Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures

Publisher: Telltale Games Price: $34.99 (about �25) from www.telltalegames.com Format: PC Age rating: 7+ IT S been 20 years since Nick Park released A Grand Day Out and introduced the world to a crackpot inventor and his canine companion. Since then, W

Publisher: Telltale Games

Price: $34.99 (about �25) from www.telltalegames.com

Format: PC

Age rating: 7+

IT'S been 20 years since Nick Park released A Grand Day Out and introduced the world to a crackpot inventor and his canine companion. Since then, Wallace and Gromit have gone on to star in several Oscar-winning films and helped cement Park's reputation as one of the best animators of his generation.

While the time-consuming subtleties of filming in claymation mean new adventures are a rarity, there have been several attempts at filling the void with videogame adaptations. Although these haven't been disasters by any means, they've never really captured the charm of the original cartoons.

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Hopefully, all that is about to change with the release of Grand Adventures, a new point-and-click adventure available in four downloadable episodes. The first of these - Fright of the Bumblebees - has just been released and it's really rather good.

The new game sees Wallace up to his old inventing tricks as he comes up with a plan to produce vast quantities of honey by growing gigantic flowers to feed bees. Naturally enough, his hair-brain scheme goes horribly wrong when the mail order growth serum he uses proves too strong and he unwittingly creates an army of giant-sized bees. Obvious hilarity ensues as the player busily swaps between man and dog, trying to solve a number of silly puzzles to put things right.

The game's controls are admirably straightforward with characters moved around by pressing arrow keys while the right and left mouse button lets you interact with the scenery and pick up and use objects. Looks-wise, the game is almost indistinguishable from the animated films, and you'll even be able to spot fingerprints on various characters for added authenticity. Sadly, Peter Sallis was unable to voice Gromit but his stand-in does a passable imitation.

It's great to find a game that challenges your wits rather than your trigger finger and the first episode should take you three to four hours to complete. After that, a new episode will be released each month and then all four will be collected in a boxed edition. As Wallace might say: "Cracking idea, Gromit".

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