Torin's Passage is a graphic adventure game developed and released by Sierra On-Line, designed by Al Lowe. The game holds the distinction of being a family friendly game by Lowe, designer of the adult-oriented Leisure Suit Larry series of games.
The player interacts with Torin and the in-game environments using a point-and-click interface. Placing the cursor over certain "hot spots" in the environment allows him to move around, examine things and pick up items. There is also an inventory system used to access the items Torin collects during the course of the game. The player can switch to Boogle as well, although he is mainly used to morph into various items. The items he can morph into replace the items in Torin's inventory. Any item can be viewed as a 3-D model by using the item viewer. The game has a variety of puzzles, from puzzles involving item collection to sliding puzzles. Points are given after solving puzzles. A hint system is included as an in-game feature, and the player can ask for hints after certain time intervals, at the cost of game points. The specific time interval can be set as an in-game option. The hint system can also be turned off entirely.
The protagonist of the game is Torin, the son of a farming family on the planet of Strata. An evil sorceress named Lycentia captures his family with a magic spell and he embarks on a quest to find her and free his parents. He travels to the "lands below" to worlds beneath the surface of the nested planet, through colossus crystal columns called phenocrysts. These phenocrysts transfer life-giving sunlight to the lower worlds and people too with "Aerodski" powder. He is aided by a purple cat-like creature called Boogle, who is able to change itself into a variety of shapes.
- He is the prince of The Lands Above, but he doesn't know about his origin. Having been "kidnapped" by his nanny, who tried to save him from an evil warlock, he is later found by farmers, who adopt him. While growing up, Torin finds a mysterious creature that can change its shape and turn into different objects. Torin calls the creature “Boogle” and becomes friends with him. After the mysterious disappearance of his "parents" one evening, a hooded old traveler tells him about the evil sorceress Lycentia, who has captured them. Torin then travels through all five worlds of Strata, having different adventures. In Pergola, he falls in love with Leenah, the missing princess of the second inner world, Escarpa. She had been trapped by the diminutive natives of Pergola, the Purpletins. Torin saves Leenah and himself, but they then soon parted: Leenah returns to Escarpa, Torin goes on to Asthenia. When he reaches the Null Void after Tenebrous and meets with Lycentia, he learns her secret: she's his nanny, and was arrested for kidnapping by mistake. After being ostracized to the lands below, she became evil from the experience and later helped further the machinations of Torin’s uncle, Pecand (the murderer of Torin's true parents and the old traveler Torin meets at the game's beginning). Torin also learns he was his home world's prince and would become the next king. Torin frees Lycentia from the magic golden ostracizing collar that prevented her from returning to the Lands Above and Lycentia helps Torin to defeat Pecand. With Pecend vanquished, they return to Lands Above with Torin’s foster parents and Boogle, who was earlier kidnapped by Lycentia’s sidekick, Dreep.
- He is a shape shifting animal from the Lands Above, named by Torin as his pet and companion. Purple and cat-like, Boogle can mimic different things and creatures to help out Torin on his quest. He gets briefly separated from Torin on Tenebrous but is later rescued after Torin and Lycentia defeated Pecand.
- She plays the role of the main villain of the game until the truth was revealed. While babysitting Torin, she "kidnapped" him to save from the evil magician Pecand, who killed Torin's parents. Upon her return, her intentions were misinterpreted and she was sent to the lands below in exile. The judges put a magic golden collar on her to stop her from returning to The Lands Above (the collar would choke her if she tried to do so, and was so tight it nearly did anyway). Years in exile, she becomes a sorceress and Pecand fools her, promising to get rid of her collar and making her his ally]. Using a magical whirlwind, she kidnaps Torin's "parents". With the help of Pecand, Lycentia watches Torin with the intention of killing him in order to fulfill her deal with Pecand. When Torin arrives to the fifth inner world, Tenebrous, she orders Dreep, a blue animal she created, to follow him. Torin finds her in the Null Void and she tries to kill him. Her collar begins to squeeze around her neck and Lycentia falls unconscious. Torin touches the collar and it cracks opens, releasing Lycentia from its grip. Lycentia awakens and realizes Torin is actually the prince that she tried to save long ago. She becomes good again and helps Torin in stopping Pecend for good. After that, she frees all her victims from the crystals that they were trapped in. She returns to The Lands Above along with Torin, Boogle and Torin's foster parents.
