Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist
is a 90's Point-and-Click adventure game
. Considered one of Sierra
's best, and possibly even one of the best adventure games of the 2D VGA era. Strangely, despite being very successful, it did not receive a sequel (this was probably for the best).
Set in the Wild West
, this game follows the exploits of a gunslinger named Freddy Pharkas (Hungarian roots unexplored). Freddy, having been proclaimed the best gunslinger in the mid-west, meets his match at the hands of the ominously-named outlaw Kenny
. Kenny shoots Freddy's ear off in a duel, prompting Freddy to forsake gunslinging and vow never to pick up a pistol again. Instead, Freddy picks up his other
hobby: pharmacology. He moves to the town of Coarsegold, CA (incidentally, hometown of Sierra
headquarters), and never reveals his past to any of the townsfolk.
Years later, trouble comes to Coarsegold, as the local Sheriff starts shutting down businesses left and right, declaring their buildings as "fire-hazards". Which is kind of understandable, as the whole town is build out of wood. After trying to investigate a little into the matter, Freddy's pharmacy is almost put to the torch when the adjacent building is mysteriously set ablaze one night. Realizing that something is afoot, Freddy eventually concedes to his fate, returning to his own gunslinging ways in order to save his beloved town.
The game includes adult themes and plenty of sultry, witty humor by Josh Mandel and Al Lowe (of Leisure Suit Larry
fame). It also contains some notoriously difficult arcade sequences. The game comes with an extensive manual on common diseases and pharmacology, written in 19th century style (thus containing, obviously, many hilarious misconceptions about medical practice as a whole). There are several points in the game where Freddy must utilize a well-equipped pharmaceutical laboratory to concoct pills and potions from a large variety of chemicals.
This work features examples of the following tropes:
- The Alcoholic: The town doctor. You actually have to look through the bottom of a whiskey glass to decipher one prescription.
- Animated Actors: The Hilarious Outtakes reveal this.
- Card Sharp: The first baddie to show up in the last act.
- Chekhov's Gun: Freddy's false ear. It'll serve three purposes by the end of the game.
- Clark Kenting / Hidden in Plain Sight: To hide his true identity, Freddy makes a false ear for himself (his real ear having been shot off in the prologue). No one seems to recognize him until Penelope removes his ear and is shocked to discover that it's Freddy!
- Comically Missing the Point: After Penelope tells Freddy "it's always the person you least expect," Freddy starts rattling off all the people he suspected even less than her.
- Completion Meter: Of the 1,000 points to be gathered throughout the game, the first 500 are for unlocking the pharmacy door at the beginning.
- Copy Protection: The recipes for the medicines you have to distribute at the start of the game are All There in the Manual.
- Femme Fatale: Penelope Primm.
- Follow the Bouncing Ball: Used in the game's prologue, the Ballad of Freddy Pharkas. Also an Ear Worm.
- Funny Foreigner: Srini, the INDIAN.
- Have a Nice Death: Take any medications meant for someone else, open the bag of horse farts, let the town be overrun by snails...
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Madame Ovaree, to some extent. Possibly the rest of the ladies at the... errr... ladies' house.
- Identical Grandfather: Zircon Laffer.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: They way Freddy takes out the Card Sharp.
- Just for Pun: The reason Srini is from India.
- Let's Play: By OreWaUsopp.
- Never Found the Body: Penelope Primm, the Big Bad, setting up a Sequel Hook for a second game that never came.
- Potty Emergency: Freddy has one of these after the town's water supply is poisoned with a nasty substance. It's so bad he actually shares an outhouse with someone else.
- Truth in Television - some outhouses were three-holers.
- Except this one's barely large enough to fit one guy. And Freddy has to tell that guy to "scooch over a bit". Yuck.
- Punny Name: Almost every character in the game has one.
- Road Apples: A cow patty is an inventory item. Also, horse farts.
- Rule of Funny: Do NOT attempt to follow any of the medical advice listed in the pharmacist's guide/manual. It is a parody of the more primitive state of medicine in the 19th Century and is only meant to be used as a source of humor and copy protection information.
- Showdown at High Noon: Close to the end of the game. There are two arcade sequences following each other very closely.
- Shout-Out: Leisure Suit Larry's great-grandfather shows up.
- One of the medications in the pharmacy is a hemorrhoid cream called "Preparation G", presumably a forerunner to modern hemorrhoid cream Preparation H.
- Cedric the Owl has a cameo. A very short cameo.
- Something Completely Different: The first act of the game is prepping medicine for townsfolk, then using your mad medicine skills to save the town from various disasters, but after that Freddy returns to his gunslinger roots and all puzzles are solved with gunnery.
- Unreliable Narrator: The old guy who starts narrating the game does this even in death scenarios. "You're talking to a ghost, wooooooooooooo!"
- You No Take Candle: Played with. Hopalong Singh, the Chinese chef, can speak perfect English, but Mom pays him to Speekee Engrish instead because he'll sound more "authentic" that way. One of the Native Americans says he only uses Tonto Talk to make the tourists happy.