Game 113: Ween : The Prophecy (1993)

From The Adventure Gamer

[Admin note: Since there’s still so much left of the last game of 1992, Consulting Detective 2, we’ve decided to already start playing the first game of 1993. Enjoy!]

Written by Alfred n’ the Fettuc

So here we are, the first game on our list for 1993, and another French adventure game made by Coktel Vision to boot! Just to remind a few of our beloved readers out there, The Adventure Gamer website has had a tumultuous relationship with French adventure games in the past. With a few exceptions (the most notable one being K.G.B which, despite being a French game, sits proudly in our Top rated games list) a lot of the games originating from my country were given low, or even abysmal, PISSED ratings. Will Ween : The Prophecy (or simply The Prophecy as it’s known in the US) be one of the games that redeem French adventure gaming or will it add another stone in the bucket? I asked myself the same question with Bargon Attack a while ago and… well it didn’t turn out very well.

Very nice cover, though, courtesy of Thierry Segur, French comic book and storyboard artist.

My previous experience with this game was at a friend’s house when I was around 12-years old and I remember very vividly the music and strange ambiance from this game. I also remember that we weren’t able to go very far. In fact, I’m not even sure we managed to get pass the few first starting screens before weird puzzles and obscure game design quickly sent us back to killing nazis in Wolfenstein 3D. However the overall feeling of the game always made me want to come back and try to complete it. After all these years, now is my chance! (or my curse, we’ll see about that…)

I’m going to WEEN the Prophecy (sorry about this one, I couldn’t resist)

The story so far (as told in the manual and in the pretty nice intro movie, done by mixing real actors and computer graphics) is that I am WEEN and I have been mandated by the wizard OHKRAM to find three grains of sand to put in the REVUSS, some kind of magical hourglass, in order to seal once again the evil warlock KRAAL. Yes, all these names are always told in all caps, so I’ll keep with this tradition.

Anyone familiar with the Père Fouras of the Fort Boyard French game show?

For that I have to complete three steps in three days :

  1. I must open the stele which seals the entrance to the cave where the Temple stands. 
  2. I must vanquish the Dragon with a hundred faces. 
  3. I must convince the guardian to open the Sanctuary.
Ugliest dragon ever.
Now that’s more like it!

The three days time limit is kinda worrying. Does the game run on some kind of timer? I can only hope it’s an artificial one and that my actions will make the clock go forward instead of real time.

The game serves as a kind-of-but-not-really sequel to the game Legend of Djel that was reviewed by Ilmari in 2016. This game introduced the wizard Hokram, which I guess is the same guy despite the different spelling, and his son Djel. Considering the manual tells me that OHKRAM is my grandfather, I think this makes WEEN the son of Djel, even if the latter is not mentioned anywhere in Ween: The Prophecy. It seems we’ll have another returning character in the person of PETROY, a gnome friend of OHKRAM. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t seem that Muriel Tramis, our favorite french game developer, was involved in the making of this game despite the fact she worked on Legend of Djel. She was probably working on Gobliiins at this time.

Three years were really a long time for graphical improvements in the nineties.
After the introduction, I’m thrusted into OHKRAM’s house, which is supposed to hold a secret entrance to the temple of the REVUSS. I’m supposed to find it myself and I can’t help but think that OHKRAM could have given me a few more pointers as to where in his house can be found the secret entrance. Maybe he forgot about it due to some kind of senile dementia.

The first screen of the game. I spent a LOT of time here as a kid…

Reviews from 1992 were pretty good even if the puzzles were considered great by some magazines and completely illogical by others. The graphics were considered really appealing. As it’s often the case, retro reviews nowadays are much harsher, with notably giving the game 2 out of 5 stars, considering the game as nothing more than a collection of inventory puzzles wrapped in a fantasy package. Well, I like myself a good collection of inventory puzzles so it still looks interesting to me!

It’s time to guess the PISSED rating! As a pointer, I’ve gathered all the Coktel Vision games we’ve played through on the blog (10 of them, which is quite a lot for a single company!) and I was surprised to see that there’s quite a few of them that fared pretty well on our scale (note that they also produced Emmanuelle which remains one of our worst rated games to this day), so let’s hope Ween will find itself on the high end of this scale!

Mewilo – 48
Freedom : Rebels in the Darkness – 28
Asterix : Operation Getafix – 22
Emmanuelle – 15
Legend of Djel (of which Ween is a sequel of sort) – 43
Geisha – 36
Fascination – 42
Bargon Attack – 34
Gobliiins – 48
Inca – 40

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