The Brothers Brill

It's not very often these days that a game actually makes me smile. Infact, due to the appalling state of fuck-everyone-except-me modern-day living, it's not very often anything makes me smile. Except, perhaps, random acts of extreme violence - but that's only because I play computer games...right?
Yesterday however, a Dreamcast game entered my life that not only made my indifferent Mona Lisa-like face crack into a smile, but also induced a strange muscular reaction during which my body shook and spasms in my chest forced strange audible gurgles to escape through my mouth. In other words, it actually made me laugh.

The game? Why, it's Floigan Brothers Episode 1, of course!

You'd be forgiven for having never heard of it - indeed, untill yesterday I'd never even seen the game in the flesh...er, plastic...and was convinced that it was one of those vapourware games that the mags loved to review and excite us with, but that never came out to buy.

But Floigan Brothers is real and I paid the paltry sum of £6.99 for it, while also picking up a copy of Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000: Euro Edition as part of the deal after Father Krishna's shining account of it a few posts back. As a sidenote, SWWS Euro is indeed a top notch kickabout - and comes highly reccomended, but you'd be advised to skip the revolting intro sequence lest it causes your eyeballs to implode.

Moigle at work assembling your 'surprise' in the garage. Wonder if it's one of those life-like shagging dolls from Japan...

Obviously, you can't tell from this, but the animation is supoib

But back to Floigan Bros. Apparently (well, according to the omnipresent Planet Dreamcast), Floigan Bros. was a top secret platform game that Sega had in development since the early days of the Dreamcast, and had been pored over for around 3 years untill it was perfect for consumption. Obviously, the efforts of the development team only reached a very small section of the market due to the scandalous demise of the platform as a whole, but rest assured: The Dreamcast Junkyard is here to spread the good gospel of the Foigan Bros!

Yes, you can punch your brother. At last!

I didn't really know what to expect from FB - I read a few reviews online, and most are quite favourable (although hint at the relative shortness of the quest), but none really set you up for the visual and sonic treat that assaults the senses like American friendly fire when you power up. You know it's going to be good though, when the developer's intro screens are as well produced as an episode of Spongebob Squarepants and the 'press start' screen dialogue has the feeling of a cartoon version of Buggsy Malone.

Upon pressing start, you are given the option to play a tutorial or the main game, although you are quite literally forced to complete the tutorial the first time you play, as the main game isn't accessible untill you've done so. However, this isn't your run-of-the-mill "go here and press that" text scroller, oh no: what you get when you load up Floigan Bros. tutorial is for all intents and purposes a real time, polygonal cartoon with some of the best voice acting and animation you've ever seen. The tutorial level is more than a simple training excercise, it's a fully scripted and seamless introduction to the world of Hoigle and Moigle Floigan, where it's your job (as the shorter, more intelligent Hoigle) to help Moigle collect ingredients to make some cookies. Sounds stupid, I know, but it's got to be the best tutorial I've played and they way the chracters interact can sometimes feel like you're not actually playing a game at all - just watching a cutscene...but you're not! you're playing a real-time game! It's amazing!

After the tutorial is over and you've been shown how to coerce the bigger, thicker, computer controlled Moigle into doing stuff like play mini games, and 'taught' him a few new tasks (such as standing in various spots so that you can run around him, make him dizzy and faint, and then jump on his flabby gut to bounce to higher places); it's off outside into the Junkyard to start the game proper.

A scene from the brilliant tutorial

The premise of the game is rather simple: Moigle wants to make Hoigle a suprise in the garage, but to do so he needs his help collecting seven items from around the Junkyard. Before you think it's just going to descend into standard platform guff after the outstanding intro level, stop. It doesn't: it's just a continuation of the same high quality graphics, superb animation and really quite unclassifiable gameplay as you guide Hoigle and Moigle around the 'Yard solving puzzles, taking hints from a trio of signpost holding mice and playing umpteen mini-games. It's really quite a task to describe how this game works without being able to actually show you, but please - this is a game that deserves your attention, not only because it's one of the prettiest looking games on the Dreamcast, but because it's so God-damned original and refeshing too.

And did I mention laugh-out-loud funny? If you see this game: BUY IT.

Also, if you want, click here to read my review of the really quite pallatable Deep Fighter over at Review Centre.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Meh, I recently got Floigan Brothers with a batch of used DC gamers, and it was the only game of the lot that would not run, even though the disc doesn't even look that bad :-/ I was really looking forward to playing it, and even more so after reading this review... gotta try to pick it up again I guess ;-)

Anonymous said...

AHA! So, it's go good! Good. I saw it 2 months ago in a nice cosy little place... hopefully it's still there.

Oh, and wtf does jsnani mean?

Tomleecee said...

That's a real shame about your disc not working - Floigan Bros is a real gem of a game. My DC is temperamental with some games too - even if the surface of the GD looks like a pool of crystal clear nordic water.

Tomleecee said...

Gnome - what's 'jsnani'?! You've lost me there old mucker...

Caleb said...

Good review. Another game I never have seen before...

Huh. My dreamcast seems to have the same problem with some games not working. Even if they look nice.

For example Tony Hawk can't skateboard since the damn disk stops reading and goes back to the dreamcast menu.

-On a side note-
Consignment resale shop woman says she has like 40 dreamcast games and assorted systems and controllers for me too look over.

Yeah!

fatherkrishna said...

I think I will have to find this on eBay. I had a hint that it might be a winner as the good folks at IGN Dreamcast had adopted it as their moniker. I like games which break the mould!

Tom let me know how you progress in SWWS... Is there any way we could play our respective CPUs as opponents and see how far our respective teams progress. Is there a league option? Am I the ultimate in sad and tragic nerds?
Just got four free tickets to see the real MCFC play SUFC tomorrow!
Hussah!

Anonymous: There was recently a very useful post about cleaning games using toothpaste. Apparetly you have to clean from the inside out in straight lines rather than random rubbing, but you would have to look it up for exact details. i too have suffered from the unscathed non-playing disc and its a real ball-ache.

Anonymous said...

jsnani, just like uqwfoksp, is stuff I have to enter in order to post a comment...

fatherkrishna said...

Gnome you're twisting my melon man!
Are you speaking some gnomish tongue or what!?

fatherkrishna said...

Caleb! You lucky, lucky boy...

The GagaMan(n) said...

Aw man, I've always wanted to try this game out, the cartoony animation in it is stunning even by today's standards, as 3D video games rarely ever look truely 'cartoony' is how the characters move about.

Also, if you watch that Dreamcast American commercial I posted for the Dreamcast's 7th Birthday last month, you'll actually spot the Floigan Brothers in it, even though it was a ad for the console's launch in '99!

The GagaMan(n) said...

On another note: having that Sega load up screen as a background looks terrible! Please change it back!

Anonymous said...

Simply referring to the word verification thingy...

fatherkrishna said...

Gagaman I heartily endorse that request...

Anonymous said...

Guess I have to agree... let's return to the tradtional DC backgrounds...

Tomleecee said...

Oi! I think the background looks ace! Plus, it has the double connotations of not only the DC itself loading, but the Junkyard loading too! But, if public opinion is so anti-new background, the administration will adhere and act accordingly.

Shit. When did this become a democracy? We'll be bombing other websites soon, under the pretence of the War on Sony.