Touchè - The Adventures
of the Fifth Musketeer
Release date: 1995
Developer/Publisher: US Gold / Clipper Software / Avalon
A review by slydos 23rd August 2001
At present the game companies have rediscovered the coat and sword adventure with Casanova and Zorro. So I gladly take this as cause to look back into the year 1995, the year, when "Touché - The Adventures of the 5th Musketeer" was released.
"Touché" is a humorous 3rd-person-adventure settled in France of the year 1562. The gamer takes over the role of young Geoffroi Le Brun, arriving in Rouen one evening to become a member of the famous musketeers. At the same time the aristocrat de Peuple is robbed by a gang and stabbed. Geoffroi finds the almost dead man, who tells him about his last wish: Find my stolen last will and bring it to Paris. Speaking this he deceases! The only eye-witness is the beggar (waiter and genious) Henry. With the help of Henry, who offhand gets his servant, Geoffroi not only hunts the thief and murderer but also uncovers a plot, which could change the future of France. Quite besides our hero courts the beautiful and fastidious Juliette.The gamer will meet well-known and also invented characters of contemporary history: D'Artagnon, a relative of Michelangelo da Vinci, the Duke of Guise and his brother, many blacksmiths and innkeepers, a herb woman (or it is a witch nevertheless?), a vendor of roasted rats, clergyman, musketeers, the English enemies, gamblers, robbers etc....
Beside Rouen, Geoffroi and Henry will visit Amiens, Paris, Le Mans and Le Havre.
The game comes on 1 CD. Although it is a DOS-based game from the year 1995, it could be installed and executed not only on a 486/66 under DOS without any errors, but likewise on a PII 233 with Windows95 and a PIII 850 with Windows ME. Only a tiny part of the program is copied to the fixed disk, you are playing it from CD.
Touché's speech is in English with German sub-titles. In the option menu you can adjust whether you want to have only speech output, only text output or both. Who understands English, shouldn't miss the original English speech, because it really emphasizes the black humor of the game. Many of the characters have a more or less strong French accent and I had to smile again and again, when our hero called his servant "Henry" with French "O" however with English "R"!
Our hero is only at the beginning of the game alone and isolated. After a short time he engages his servant "Henry", who beside a second inventory also possesses a considerable mouth of a slanderer. The always hungry trickster Henry can help his master through his abilities and follows him almost always on every step and turn. No action of our musketeer is left without Henry's ironeous comments.
Touche is totally mouse-controlled. After the start sequence an inventory appears at the bottom of the screen, completed by an options icon in form of a musketeer-head and an icon showing the financial resources. The inventory objects can be scrolled to the left and on the right. If you want to use an object, you left-click it with the mouse. To get details about it or to execute a special action with it, you have to click the right mouse button and a situation-dependent verb menu appears. The same verb menu appears likewise, if you right-click on a text-marked hotspot on the screen.
One can also directly access Henry's inventory - therefore you must click on him with the right mouse button and select "inventory". An item taken from there automatically disappears with the next click in the main inventory. You can also store items in Henry's inventory.
From the options you can leave the game, load or save a game and adjust speech or text.
The puzzles are of the sort: Find object, eventually combine object with other objects and apply it in the correct place. In addition there are dialogue puzzles: one must talk e.g. with a certain person in a certain place of the game, in order to get e.g. a password. The difficulty level increases in the course of the game. The puzzles are imaginative and original however sometimes not always logical. Why do simple flowers become orchids when putting them into a colour pot?
So from time to time you have to try out and therefore often have to travel from town to town. You start in Rouen, more places are added in the process of the game, which then become visible on a map. There is unfortunately no possibility to shorten the walkings of Geoffrey and Henry. It would have been better, if the gamer had the possibilty to access the map directly. Thus each time the two must saunter to the local horse stable, where they have to listen to those always resemble comments, which cannot likewise be aborted or shortened, until one finally reaches the map.
Once arrived at Paris, it will get more difficult, to send Geoffrey somewhere or just click on a hotspot: there are too much characters, running around or offering their goods loudly for sale in this large city. You always have to wait until the people end their texts to become active again.
Graphics and music remind of Monkey Iceland. The backgrounds are designed affectionately and in detail. However the developers weren't very creative designing the different taverns and shops, they are very much copies of each other. The characters also notice this during the game: "Looks familiar to me!"!
Also the not small number of non-player-characters looks very similar, like twins - D'Artagnon looks like Athos and like every other musketeer. Blacksmiths, guests in taverns, shop assistants - everything cloned. In addition all actors are of a dwarfful stature, which lets the self-complacent hero crowd look really amusing especially in the fencing scenes.
No fear - there are indeed fencing scenes - but they always run automatical after a short conversation. No action and no dying.
With "Touchè - The Adventures of the 5th Musketeer" you'll play a traditional point&click adventure, which is filled with moderate puzzles and a large quantity of dialogues. I enjoyed the humor of Touché very much - from easy and cheerful to sarcastic and deep black no joke remains unused. Touchè offers cheerful and easy entertainment and can be played error free on 3 generations of PC's. The not interruptible dialogues and repeated lengthy travelling between the locations can be quite nerving and get not always balanced by joke and puzzle quality.
From me "Touchè" gets the total rating 76% (recommendable)
- 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)
Minimal system requirements:
- IBM PC or 100% compatible
- 386er or higher
- 8 MB RAM
- SVGA Graphic card with VESA-driver
- 500 KB DOS-memory
- DOS 5.0 or higher
- supports Soundblaster or 100% compatibles, Roland and Adlib
- Pentium III 850
- Windows 95
- Pentium II 233
- DOS 6.2