The story begins as Brian throws Gina out of an airplane while she is screaming "No, Brian, please!" Does their love end in such an inglorious way? Did Brian save her from the Mafia (Runaway 1) to kill her afterwards? What has she done to him to deserve such an end? And if Gina gets killed, who will you save this time?
No need to worry; it still is beautiful Gina that you have to save once more. How can this be? The answer will be given to you as soon as the question pops up in your minds. And this is how your adventure begins. Narrating the story backwards, Brian is once more going to inform you about what exactly happened during his new adventure. And if you look carefully at Brian's appearance while he is narrating what has happened to him this time, you will notice that inevitably you will find yourself in that position during the game - a turn of the story introduced in a beautiful and absolutely coherent and logical way.
All characters are once again indescribably perfect. Each one of them represents a caricature that will certainly make you laugh. At the same time, they add a unique color to the game that will be difficult to forget. Moreover, many of the faddish and memorable characters from the first game make an appearance, giving a unique flavor to the game's style. It should be mentioned that Camille (a newly introduced character) is a real person. She is a French girl who won a contest whose prize was to have your own character in the game. If you like, you can find out more about this on the game's forum.
Another newcomer, which I just have to mention, is Lokelani. She is a female figure of extraordinary beauty that is undoubtedly going to steal men's hearts. My brother kept saying every other second while I was playing Runaway 2: "Go back to Lokelani. It doesn't matter that she won't have anything new to tell us. The moment we see her, we‘ll be inspired about what to do!" I think that this summarizes everything about Lokelani and her impact on men! ;-)
Let's move on to the one characteristic of the game that will probably generate many negative comments. The game ends before the story is completed! I couldn't have said that in a more straightforward or simpler way. However, the actual way the games ends and the reason of such a "sudden" ending that Pendulo offers through Brian's words, is surely not disappointing. The reasoning that there is still much to do and the promise that all those will be given out in an extended new adventure game -instead of being squeezed in a single chapter, is rather satisfactory. At least, personally, I felt quite satisfied and impatient towards the sequel that will follow. All that of course after the initial shock! By the way, right after the game's credits, there is a video sequence which you do not want to miss out since it pleasantly surprises you while creating new questions about the story -or is it that it just reminds you of things that you had totally forgotten about?
Finally, it is worth mentioning that there is a button on the menu page that offers a beautiful summary of Runaway and informs you about what has happened during Brian's first adventure. Note that you can play Runaway 2 without having first played Runaway. However, everyone who has already played Runaway, will certainly notice various indirect connections between the two games and their characters.
Runaway 2 is a pure point & click adventure. You only need your mouse to play it. As the manual masterfully says, "Keyboards are for pianists!" Most of Runaway 2's puzzles are inventory based, while you will encounter only a few other types of puzzles. You just have to find what you need, combine it -if necessary- with something else and use it on the proper hotspot. The difficulty level of the puzzles increases gradually throughout the adventure. At the beginning, you need to be a little patient until you understand how to move and act through this game. You look everywhere and you try out combinations using objects on several hotspots without really understanding why you do so. Eventually, however, you grasp the game's logic and proceed undeterred to its challenges. Nonetheless, as you advance through the game, the difficulty level rises and overcoming some of the challenges will not be a picnic. That does not mean, however, that it gets way too difficult. It just requires a little bit more thinking on your behalf. After all, let's not forget that the game requires observation and imagination from start to finish.
One thing you should keep in mind is that you, yourself, are not the hero of this adventure. You only help its hero to move on. Brian acts on his own or completes your thoughts and actions every now and then in the game. For instance, you have put together a slingshot and you are desperately looking for a rock to use it with. Try using the slingshot at the target hotspot. You will then see that Brian picks up a rock to use with the slingshot. He is not stupid!
Moreover, there are several times when you will think "Oh! I know what to do! I will have to do this in order for that to be done". However, don't rush to pat yourself on the back about having solved the problem. Pendulo will have their way and surprise you by revealing that they have deliberately misled you on the wrong path and they will have Brian do something stupid (in a silly way) that will ruin your perfectly designed plan. This is a rather amusing detail. In retrospect that is, as at that time you just feel the urge to kill Brian on the spot in order to get over the intense shock he put you through.
Runaway 2 requires patience and persistence. Although you may think that you have done everything, you may find yourself unable to advance in the game. Well, obviously, you have not done everything after all! Explore and examine the locations thoroughly, search for hotspots that you have missed before and try using objects on hotspots that might initially seem improper (you do not know how Brian will interpret it and how he will utilize the situation). The best thing to do when you are stuck somewhere is to try all possible object-hotspot combinations. There is no reason for you to feel embarrassed; no one sees what you are doing. Well, except Brian of course, who will not neglect to pull your leg and to chaff your pointless actions every now and then. Nonetheless, dialogues and Brian's comments are a very helpful parameter as they guide you through what needs to be done in order to advance in the game. So, listen carefully to what you are told. Among what is said, you will obtain very useful information that will make your life easier. In Runaway 2 you often know what you have to do and you are on the hunt for how to do it (this is where your imagination is required!).
There is a particular puzzle in the game that calls for a warning. It's a puzzle where you have to answer to a series of questions, recalling previous conversations. The funny part is that you cannot hear these dialogues again although you surely will not remember them by heart as they contain several names. However, there is no need to be worried about this puzzle. Its solution is plain and simple: trial and error. By trying out one by one all the alternative answers, sooner or later you will find the correct one. I should also mention that sometimes you just have to leave and return to the scene of action, in order for the required action to be completed. So, before you start wondering about looking for something else to do -provided you do know that you are waiting for something to happen, try leaving and returning to the spot where the action is taking place. You probably do not need to do anything else.
