Gnap - Der Schurke aus den All
Release date: 1997
Developer: Artech Studios
Publisher Germany: Ari Data
Publisher North America: Hoffmann & Associates
Game language: Englisch, manual German
USK: 12 years and up
A review by André 19th March 2005
Ari Games hadn't really made a name for themselves as publisher of high-quality adventures. Perhaps this was the reason why the comic adventure Gnap wasn't granted the name recognition, it would actually have deserved. Perhaps it was because of the washy picture on the retail box cover, which didn't actually entice to purchase the game and really didn't represent the actual game graphics in any way. Perhaps this review helps that the one or other player gets interested ex post in this cute adventure game.
No, Gnap wasn't created by the same graphic artist, who was responsible for the great Ren&Stimpy cartoon series. You'd think that however, because there are lots of parallels between Gnap and Stimpy starting from facial expression over body language up to the shape of his butt.
Actually the graphics are great from the rapid intro up to the ingame graphics. The backgrounds are partly classic comic-style, while some scene elements such as buildings or roads are nearly photo-realistic. This mixture works together very homogeneously and Gnap looks like a perfectly animated cartoon, although it has already been released in 1997, the same year, Monkey Island 3 was celebrated because of its perfect comic graphics by players and reviewers. Gnap has a rich repertoire of expressions. Gnap smooches his friend, Gnap trembles in his boots, Gnap is ashamed, and when he's found another object, he proudly presents it in a close-up. The gamers are constantly pampered with small animations, like I rarely saw them in any other game and they look rather cute. The other numerous characters Gnap meets during his quest, are marvelously designed too.
Contrary to our hero or his companion, many humans in the game look rather obnoxious or marked by the facts of life. You can watch grouchy or sulky humans. Some drivel, some have debile faces or they are missing a limb.
Besides I played the adult version. This is why this game looks harmless only at first sight but gets quite violent by-and-by. A chicken picks at the eye of our hero, and he in turn bursts a small, sweet and sickly piglet trembling with fear. And this are still the more harmless scenes. I found the scene with the car in the city particularly violent. You may laugh, but ask yourself in the same moment whether you may do that at all.
The story is told just as fast as it is classic. The extraterrestrial Gnap is driving his UFO through the universe, when suddenly he has to make an emergency landing on earth. So the goal of our ET-hero is to repair the machine to leave earth. Leaves to say, that Gnap quickly finds an animal friend and that his efforts, to refloat the machine fast, don't work without problems. So he has to visit numerous locations. Contrary to most extraterrestial heroes whom we use to meet, Gnap does not understand our language. That's why there's hardly any talking in the whole game. So it's seldom noticeable that this is an English-language game, sold from German shelves. A German version has never beeen released, but it would have been nice, if they would have inserted subtitles for the few spoken texts at least. Fortunately the non-English-speaking player misses no story relevant issues.
Gnap fast makes friends with a duckbill by rescuing it from a trap. The animal is a submissive helper from now on. Speak: It's also integrated in the puzzle design and beside the actions "speak", "use" and "take" there is also an option "duckbill". This helps in so many places, where Gnap alone would be stuck. I always very much enjoy to take over the role of more than one character in an adventure game.
The puzzles are mostly inventory-based. Since Gnap cannot speak, there is not much of a dialogue puzzle. But else really adventurous things happen in the true sense of the word, and fantasy has no limits. I won't like to betray anything more at this place, to keep the fun, which I really had plenty of.
Beside the puzzles there are a few arcade sequences, just as original as funny integrated into the game. But don't worry: These sequences should be mastered without bigger problems even for arcade-averse players. Only the "catch-the-money game" in the circus requires a little bit of patience. Over all the degree of difficulty is rather medium and only few tasks are really difficult.
There is not much to say about that. I don't want to deal with the voice overs, since Gnap only produces extraterrestial bubbling and as already mentioned, there are only very few conversations. The whole game nearly completely gets along without background music and without any need for it too. The background noises however were well selected. A farm with moos and cock-a-doodle-doos for example really sounds like a farm and the small brook splashes over rocks, while birds twitter in the background.
Length or shortness
In my eyes it's always quite difficult to estimate, how long a game really lasts. It depends on some factors like: How fast does the player solve the puzzles? Does he take his time and enjoys the sequences in peace or does he rush through the game? How often does he take a look into the walkthrough? So here again my absolute inaccurate guestimate of perhaps at the most four very short gaming evenings.
Well, you will be through Gnap quite fast, but the game is so well entertaining that I fetched it for the second time after a while. Generally I'm not necessarily happy, if a game is quite short, but Gnap with its many amazing sequences and ideas pleases me still better, than a 40-hour epic with pasty, because illogical puzzles and/or boring story.
If I make only few comments on the topic 'handling', it mostly means that I have hardly anything to critizise. So in this case too. The reviewer mustn't fight any nerve-racking keyboard controls or complicated menus. Everything functions perfectly by simple mouse control and only a few instructions, which are executed by point&click. Also the inventory and the options are practically placed in the remote control of our hero. And if there would be a volume control as well as more than seven meager save slots, I would be perfectly lucky.
Gnap won't keep you busy for a very long time with not more than three or maximally four short gaming evenings. But in the actual gaming time I was entertained and amused myself in the best way. I was surprised however, that Gnap wasn't rated for ages 16 and older as it's sometimes quite brutal with dripping comic blood.
Not only the colourful comic-style graphics with the amazing background scenes, but also the numerous small character animations and sequences look extremely successful. The puzzles, which are to a large extent of rather easy to medium difficulty, are likewise originally created and can be mostly solved without too much efforts. The small, funny arcade games lighten up the game so nicely and complete the positive general impression, so that I would like to bestow Gnap with plenty points despite the at best middle game length.
Rating: 83 %
Adventure-Archiv rating system:
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for hardcore-adventure-freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
- Pentium PC
- 16 MB RAM
- Windows 95
- 2 x CDROM-drive
- Graphic 640 x 480 with min. 256 colors
- Sound card recommended
- WIN 98
- AMD Athlon XP 1800
- 256 MB RAM
- Graphic card Radeon 9200 Series
- 16x CDROM-drive
Hard disk 60 GB