- He is the king's spiteful brother and Torin's uncle. Using dark magic, he kills the king and queen in their sleep, but Lycentia saves baby Torin before the magic could do the same. Years later, Pecand tried to manipulate her into helping him become the highest judge in the land and eventually the king. It was Pecand's plan to use Torin's adoptive parents as a "bait" for Torin. Then disguised as an old traveler, Pecand "helped" Torin by telling him that Lycentia was the one to blame. He then warned Lycentia of Torin's quest to find her. When Torin reached the Null Void, Lycentia tried to murder him, but Torin was able to free her from the collar and thus, from Pecand's influence. Lycentia became good and Pecand tried to kill Torin himself. Using a magic book, Torin threw him into the cauldron of lava, but Pecand survived. It was not lava, but a supper bowl for Dreep (blue monster, Lycentia's sidekick and pet). Pecand attacked Torin again, but Lycentia froze him into a crystal prison as her other victims were. He fell into the Null Void within his prison and was assumed never seen again.
- "Duck": He is a voice/sound recorder at the amphitheater in Tenebrous. He loves and collects rare voices. He had actually known Lycentia because he recorded her voice years ago before she was exiled. Torin, being from the Lands Above offered a recording of his own voice in exchange for Lycentia's recording.
- Dreep: He is a massive creature of Lycentia. He does some work for her as a henchman, a minion or a guard to her lair. He captures Boogle in Tenebrous but Lycentia wanted him to go after Torin actually. Torin outsmarted Dreep easily to enter Lycentia's lair in the Null Void.
- Bags Bunny: He is a very talkative pink furry rabbit. He recently quit his awful job with his drunken ex-partner and needs to find a new one. Torin helps Bags find a fancy new top hat to live in and hired to Zippy. His name and personality appear to be a parody of Bugs Bunny.
- Guard house guard: An old man in the service of guarding the entrance to the Lands Below in the Lands Above. Senile and a bit cooky, he waited for over 10 years for his replacement to take over his position. Torin manages to serve the guard his "final meal" to get access to the phenocryst's entrance.
- King Rupert and Queen Di :They are the royal rulers of Escarpa. When Torin arrive in Escarpa, they asks him to keep an eye for their daughter, Leenah (King Rupert anyways). In the few conservations that Torin had talked with them, Di regularly talks under her breath her true feelings and rephrases them in rhyme comparsions when asked to repeat herself by Rupert.
- Leenah: She is the princess of Escarpa, having gone missing when Torin was searching for Lycentia. Torin finds and recuses her in Pergola, then helped her to return to Escarpa before continuing on to Asthenia. Leenah, in comparison to the other Escarpians is aesthetically different; taller, slighter and having hair on only her head and had always felt like the "ugly duckling" as she described herself. Despite appearances, she is a nice and respectable person to everyone, even the Escarpians kept trying to match Torin up with Leenah due to sharing the same appearances. It could be possible that Leenah originally came from the Lands Above and she was adopted by King Rupert and Queen Di at an early age, but this wasn't proven.
- Slim and Slime: A pair of snails in the Lands Above. They are wisecracking buddies that are also Olympic Slimers. They help out Torin with getting some slug bait after he does them a favor. Their favorite catch phrase is "eye five".
- "Sunflower" and "Oak Tree": They are sentient plants that can speak and feel much like people do. The Sunflower is a bit uppity but helps Torin out for a favor to save her plant friends. The Oak Tree is very sensitive and cries a lot about his past dramas but provide Torin with some sticky sap for solving a pest problem.
- The Bitternuts: A greyish Escarpian family whose lives are portray as a black and white family sitcom show, Mrs. and Mr. Bitternut and Bobby. Torin gets to have their tile after giving them an invitation to the Royal Ball.
- Trype and Viscera: They are a two-head vulture in Escarpa. They have opposite personalities; Trype is rude and negative and Viscera is polite and positive. While Viscera is willing to let Torin pass through their nest, Trype wouldn't and they can't go anywhere separately.
