Beavis and Butt-head Do U. seems to have all the ingredients of a very cool adventure. It's pretty hard to go wrong when you mix Beavis and Butt-head with college coeds, drunken frat boys, liberal college professors, an uptight dean, and horse poop. But Illusions has left this fertile comedic ground largely unplowed, thanks to a severe shortage of characters for the boys to interact with and a paucity of places for them to spread their endearing form of mayhem.
For their second full-blown adventure game, the dimwitted duo heads out with the class on a field trip to Highland State College. At first they're not too revved on the idea, but when they remember that college is home to "college sluts" and "beer," they're out of the classroom door and onto the Highland State campus faster than you can say "Fire! Fire!" Once there, Mr. Van Driessen tells them they've got to get the signatures of eight staff members to prove they spent the day learning about the benefits of a Highland State education - and if they do, they'll be rewarded by being allowed to attend a party at the end of the day. Once they're given that task, Do U. becomes little more than a scavenger hunt - a scavenger hunt that is funny at times, but one that's rarely challenging and ends just when it seems like it's getting started. Many people dismiss Beavis and Butt-head (the series, movie, and first adventure game) as moronic, but anyone who's watched the show knows their comments can be pretty damn ingenious, especially when they've got a straight character as a foil or they're ripping a video. Well, there aren't any videos in Do U., so the yucks are dependent on the yokels - and the yokels here don't give Beavis and Butt-head too much ammunition to work with. Sure, Beavis and Butt-head's trademark banter is just as funny as ever - just hearing Beavis mumble, "Well, I'll be damned!" is still enough to make me smile - but it's not enough to shoulder the weight of an entire game.
One problem is that the characters Beavis and Butt-head have to deal with are out-and-out boring, usually repeating the same two or three lines over and over again no matter what atrocity the kids commit. The only regulars from the show that you'll find here are Van Driessen, Stewart, and Kimberly (the punky chick). Where's Mr. Buzz-Cut (my favorite), Principal McDicker, Mr. Anderson, Todd, Daria, and Tanqueray and Lolita? They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in this case it would go a long way toward generating some laughs.
But even if Do U. has you in stitches from start to finish, you'll still feel disappointed because it all ends so abruptly. I'm only slightly above average at adventure games, but I finished this one in a single evening. For a while I thought it might be unreasonable to expect more of a challenge from a game aimed at Beavis and Butt-head fans - until I remembered that, hey, I'm a Beavis and Butt-head fan, and so are many of my gaming friends. No one said the puzzles had to be on Einstein's level, but if they're gonna be this easy there should at least be a whole lot of 'em.
It's sort of a shame, because in some areas Do U. is pretty cool. The graphics are a dead ringer for what you see in the show, and the interface is a model of simplicity - which is just fine, given how easy most of the puzzles are. And if you're sick of waiting around for saved games to load, Do U. will come as a big relief - restoring games takes only a few seconds, and a handy map makes moving around campus a painless affair. If only there were more to do and see.
Beavis and Butt-head Do U. feels like a game that was rushed out at about the halfway point in the development process - a suspicion that grew stronger after the game's weak finale. Casual Beavis and Butt-head fans might be satisfied with hearing their favorite cartoon characters say the same old stuff in a brand-new place, but discerning fans - and gamers looking for their money's worth in an adventure game - will likely walk away from this one feeling a little bit cheated.