GOG is always a great source for tracking down classic gaming titles, especially of the point-and-click adventure genre variety, so Sierra’s comedy Western Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist should fit rather nicely in the DRM-free catalogue.
The name Al Lowe should ring more than one bell for those gamers who grew up in 90ies Sierra graphic adventure games, as he’s well-known for his hilarious Leisure Suit Larry series which was aimed at an adult audience due to its risqué themes of sex and nudity, although one never got the feeling that it was sexist, probably because the loser hero was rather stupid and therefore likeable. While Freddy Pharkas is less sleazy (although it might share quite a few obscure puzzles and death sequences), it sure doesn’t stop from poking fun at all kinds of people, not least the Western genre itself.
Freddy Pharkas wanted to be a gunslinger hero, but was wounded and had to fall back on studying pharmacy (or pharmacology) in order to make a living. It’s an interesting twist on the typical tale of a man saving a small town from ruin. Only this time it doesn’t revolve around a group of bandits threatening the community, but about a mysterious plot with ensuing catastrophes like arson, stampedes, or terminal flatulence making people sell their land or run away from the horrors of 1880s Wild West.
Of course it’s all handled with anachronistic references, slapstick humor and politically-incorrect jokes including the unavoidable fart jokes. However, with an illustrious and memorable cast of characters, lovingly painted backgrounds, some catchy tunes, and great voice acting, the game doesn’t seem to have lost any of its appeal or uniqueness, especially since the setting still feels fresh even today.
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