A while back, I came across a Monty Python-type game called The Procession To Cavalry; only I didn’t know what I know now: the title. It used the Terry Gilliam technique of Renaissance painting cut-outs to act out an often amusing scene.
During an adventure promotion on Steam, I played a demo of the wickedly meta The Preposterous Awesomeness Of Everything. Taking a peek at the developer’s other titles, boom: The Procession To Cavalry is in the line-up.
Without doing any investigative journalism whatsoever, and in hindsight, finding out that perhaps he’s a war criminal, or some other sort of cad, creator (not The) Joe Richardson is a proper good egg, and the following is my appraisal of his game.
The Procession To Cavalry Review
Sifting through your wishlist on Steam is the same as Netflix. You have the intention of digesting it all but never find the time, or another title takes precedence. I didn’t immediately purchase the game, but I stocked up on some most wanted titles one productive night.
With the family opting to watch a film about Roald Dahl, I was more into killing, in the classical sense. In The Procession To Cavalry, we join our hero on the tail end of the Holy War. Immortal John is now in charge, and peace will ensue, much to the protagonist’s dismay.
As a point and click game, The Procession To Cavalry has a neat little shortcut up its sleeve: the right mouse button. Press it, and our hero will whip out her sword and cut down… ah but wait: no more murderings. It’s forbidden. That is until you misinterpret an indirect command from Immortal John.
Heading South, your mission is to assassinate the brute, putting an end to his tyranny. How you do it is up to you. So yes, it’s a point and click, and commands are simple enough. Besides the unsheathed sword, you can look at, speak with and slap random people in the chops with one of the most satisfying sound effects.
Art is subjective, but whether you like the Renaissance era or not, Joe Richardson has expertly recreated these works of art by manually painting and animating them from scratch. Alternatively, they’ve used the source material, cut it out in Photoshop and animated it in Macromedia MX – a severely overlooked program.
Honestly, this game’s art direction is a masterpiece, and that’s not a knowing nod to the original works, but the mise-en-scene (showing off). The way that these images are manipulated, replaced and set a scene is absolutely stunning and far more complex than Mr Gilliam has ever produced. And yes, like everybody else, I’m a fan, but ’tis true.
But the real standout for me was the comedy – it’s genius. A mixture of acutely self-aware fourth-wall-breaking, satire, slapstick and fart jokes are jam-packed into this relatively short game. Yes, it is short, so there’s the heads up now, but it makes sense when you consider what’s gone into this game.
In the time it took for my family to watch the film, I’d finished the game. Well, I finished it in what seemed like under an hour and was mildly disappointed. It was just so much fun, but while the ending was amusing, it was pretty abrupt. Then the achievement flashed up to indicate the ending number.
What I had fallen victim to was the violence and hamfisted approach of not applying any logic. In nine times out of ten, I would say I opt for the pacifist route in gaming, but the convenience of pressing the right mouse button and cutting someone in half didn’t get old.
Starting from scratch, the warning signs were there if you take up the sword, so with a new approach, I can confirm that The Procession To Calvary takes longer than an hour to complete. Like art, it’s subjective and depends on your problem solving too, as some of the situations are a little confusing.
Without ruining the scene, there was a moment involving pearls (don’t worry, nothing too crude) which had me stumped for a bit, and the solution ended up being ‘click everything and hope for the best’. The rewards mightly outweigh any lull moments, and it’s hilarious.
There isn’t any real let up with the comedy, so if you don’t enjoy the first five minutes, you won’t like the rest. However, anyone with a sense of humour will be laughing aloud, and The Procession To Cavalry isn’t a simple exercise of funny jokes and pretty art.
Though the Steam page even refers to the game as Pythonesque, this doesn’t feel like a rehash of old jokes or scenes – they all feel unique, and the wit is typically British, of a certain ilk. Just little scenes with a work of art reimagined as a chap named Steve that’s had too much to drink and needs to put some pants on, makes you savour the dialogue.
Understandably, The Procession To Cavalry doesn’t take itself seriously. Joe Richardson is self-effacing in his artistic approach to the game, pulling back the curtain to give us a glimpse at the tools he uses for the game and enlisting the help of God to do so. They follow each other on the socials.
While this review hasn’t been silly, shifting a bit to put my sensible cap on, it’s an educational experience too. One of the central locations is an art gallery where you can view a lot of the art in the game. A lot of it I’m unfamiliar with, and seeing them out of context is astounding. Such as our friend Steve.
There’s also the classic soundtracks, drawing upon public domain music. No Black Pink here, but there are some banging tunes, and you can show your appreciation to the artists by standing in the street and giving them a clap. Because they’ll know you’re clapping for them. The game even makes me smile when I’m writing that horseshit too.
Here’s a bit of gameplay:
The Procession To Cavalry Review Summary
If you’re likely to raise an eyebrow to puerile humour, then I fart in your general direction. The Procession To Cavalry is a unique experience – timeless, you could say. Well, actually, yeah, it is a bit short, but it’s well worth it and forced my hand to check out its predecessor, Four Last Things. Hurrah!