Bad Day on the Midway is the second and last CD-ROM based on the works of The Residents, one of the world's most eccentric bands. Designed by inSCAPE, the same company that brought us unique titles like The Dark Eye, Bad Day on the Midway is a compelling and unique adventure game that is unlike any game before, or since. Gunther Schmidl says it all in his review for Brass Lantern: |
"In this multimedia extravaganza, you take on the role of a little boy named Timmy who visits a run-down amusement park.
Quickly you learn that all is not well on the midway -- intrigue, blackmail and murder are everywhere. To survive, you have to leave Timmy at one point and "soul-jump" to other persons by clicking on them.
Each of the characters on the midway has their own story, each illustrated by a different comic artist. Some of the stories can be learned only while playing Timmy; others, by visiting different attractions.
Soon it becomes clear that every character is following a separate agenda. I won't spoil too much of the story here, but a part of it revolves around the comatose fascist owner of the midway and his hidden treasure; later, people get killed and the "IRS Man" shows up to investigate tax fraud.
inSCAPE, the company that produced the games, have made sure no two games can be the same, and you won't be able to see the entire story in one play -- or even in ten. It's best not to approach Bad Day on the Midway as a game, but as a multimedia experience -- try to see as much as you can in one go. If you do, the story will slowly start to emerge. If you don't get anywhere at all, you can watch many of the movies from the Credits screen or directly from the (hidden)
While the graphics are blocky and only 256-color, the talent of the various artists like Dave McKean make up for it. The only downside is that there are no subtitles for the sometimes very hard to understand voice narrations. Instead, the lower quarter of the screen displays a stream of consciousness that reminds me of Leisure Town (warning - explicit content)." If you enjoyed Freak Show or The Dark Eye, you will likely also enjoy this surrealistic and strangely compelling journey into the macabre world. Two thumbs up!
Note: We have been informed by Hardy Fox of Cryptic Corp. that the copyrights of The Residents CD-ROMs now lie with Cryptic Corp. and Warner Bros, who are under discussions to release updated version of their classics. We have removed download as a result. Contact Mr. Fox at the address below to find out more, if you are interested.
Reviewed by: Underdogs