By Marty Mulrooney
Lancelot’s Hangover: The Quest for the Holy Booze is a comedy point-and-click adventure game created by Belgium indie developer Jean-Baptiste de Clerfayt (be sure to check out AMO’s 2016 interview with Jean-Baptiste here). In Lancelot’s Hangover, players must take control of Lancelot – the sexiest Knight of the Round Table – as he sets out on a quest from God to find the Holy Grail, put some booze in it, and celebrate the biggest party England has ever known!
Following a very silly opening cutscene and a surreal chat with God that sets the tone perfectly, Lancelot’s quest takes him to a dangerous place where (according to the narrator) all men are gay and women have hair under their arms… the Kingdom of France! His first task is to visit Redemption-Land, a religious theme park where the Holy Grail is apparently hidden. However, to gain entry, he must somehow get rid of the people in the queue outside…
The inventory-based puzzles that follow are suitably bizarre but also make sense (for the most part). There are several locations that can be visited from the outset, with a map of France acting as a central hub. However, it’s usually fairly easy to figure out what to do and where to go next and there is a nice balance between exploration and making progress. Lancelot will often give a hint if you try to do the wrong thing (which is great), but sometimes a very specific interaction must occur to progress and this is where some players may find themselves consulting an online walkthrough.
The first thing players will notice about Lancelot’s Hangover is the striking art style; it’s distinctly medieval, giving the game the appearance of a ‘ye olde’ book illustration brought to life. This also lends the stilted animation a certain charm that other games would struggle to pull off. The music matches the art style perfectly too, sounding like the accompaniment to a medieval banquet with the occasional Gregorian chant thrown in for good measure – although it can get a little repetitive when it loops. There is some welcome variety thrown into the musical mix when Lancelot gets drugged up while exploring a forest… but let’s not ruin one of the game’s funniest puzzles.
There is no voice acting in Lancelot’s Hangover (which is a real pity, but understandable for a small indie project), so the heavy lifting is left to the writing. Thankfully, it’s very funny, channelling Monty Python and managing to be consistently outrageous without ever really coming across as offensive. Using the menstrual blood of the Holy Virgin to make a cocktail (in the Holy Grail, no less) is probably the only moment where this reviewer slightly winced, but the majority of the game’s 3-4 hour runtime will have players laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all. If you’ve ever wanted to steal a key off some naked horny nuns in a dark room, this is the game for you.
The interface is very straightforward and easy to use, although the character portraits and accompanying dialogue boxes obscure most of the screen when they pop up, which in such a dialogue-heavy game is about 50% of the time. Furthermore, the cursor (a crucified Jesus on the cross) is pretty big, which can make finding hotspots and exit points trickier than it should have been. It all leads to the game feeling a bit ‘cluttered’; Lancelot’s Hangover is undoubtedly at its best when its pink Speedo-wearing knight is sexily shuffling across the screen trying to figure out what to do next.
Lancelot’s Hangover: The Quest for the Holy Booze won’t be for everyone. Its sharp writing and unique artwork mostly make up for its brevity and lack of voice acting, but it’s very out-there and not everyone will click with its particular – and peculiar – sense of humour. However, all of the art, animation, story, dialogue, code and music was made by Jean-Baptiste de Clerfayt and a lot of love has clearly been poured into each of these aspects of the project. In a genre that is often accused of becoming a bit stale, he has made something that feels fresh and unique. There are some parts that work better than others, but overall, Lancelot’s Hangover has successfully delivered (and then some) on the promise of its 2016 Kickstarter campaign.
7 OUT OF 10