Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure
Release Date: 05/31/2016
One of the best things about the adventure genre is its ability to envelop a vast number of different styles. Horror, comedy, courtroom dramas, and so many more have been covered over the years, and it would be quite difficult to get that kind of spread with any other type of game.
Continuing this trend is Demetrios, a game that takes a splash of a typical action adventure and mixes it with a large chunk of raunchy comedy. Imagine if the gang from American Pie had travel the world to find a hidden treasure and you get the idea. It’s an amusing idea, but that one simply wouldn’t work outside of the point-and-click world.
Let’s take a look.
The game stars Bjorn Thonen, a Parisian antique dealer with the disposition of a drunken toddler. He eats cookies off the floor and considers anything to be a potential urinal. Bjorn wakes from a drunken slumber one night to find his home invaded and himself attacked. It turns out one of his antiques holds great value and the hunt is on to find what was stolen and who took it. The overall plot is a straight forward adventure tale. Each step forward takes you to a new location and it all leads a potentially world changing event involving ancient prophecies and the like. Most of the plot is dumped on at the end in a series of big reveals that almost feels like a set of dominoes collapsing in rapid succession.
What makes the story stand out it’s is approach to the genre. It strives for irreverence above all else. The game never fails to highlight Bjorn’s stupidity or his lack of ethics. He’ll happily poison a cop with with bad ice cream in order to get an appointment made, he’ll lie to the girl next door to get her to go on a trip with him, and conveniently forget to pay his hotel bill. In his defense, everyone else is pretty much the same. The jokes come flying at an incredible rate. Most of them will surely flop, but the sheer volume means you’ll be chuckling as you go. However, the type of comedy the game resorts to is not universal. It’s a lot of fart jokes. I mean a LOT of fart jokes. We’re talking fart noises instead of sound effects, characters mistaking explosions for flatulence, etc. When it’s not fart jokes, it’s usually some sort of bodily fluid being spilled for our amusement. One puzzle even involves a character having an accident. Think the grossest of frat boy comedies and you’ll get the idea. If you’re into that comedy, you will likely have a complete blast, but it can certainly turn some players off.
Visually, the game is crude but well done. The style is hand drawn, so it lacks the finesse of a more polished game. However, the style fits the game like a glove. To fit a world full of Bjorns, garbage is tossed about, a dude turned his grave into a pinball machine, and the ice cream man wears a shirt that says “suck me”. The attention to detail sells the world, and that makes up for a handful of stilted animations. It pops off the screen in a satisfying way.
For the audio, it’s all about the music and effects. The tunes are quite solid, if forgettable. The music always seems to fit and there’s more than enough of it to keep the tracks from getting old. One of the niftier features includes a jukebox that plays different tunes as you kick it. The effects are mostly solid when they are correct. However, it all comes back to the fart jokes. Often, a sound effect will be flat out replaced with a fart noise. For example, that pinball machine I mentioned is lacking in the dings and rings you’d normally associate with such a machine. Instead, you get fart noises. Likewise, one of the puzzles later on is a game of Simon. Instead of the musical cues you’re used to, there are yet more fart noises. This tactic grows old as the game progresses. It stops being funny and starts getting annoying, which is a shame.
In terms of gameplay, Demetrios is fairly standard, even if it takes some liberties in order to create some unique puzzles. The basics of the game are exploration, puzzle solving, and mini-games.
Each of the game’s screens is chock full of objects with which to interact. If you can take the object, it will go into your inventory. Otherwise, you’ll get a quip or two from Bjorn. Sometimes, you’ll be given the option to do something with the item. For example, you can play a game of darts, use a toilet, and/or fall down a hole. In cases like the latter, you could end up with a game over screen. There are a number of these to collect, and the include hilarious deaths and arrest reports. Also on each screen are three cookies that can be found. These cookies are used for the game’s hint system. Each cookie you eat gets you one hint for your current objective. The more you eat, the more specific the hint. Eventually, Bjorn will simply tell you exactly what to do. Helpfully, you can press the space bar in order to highlight every item on the screen (except the cookies) that you can click. This makes it so you don’t have to pixel hunt, which is always a plus.
For the puzzles, you’ll get a standard diet of dragging an item from your inventory where it needs to go. It’s not always super obvious what you have to do, but there’s certainly a logic to it. For example, if you need to catch a fish, then you’ll need a fishing rod. If no rod is available, you’ll have to make one with the parts on hand. The good news is that you can try anything and get some sort of humorous response, even if it does nothing to move the game forward. For example, if you put a book on the radiator, Bjorn will comment on how you now have a warm book Congrats! Not every puzzle is a hit, but there are enough that will test your gray matter or at least have you chomping on those cookies.
Mini-games make up the last of holy trinity. This game is chock full of them, and they come in a decent variety. Some require timing and patience. For example, there’s a fishing game and a crane machine. Others are more classic puzzle scenarios such as a the aforementioned game of Simon you play. These are rarely difficult to go through, but they can be mildly amusing at least. Interestingly enough, you can replay any of them from the extras menu should you desire.
Going through the game from start to finish will probably take you about seven hours on your first attempt. That time is highly variable though, depending on how hard you look for cookies and how long you get stuck on what to do. Once you’ve beaten the game, you can go through it again to grab anything you missed. Subsequent replays will allow you to skip through dialogue, shaving a lot of time of your run. A dedicated player could probably stretch the game to ten hours, which is really quite decent for a game like this. Similarly priced games often come at half that run time or less.
If you take nothing else from this review, it should be that your potential enjoyment of this game will ride entirely on whether or not you appreciate the type of humor it exudes. It is crass to the core. Luckily, there’s a demo out there to give you some idea of what to expect. If you dig the humor, you’ll likely enjoy the game and find it worth your time. If you don’t enjoy the humor, it only gets worse as you go on. Just keep that in mind.
Short Attention Span Summary
Demetrios is a more than competent adventure game that hinged its success entirely on its sense of humor. If fart jokes are your thing, you’ll find a clever game that’s well put together and full of humorous tidbits. If you don’t like the humor, the game will quickly become a chore. I highly recommend anyone interested in the game to try the demo and see where they fall.
Tags: cowcat, demetrios, PC