for PC (Windows)

Company: Arnaud
Year: 2016
Genre: RPG, Adventure, Action
Theme: Fighting / Horror
Language: English
Licence: Freeware
Views: 1445
Review by LostInSpace (2023-01-28)

Freshly released from prison, Kane shares an adventurous secret with his girlfriend. A fellow inmate took Kane into his confidence when he passed away and told him the place where he hid the loot of his criminal activities many years ago. With the last of his money, Kane and Lorry buy a Greyhound ticket and disembark in pitch darkness at an abandoned cluster of houses in the middle of the forest. Driven only by their young love and dreams of making big money. But they have been warned: this place is cursed and werewolves are up to mischief.

The plot is inspired by The Howling, a 1981 US film by Joe Dante about werewolves, released in France as… Hurlements.

You move in the game world with directional arrows. The view then changes, for example, from a place in the forest to the path straight ahead or in a house from one room to the next. Typically, there are also times when you move upwards, which then corresponds to the stairs leading upwards. The player has an inventory that is assigned to either Kane or Lorry. If you want to exchange items, both must be in the same place. Enemies are eliminated simply by clicking on a weapon in the inventory, provided that the weapon hits, which is again randomly determined. In the past, this quite extensive control had to be done laboriously with the joystick on the Amstrad CPC.

Time has not stood still, however, and 35 years after the release of Hurlements, a French fan has realised the remake in a one-man project with completely new graphics and modern point'n'click controls. The control system is similar to the original, but omits the overloaded icon-controlled menu navigation altogether. Instead, the mouse pointer itself recognises whether you want to throw, take, use or shoot something. The graphics have also been polished up while retaining the retro charm through restrained and sober pixel graphics. The dark colours throughout convey the creepy atmosphere very well.

Strong enough for the next challenge?

On the one hand, Hurlements is a kind of role-playing game, because you quite often run into hostile creatures that you can tackle with an axe, chisel or even a rifle. The two game characters Kane and Lorry have limited life energy, which is replenished by food, drink and first-aid kits. As this little mini-party, you scour the environment and come across not only valuable items but also deadly traps.

However, defusing them and using the items correctly involves solving tricky contexts, which in turn make Hurlements seem a bit like an adventure game. Therefore, the term action-adventure is perhaps the most appropriate.

Due to the very limited memory of the Amstrad CPC, the game world of Hurlements was limited to a few dozen screens. The remake retains this in detail, so that after a short exploration, a large part of the game world is already known. The more detailed exploration and the solving of the puzzles under the constant danger of approaching enemies then results in some nice action. Since you can save at any time, this oldie really is served up on a silver platter.

In my opinion, the remake is a quite successful fan project that captures the character of the original well and makes it accessible to a much wider audience than this game ever had in its original version for the CPC.

After 35 years…

…shining in new splendour

So, the original Hurlements was in terms of success the opposite of the first part called Zombi, which was released 2 years earlier. The predecessor was so successful on the Amstrad CPC that it was even ported from ZX Spectrum to C64 to Amiga and even Atari ST. Zombi is also noteworthy historically because it was Ubisoft's first ever release. In that sense it becomes the foundation stone of a later global games giant. Without hesitation, the very young label gave the talented game designer of Zombi (Yannick Cadin) the chance to carry on with a follow-up. But the game recipe of Zombi could not be sold a second time with only changing the clothing. The sales figures of Hurlements were nightmarish.

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