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Pilot Brothers 3: Back Side of the Earth

Pilot Brothers 3: Back Side of the Earth


Developer: PIPE studio The title screen.The title screen.
Released: 2004.06.11
Genre: Mystery / Comedy
Graphics: Cartoon / 2D
Perspective: Third person
Gameplay: Point-and-Click










Pilot Brothers 3: Back Side of the Earth continues the weird crime-solving adventures of Brother Chief and Brother Collegue, based on Russian animation characters. This game follows the same pattern as the previous two installments, first having been released only in Russian, and then a decade later having its international release. This review is based on the 2015 international release. It should be noted that where the first two games had international releases which were mostly similar to the original versions, the third international installment is missing about 10 areas, having only 14 playable areas to go through. There aren't as many language options either this time as previously; the game has only Russian audio and optional English text translation. The animated clips and most of the game graphics haven't been translated, which may make some parts of the game a bit challenging for people not fluent in Russian, for instance understanding the starting point of the plot from the intro movie may be very hard.

That starting point is that animals in Tasmania seem to be disappearing and Karbofoss (who in the game translitteration is spelled Carbofos this time) may again be the culprit. So the task for the protagonist duo is to reach Tasmania, via many misadventures, and then catch the criminal. From the very beginning everything seems familiar to those who have played earlier Pilot Brothers games. Once again there are some assets, such as character animations, recycled from the first two games, and the gameplay is the very same, involving switching the active character between Brothers, who each has his own unique way of interacting with most objects. Much of the annoyances from the earlier games, such as some non-labeled hidden hotspots, are still in the game.

This time the Pilot Brothers actually pilot airplanes!This time the Pilot Brothers actually pilot airplanes!
The third installment is still a very different game at the same time. Where the first two games were mostly collections of puzzles that were bound together by a very loose story, Back Side of the Earth is much more adventure-like. The story doesn't develop much in this game either, but the puzzles are more tightly grouped together and involve carrying objects from one screen to another. Each of the 14 areas is self-contained, and they appear on a map as visited places that can be revisited, but in many areas there is more than one room to explore. The puzzles also seem to follow a more logical pattern this time, at least adventure game logic, and solutions don't seem completely random. Playing does get a bit repetitive when most areas are based on getting some form of transport going in order to leave the area, but at least these forms of transport involve a whole variety of things, airplanes, cars, submarines, rockets, and animals.

Like other games in the series, this too has a hint button highlighting all hotspots (except for hidden ones), and a video button to show a playthrough. Video button seemed to be acting a bit weird in some areas though, as it didn't show a fast optimal solution, but rather trial and error. There are also some other glitches and bugs which weren't a problem in the first two games. In one area one brother needs to help another to go on the other side of the fence, and after certain things a dead-end situation occured where they were on the other sides of the fence, and didn't seem to be able to help each other. As it is possible to restart and re-enter the area it's not a major problem, but it doesn't seem intentional and probably shouldn't occur. There were also some major synchronisation issues with sound during animated clips.

This doesn't look like Russia...This doesn't look like Russia...
Where the game also differs from the earlier series is of course the setting where the game takes place. The other two games were deeply situated in Russian towns, this one goes across half of the world, which means that scenery looks different and the music played is not just Russian-style. While the settings in other countries are stereotypical to say the least, having them creates more sense of adventure than the other games had.

Mostly Pilot Brothers 3: Back Side of the Earth offers more of the same as the previous games, but with many improvements, at least from the viewpoint of traditional adventure gaming. As such, it can be seen as a good sequel. Sadly the many problems that the international version has, cut areas, audio problems, glitches, and not the best localisation, leave so much to be desired, that recommending the game outright might be difficult. It is a fun game and in many ways more rewarding experience than the first two. But it could be so much better with a little more polish, and keeping all the original content in the game.

The door is locked.The door is locked.



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