Step aside, Sam Spade. Move over, Philip Marlowe. Make way for the unflappable Detective Gallo!
Actually, beneath his cool exterior, it’s pretty easy to ruffle Gallo’s feathers – quite literally. That’s because the eponymous star of Footprints Games’ upcoming comic-noir adventure is a chicken. Not the cowardly kind; he’s actually pretty brave, particularly when his trusty revolver is cocked and aimed at criminals (or anyone else who happens to annoy him). No, I mean he’s an actual rooster, and he’s winging his way through the most bizarre investigation of his life. There’s “fowl” play in his city, and the killer has flown the coop, so it’s up to Gallo and his exhaustive list of rules to bring the perpetrator to justice. I’m here to crow a little about this lark of a game, and talk to the developers behind it.
Okay, enough with the avian puns (at least, the intentional ones). Really, though, it’s quite in keeping with the spirit of Detective Gallo. Although very much influenced by classic film noir, this game continually subverts our expectations for laughs. Yes, the star is a gruff, hard-boiled (that was an accident!) private eye with very little patience and even less tolerance of fools, but the city populace consists entirely of anthropomorphic birds, while the “murder” victims are five exotic plants. The deceased aren’t the only important flora in this story, either, as Gallo is assisted (mainly by keeping quiet) by a potted cactus named Thorn. Sound bizarre? Welcome to Detective Gallo.
Apart from its highly unusual premise, Detective Gallo is very much a traditional adventure in all other respects. Featuring a simple two-button (look, use) point-and-click interface, beautifully hand-painted graphics, an absorbing jazz-noir soundtrack, quality voice acting, and a host of inventory puzzles, this is a game that was clearly inspired as much by the adventure genre’s golden era and television cartoons as the movie mysteries of the forties.
Don’t believe me? No need to, as there’s a playable demo available from Detective Gallo’s crowdfunding page on Eppela. Set right at the beginning of the game, this substantial sampler will introduce you to Gallo, Thorn, the unrequitedly smitten (non-)love interest Candy Bop, and more zany birds. The puzzles won’t go easy on you either. As you freely travel between interactively-dense locations, you’ll acquire a great number of items needed for obstacles that require outside-the-box thinking to overcome. There is a hotspot highlighter to help you, though the hint feature planned for the full game didn't make it into the demo, in the form of some useful… uh… pointers (sorry, but not a bird pun!) from Thorn.
If the thought of a badly-mangled translation of an Italian comic-noir adventure concerns you (and it normally should), rest assured that Detective Gallo is going the extra mile to get it right. And I can say that with first-hand certainty because I’ve been helping with the English language script editing. While that may give me added incentive to want to see the crowdfunding campaign succeed, it also gives me greater confidence that the final product will deliver, and I wouldn't say so otherwise. Having said that, once you’ve played the demo you’ll have seen as much as I have, so where it goes from here, even I don’t know.
What I do know is that a lot of care is going into the creation of Detective Gallo, and it would be a shame for it to not make its very modest fundraising goal. For those who, quite rightly, are turned off by the thought of signing up for yet another crowdfunding platform, in this case there’s no need to do so for those pledging through PayPal. So do give the demo a try, and I’m sure no further encouragement will be necessary. But for a little more insight into the creation of the game and the developers behind it, turn the page for my interview with Footprints’ co-founding brother team of Francesco and Maurizio De Angelis.Continued on the next page...