Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time
First posted on 14 March 1998. Last updated on 08 April 2011.
|Watching television can be bad for your health.|
|Remember the famous dead parrot sketch?|
|Can you spot the loony in the Loonatorium?|
|Whack a head!|
|Which one is the real Mr. Gumby?|
What is the Secret to Intergalactic Success? How can one reach it? What does the brain have to do with it? The answers to these questions and lots more can be found in Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time! On your way to finding the secret, you find out how the brain works and for what it can be used—that is, if you consider a Monty Python brain to be an average brain from an average person!
To play Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time, you should really begin by reading the manual. I know that most gamers do not even bother removing the game manual from the box, but in this case you should read it! It is a production in itself that is worthy of the Monty Python name and that is reason enough to make an effort to read it. There is not much of a story outlined in the manual (much like a Monty Python sketch or movie), but it is still great to experience. After the introduction you arrive at a screen showing a head with 6 brain lobes. Your goal is to solve each lobe to find the Secret to Intergalactic Success. Starting from the Loonatorium, the lobes must be solved in a certain order. All the directions you need are then given to you to by the "Spot the Loony" announcer—voiced by Eric Idle himself! Beware! Since this is a Pythonian game, do not believe everything he tells you!
In each brain lobe you visit, you have one goal—find the hidden maze. In order to find the maze's entrance, you must find the correct hotspot on screen. As you proceed through the game, these hotspots become harder and harder to find. This is the fun part of the game. Wherever you click on the screen, something familiar from the famous BBC series Monty Python's Flying Circus pops up! You may hear some sound bits, see some animations with voiceovers by Monty Python, or watch some film snippets from a Monty Python movie. Your mouse may even start to drift away on screen while strange things start to fly around. It is complete Monty Python silliness! Once you have found the maze, be ready for a roller coaster ride. Your goal is to reach the end of the maze and gather 4 essential clues. Each clue is given to you after correctly answering each of the 4 trivia questions. These clues are needed to solve the corresponding brain lobe. After you solve all the lobes, the secret shall be yours!
The game interface in Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time is classic pythonesque. Each game screen uses cardboard style drawings on which all animations are overlaid. This can be a typical Monty Python cartoon, a small snippet from a famous Monty Python sketch, or a very silly mini-game. The animations are extremely well integrated. The quality of the movie and sound snippets is great. The number of hotspots can be overwhelming. You can stay on the same screen for hours without getting bored. Your mouse, on the other hand, may get very tired from all the clicking around!
There are a lot of new materials in this game provided by the original Monty Python cast, including new animations by Terry Gilliam and new voiceovers by Idle. There are about 30 snippets of famous scenes from the Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes. Among the famous Monty Python sketches featured in this game are The Dead Parrot, The Cheese Shop, Nudge-Nudge, and The Argument Clinic. The snippets are all of extremely good quality, both in sound and video. As a kind of a bonus disguising as one of the brain lobes, the desktop pythonizer can be used outside the game to enlighten your desktop. It is filled with screensavers and sound bits that can be attached to keystrokes or to windows events, animated and unanimated wallpapers, and even custom icons. A welcomed feature is the Wallpaper Zapper that allows the instant creation of custom wallpaper from any scene during the game. As for the production merit, I have only one thing to say—the designers at 7th Level who have worked on this game must be real Monty Python lovers. They have managed wonderfully to create a game environment that fills with Monty Python silliness from beginning to end.
Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time is not the traditional adventure game. You do not have an inventory. You goal is to simply find the hidden maze in each of the brain lobes, discover the hidden clues, and use them to solve the lobe. There are 6 lobes to be solved—the Loonatorium, the Corridor, The Exploding TV Room, the Portrait Gallery, the Stage, and the Brain. Hidden in each lobe is the entrance to Inner Space or the maze. While wandering around you must carefully listen and watch everything that pops up on screen. This is because you have to answer several trivia questions posted later in each maze. Of course, if you know by heart all the episodes from Monty Python's Flying Circus, these questions should not be much of a problem. While the lobes have to be solved in a certain order, you probably have to explore all the lobes before you can answer these trivia questions. Once inside the maze, good mapping (which can be a challenge) should aid you in getting through the area. It is perfectly possible that the exit you are looking for only lies a few short rides from the start, but if you follow Idle's hints you may end up completely lost. His hilarious directions certainly put you on the wrong track every now and then. Luckily, you can reset the maze.
This is a really great game. It is a game that any Monty Python lover must buy. Even if you do not like playing computer games, you should still buy it for the Monty Python materials in it. The title can be easily enjoyed without completing any of the key game quests. Of course, you may miss a lot if you do not actually play through the entire game. This game plays like a "24 hours, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year" Monty Python's Flying Circus episode. You can start playing whenever you want, leave, and then jump back into the game at the same point without ever having bothered to save. You can wonder around from one spot to another and keep on discovering new things. You have lots of fun sorting out the real clues from the useless ones while laughing your heart out. In fact, during your search on what to do next your attention should focuses on the amazing quality of the sound clips, video snippets, and animations. There are a surprisingly large amount of sound clips in this game. Even clicking on the same hotspot multiple times triggers different comments or events to occur. This adds to the overall quality of the game and its replay value. The more you click, the better the game plays. The desktop pythonizer is a great addition. It is fun to explore and try out. You can end up with incredibly crazy screensavers, a keyboard that gets very noisy when certain keys are hit, lots of stupid desktop icons, silly wallpapers, weird sound bits connected to windows events, and others.
Nonetheless, there are some minor flaws in this game. First is the fact that this software title considers itself to be a game. The only true gaming component in this title is that you are able to "win" the game if you manage to solve the mazes and the brain lobes. The win, however, adds little to the general gaming experience. The absence of a coherent game plot is therefore only a minor flaw. Some gamers may get bored of the mazes. There is not much happening once you are inside them aside from riding around for hours trying to find the exits. The nature of these mazes can be tedious. Fortunately, 7th level has provided the maps of these mazes on its website. I really do not think it is shameful to use these maps since the mazes, in my opinion, are not at all important elements in enjoying this title. On the other hand, you have to complete them in order to win the game, and only by winning the game you are awarded with some more Monty Python silliness. The cursor does not highlight the hotspots on screen (this is different from the sequel Monty Python's The Meaning of Life where there is a highlighting cursor), so pixel hunting can be a very tedious task. Is it really a flaw when the entire screen is a hotspot?!
On the technical side, Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time does not run in native Windows 95 or Windows 98 mode. According to technical support, the game should run if you use a generic 16-bit CD-ROM driver. I have tried it without success. The desktop pythonizer also does not run in Windows 95 or Windows 98. Considering the fact that the game is still being sold at a time when most computers are running these operating systems, this is a serious oversight! The problem is worsened by the fact that 7th Level has not released a patch of this game. You may work your way around this problem by tweaking the system settings manually. Thus, many Monty Python fans may not be able to play this game once they upgrade their operating system from Windows 3.x. Since the cover box states that the game runs in Windows 3.x and higher, some buyers may feel tricked. Some gamers may also complain about the small size of the video snippets. As with Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail, size and quality are nearly always inversely proportional to each other. Once again, the game designers have to make a choice between them.
To conclude, if you like Monty Python, do not think twice—this game is for you! If you do not know of Monty Python, this game is a great opportunity to experience this group of comic geniuses. Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time is indeed a great waste of time but for all the good reasons! I can play for hours just to watch the Monty Python sketches, listen to the Monty Python sound snippets, and see the Monty Python animations. I recommend this game wholeheartedly to every Monty Python lover and anyone else who is looking for a good laugh. If you buy this game, you are in for a complete Monty Python experience. Know what I mean? Nudge-nudge! Say no more!