler has an army of dinosaur nazis, and possibly robot and death laser technology. So, Dan and Ben begin their grand adventure to… stop themselves from stopping the creation of the coat hanger.
Therein lie the shenanigans.
The game itself is largely a parody of adventure games. Dan and Ben will banter back and forth on why its okay to pick up this object but not that object, and throw in a good bit of accidental murders and jokes about dicks and poop along the way. It’s a lot classier than I’m making it out to be, trust me. Well… kinda. It’s… a little classier than I’m making it out to be. Yeah.
The writing is solid, humorous, and in itself the reason why you should be playing these games. The art and animation are pretty sketchy, but its more of a style thing, really. It really is, as Dan says, kooky.
The only problem I had with the game is a combination of the art and the execution. At times in the game I became stuck simply because, for example, I was not aware that I could actually click on a certain part of a dead pig, because the pointer decided to be a mite touchy, or because I was unaware that I could open this set of drawers but not the other set of drawers, and so on and so forth. Some of the mini games in Time Gentlemen, Please! are a bit tricky too. I personally enjoy the in-game adventure game of a crudely animated Hitler trying to escape from a prison cell. Adding the command “invade” to his repertoire really helped sell it too.
Anyway, Ben There Dan That is now a freeware game, so hey! Free games. Personally, the version I got came tacked on Time Gentlemen, Please! for mere pennies after I bought it on steam. Any fan of adventure games who isn’t too easily offended will spend quite a few hours watching Ben and Dan half ass their way through their problems.
Just leave the part where you have to play Chucky Egg to me. I rule at Chucky Egg.