Finally, some combinations in your inventory can only be made after certain events in the game. You combine things only when there is a need to do so. This means that a combination that was not possible earlier on may become possible after you have advanced in the game. The same goes for the collection of new objects. Even though you can collect some because you assume they will be useful later on, you ignore others that are not useful for the time being. Nonetheless, you will have to go back and get them when you discover where and how you can use them.
Music - Dialogues:
There are many and long conversations throughout the game. Provided you like a plethora of dialogues in a game, you will surely love the dialogues of Runaway 2 as they are not only full of ingenuity and humor, but they also stand out because of these elements. Influences and references to older games and movies also enrich many dialogues. Some references are direct, but you will have to read between the lines to catch the others.
The one element that surmounts everything by far is the sharp humor of Runaway 2, which satirizes various contemporary issues that trouble us. The jokes will likely make you laugh many times during this adventure. For instance, at a certain point in the game you will encounter one of the most popular and amusing games of puns and innuendos. It is a dialogue where someone is describing Lokelani to Brian. What's funny about it? When listening to this description, you are convinced that it is ‘inappropriate' due to its vulgar expressions (even though you will not actually hear any of the nasty words). As you may have guessed already, in the end it turns out that you just have a dirty mind and the description is absolutely ‘innocent'.
Dialogues, however, do not exist in the game just to offer you a good laugh. On the contrary, they play a major part in unfolding and understanding Runaway 2's story. First of all, as I have already mentioned, dialogues help you solve certain puzzles and at the same time figure out what you have to do next. Moreover, they help you understand the imaginative story and the title of Runaway 2. However, in order to keep up with the storyline, you have to listen carefully and pay attention to the hints given from the beginning as well as the full explanation that comes later on.
One characteristic of the dialogues is that Brian talks directly to the gamer every now and then. This is a detail that most certainly offers a strong connection between you and Brian and that immerses you even deeper in Runaway 2's world. The voice over of the characters, which is actually based on the Australian way of talking in a rather stereotyped manner, is extremely funny. I do not know if this will annoy some, but surely it will cause a lot of laughs to anyone who likes listening to this kind of pronunciation. Finally, Runaway 2's music is appropriate for the game, characteristic and pleasant to listen to, without being able, though, to surpass the dialogues which steal the show.
The story takes you to all the possible locations that you would like to see in an adventure. So, Brian will go from an exotic island where he was spending his summer holiday to the snowy Alaska, from archeological excavations to high-tech places, and finally, he will have an amusing break while being on a pirate's ship in a previous century. One must admit that Runaway 2 offers a great variety in the locations you come to visit and that the diversity of its chapters will surely satisfy everyone's demands. This sense of great diversity and renewal of scenery is amplified by the fact that Brian changes his outfits frequently, causing the gamer to feel that he/she is looking at something new while still coping with same old Brian.
Even the graphics of Runaway 2 are full of humorous references and insinuations as they have been designed in magnificent detail. Actually, if you look carefully, you will notice many surprising and funny details in the graphics of the surroundings that will either hide insinuations or just be there for your amusement (hidden faces, boat's name, Brian's T-shirt, etc). The one thing, however, that took my breath away was the detail with which Pendulo designed Brian's footprints in the snow: It is snowing and Brian leaves his footprints in the snow. The snow keeps falling down and Brian's footprints vanish gradually until they completely disappear under the fresh snow. A beautiful detail!
Technical Problems - Bugs:
Unfortunately, this is not a flawless game. And even though all its ‘problems' are small and negligible, it is a pity that they were not spotted in time so that Runaway 2 would leave everyone with the best impressions possible. Most of the problems are related to the dialogues function. There are some dialogues that disappear while the character is still talking. Therefore, you are not provided with the necessary time to read them. In other cases, Brian continues to talk with a certain accent while pretending to be someone else when there is no need to do so as his true identity has been discovered earlier on. There are also some mistakes in the verbalization and the spelling of the dialogues. What is unbelievable, though, is that certain combinations of objects do not show a subtitle; instead you read the indescribable "line not found"!
Another annoying element is that all the characters have a peculiar delay in answering when you talk to each of them for the first time. It would be better to have a direct response and not to have to wait for them to meditate or do their assigned movement. Finally, I noticed a bug in the inventory, where you can still see an object as available even though not only have you already given it to someone, but you can actually see the object on him!
Runaway 2 is quite a long game (provided you do not play it with a walkthrough!) that surely many will love. If you liked the first Runaway, you should get a copy of this one as well. The sequel is much better. If you were not thrilled by the first game, but you do like this sort of game in general, I would recommend you try Runaway 2. It has a lot to offer. If, however, you do not like games with lots of long funny dialogues or games that require you to think and use your imagination in order to solve a problem, it would be wise of you to avoid Runaway 2, as those are the exact things that it has to offer through its turbulent story that unfolds in beautiful cartoon graphics that will satisfy all demands.
If the only thing troubling you -as to whether to buy the game- is the fact that the story does not end, then I would strongly advise you not to let this tiny detail deprive you of a fantastic experience full of many funny hours of gameplay. The idea that all the remaining tasks at the end of the game would not fit into a single chapter is a pleasant thought. And the promise of another sequel is compelling. Why squeeze everything down to a few minutes play, when you can expand it into a whole new game? Wouldn't that be a pity?!
I find the mentioning of the ‘good impact' of drugs in a game that is accessible to minors a bit obnoxious. Even though I personally enjoyed these statements, I would prefer they were not included since the game has been rated 12+.
This review was based on the Greek version, which may be a little different from the U.S. version, especially with regards to its dialogues and voice acting.
The final grade is 96/100.