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Bone: The Great Cow Race

Bone: The Great Cow Race

Bone: The Great Cow Race

After writing the review for Bone: Out From Boneville, I received feedback from readers who felt that while the game was great, it was just too short for the money.


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After writing the review for Bone: Out From Boneville, I received feedback from readers who felt that while the game was great, it was just too short for the money. Now, I could see both sides of the issue. On one hand, gamers quite rightly expect to get their money’s worth for the change they plunk down—myself included. On the other hand, I understand that Telltale is not some giganti-mondo-megalo-corporation with an unlimited budget, and they really put a lot of quality into the game.

Fortunately, Telltale has removed the conflict that was brewing between my two hands by announcing a lower price for this charming series to $12.99 per episode (download price). That’s good, because I would have hated to see my hands come to blows.

That being said, I did keep track of my playing time and found that I completed Bone 2: The Great Cow Race in a little over 6 hours. That’s not taking into account my shameless use of the in-game help system in order to get this review out in a timely manner. Overall, I believe gamers will find this game to be a longer one than its predecessor.

The business of time and money aside, it’s time to get down to the fun part. Bone 2: The Great Cow Race finds Fone Bone and his cousins reunited and preparing for the Barrelhaven county fair. It’s the eve of the annual cow race, and each one of them has a role to play in upcoming events. As you might expect, Phoney is devising a scheme to part the townsfolk with what passes for money, and Smiley is going along for the ride. Fone Bone is busy mooning over Thorn, looking for a way to wrench her attention from a shirtless honey salesman, and all the while the rat creatures are still making their dastardly plans.

In addition to returning characters Gran’ma Ben, Thorn, and the rascally possum kids, you’ll meet the good people of Barrelhaven. This includes a rather large-armed, squinty-eyed fellow named Lucius who looks to be Gran’ma’s male counterpart.

Throughout the game, you’ll switch between playing Fone, Phoney, and Smiley to help each of them complete their assigned tasks. The upper right portion of the screen has icons to help you make the switch as long as characters have unfulfilled missions. This works especially well if you find yourself stuck with one puzzle. Just switch characters for a while and come back later.

As far as I can tell, the interface is the same as in Bone: Out From Boneville. A cursor will give you the option to look or use/ take an object, and right-clicking will cycle between them if more than one option is available. The inventory is represented by a small knapsack at the bottom left of the screen, and clicking on it will reveal the contents. In the bottom left of the screen, a scroll represents the main menu for saving, loading, quitting, and game options. If you’ve chosen the help option, a question mark icon will sit next to it.

Once again, the graphics are stunning, with beautifully detailed backgrounds rendered in classic cartoon style. The characters look great and move realistically, and the voice acting is superb. It’s obvious that a lot of talent is behind the Bone series.

The puzzles in Bone 2: The Great Cow Race are also very well done, with each of them integrating with the game and storyline. A couple of them were truly original. I never thought menial cleaning chores could be made into a game, but Telltale has managed to pull it off. You’ll even get to try your hand at creating lovesick poetry. While all the puzzles take a little ingenuity to solve, none of them are extremely difficult, and the aforementioned in-game help system can get you through any tough spots.

Most of this game flowed flawlessly, but there was one sticking point I have to mention: the load time between scenes was agonizingly slow. I actually began to dread leaving one area for another because of this, and it added an element of torture to an otherwise fun arcade-type puzzles. This long load time, which occurred between different areas, when waiting for dialog options with characters, and when opening certain puzzles, sometimes lasted as long as 10 or more seconds. It’s possible that this problem is unique to my computer, but I doubt it.

In summation, I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a lighthearted adventure whether they’re fans of the Bone books or not. And while growing old between scene changes was a very real possibility, I’m only docking the game half a grade, since the rest of it was just so well done. That leaves me with a final grade of: A-

Final Grade: A-

System Requirements:

  • Windows 2000/XP
  • DirectX 8.1
  • 140MB Free Drive Space
  • Newer 3D Accelerated Video Cards: 800 MHz P3 processor (or better)
  • Older 3D Accelerated Video Cards: 1.5 GHz processor (or better)

Shannon Hall-Harris

Shannon Hall-Harris

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