To some, Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine may seem to have jumped straight out of the early 90’s. There is the retro look, familiar speak / grab / move interface and 2D backgrounds with pre-rendered characters. So you may be forgiven if you thought that this was a revival from an old hidden gem, but in fact the original game was released in only 2006. Al Emmo was made to be a classic throwback to the old Sierra games, and it certainly achieves that effect.
Graphically, I found the game to be quite nice. It was colourful and charming, although I found the character models to be at odds with the environment at certain times. New to the enhanced edition are several animated cutscenes. These fit right into the rest of the game, while flowing particularly well – showing some fairly humorous scenes.
Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman’s Mine is hilarious, but your enjoyment of the game may well hinder on how much you “get” the game. The main character is a 30-40-something-year-old still living with his parents, who gets stuck in a wild-western style town looking for a bride. Almost every other interaction in the game tries to crack a joke, and since the game is well written, I have to admit I was looking forward to every smile. Though the humour is incredibly well written, the games story is slightly underwhelming in comparison. I personally felt that the game relies too much on its sense of humour to keep gamers playing – Which is a shame as those not looking for a humour orientated adventure are missing out – especially as the story does pick up in the games second half.
As aforementioned, the main character is really a sad anti-hero. The original game was criticised for having a really annoying voice actor for him, and I think they have improved it with the enhanced edition. I think his new voice works well for him; sure it isn’t a traditional all American hero voice but it suits his character and isn’t grating. Some of the other voice overs have noticeably lower quality recordings in comparison, however I did not find anything that was bad. If you are a fan of ragtime music, you will very much enjoy the soundtrack, as it contains plenty of fun scores.
Overall, I would say Al Emmo is a throwback to the classic adventure games, but it is not without its faults (and perhaps the faults of those past games too). I recommend spending the time watching the trailer and seeing if the humour is right for you because once Al Emmo makes you smile once, you’ll be sold.