- Veder: An Escarpian philosopher that Torin briefly meets. Torin helps him out by giving him a soft pillow for a tile in exchange.
- Sam and Max: They are two skunks in Escarpa. Torin needed to pass through their den, but the skunks were territorial. Torin manages to outsmart them later on.
- The Purpletins: The Lilliputian villagers of Pergola that lives in a tribal society. They briefly had Torin and Leenah held captived but Torin gained their cooperation to access the phenocryst columns to Escarpa and Asthenia.
- Tenebrous' Officer and Judge: They are the law authority of Tenebrous. Torin gets arrested by the Officer for crashing down hard on a bed of plants, due to plants being very scarce on Tenebrous. Torin was left off with a warning from the Judge but gets arrested for impersonating a singer, then gets exile to the Null Void, wanting to go after Lycentia there.
- Zippy the Blind Magician: He is a blind magician that Torin meets at the amphitheater in Tenebrous. He's having a hard time coming up with a good magic trick to perform. Torin helps Zippy to hire Bags Bunny and get new props in exchange for a magic book.
Al Lowe states on his official website that he wrote Torin's Passage in 1994 after seeing the film Mrs. Doubtfire with his daughter. He states that while watching the film, he realized that audience was laughing in two different pitches: "high little giggles when the kids laughed at the slapstick parts of the film, and deep knowing guffaws when the adults caught something that they knew the kids wouldn't get." Lowe thought, "Why isn't there a computer game that my 9-year-old daughter and I could play that works like that?" Lowe's daughter would take a small role in the development of the game, designing the maze puzzle seen late in the game.
The game's developers included a variety of easter eggs in the game. Some of the more obvious ones occur near the end of the game. Several characters make cameo appearances at the same time, including Darth Vader, Yoda and Taylor from the original Planet of the Apes film. Hotaru Tomoe, also known as "Sailor Saturn" from Sailor Moon also makes an appearance. While the other characters were placed in there by the game's background artists, Hotaru was placed in the game by Bryan Wilkinson, an art tech working on the game. There are also various references made to Torin's Passage in a subsequent Al Lowe release, Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!. The final version also contains some unused content.
Some members of the development team who worked on Torin's Passage went on to work for notable companies. Lead Animator Jim Murphy went on to work for Pixar and Lead Background Artist Bruce Sharp went on to work for Microsoft.
Torin's Passage was designed to be suitable for children, which surprised many of the fans of its designer, who was known for making rather "adult" games. In an interview Al Lowe stated: "I think many people misunderstood Torin's Passage, however. It was designed for a parent to share with a child, because I wanted a game that Megan (my then 11-year-old daughter) and I could play together."
Critical reaction to the game is mixed, GameSpot's Jeffrey Adam Young gave the game a 7.0 out of 10, a "Good" rating. Young lauded it as an adventure game for players of all ages, although he commented that younger children and novice adventure game players might find some of the puzzles challenging. Young also noted that although the game is child-friendly, some of Lowe's characteristic toilet humor remains in the narrative. The adventure video game website Adventure Gamers published a less glowing review in 2003 though, calling the game "A promising fairy tale that just never breaks through the wall of mediocrity."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Wood, Claire. Adventure Gamers: Torin's Passage review. Retrieved on September 25, 2006
- ↑ Torin's Passage at GameBoomers. Retrieved on September 24, 2006
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Torin's Passage at Al Lowe's Humor Site. Retrieved on September 24, 2006
- ↑ Game Trivia for Torin's Passage. MobyGames. Retrieved on September 24, 2006
- ↑ Torin's Passage Unofficial site: Easter Eggs. Retrieved on September 25, 2006
- ↑ Torin's Passage Unofficial site: Mysteries. Retrieved on 2007-01-09
- ↑ Game Credits for Torin's Passage. MobyGames. Retrieved on September 24, 2006
- ↑ verbosity - Leisure Time with Al Lowe. Retrieved on September 24, 2006
- ↑ Young, Jeffrey Adam. Torin's Passage review. GameSpot. Retrieved on September 24, 2006