From The Adventure Gamer
Written by Alfred n the Fettuc
Before submitting WEEN to the PISSED rating, we need to study the alternative paths that you can take through the game. I counted two (but I might also have missed something), one using the fish amulet to breathe underwater, and the other attainable by choosing the second door when you exit the temple, just before the ant garden.
|The first hint about an alternative path comes from our friend URM|
Restarting the game, I scan once more every screen to see what I could have missed but don’t find anything before the lake itself (I still don’t know if I can do anything with the bolt I found on OHKRAM’s balcony by the way). Turns out that on the first venom/pollen puzzle, there is a very tiny leave hidden in the corner of the screen.
|Obvious isn’t it?|
Considering all the pixel-hunting I had to do in order to progress later in the game, I’m really surprised I didn’t spot the leaves on my first play-through. I think at this point of the game, I didn’t really need to search every nook and cranny of every place I went. Anyway, I make the monster appear on the bridge, get the feather, use it to make the venom and pollen appear in the chest, and mix a potion of growth out of the two reagents. And what do you know…
I call URM and give him the strawberries. Joyful, he drops a small ingot of gold that fits perfectly with the half-statue to make a complete fish amulet. Guess it means that URM had the amulet since the very beginning and just didn’t give it to me because I didn’t have enough strawberries in my pocket… stupid greedy bat. Using the amulet on the water allows me to enter it and breathe underwater. URM comes back afterwards and get back the Elixir from me, so the hint of an alternative path works whatever path you choose. Nice touch.
|Do fishermen dream of electric fish?|
Just before arriving on this screen, I witness a little cutscene with a big barracuda-like fish eating some kind of metal pole. When I click on the seaweeds on the left of the screen, a little fish appears and get eaten by the same barracuda-like fish, that WEEN describes as a wurk, a greedy fish that could eat anything. I’m starting to suspect that we’ll have to make him eat the electric fish one way or another. Clicking on the staircase sets a trap where iron bars appear from the wall to stop me from going up. Messing with the electric fish gets me zapped. I spend some time looking around until a little bug appears… it’s our friend the useless mosquito sent by KRAAL!
|Hey there little buddy, I thought I would only kick your ass much later in the game…|
I catch it pretty easily and feed it to the electric fish… Just when I was wondering if it meant that taking this alternative path would make the mosquito disappear from the rest of the game, another one quietly arrives and lands at the exact same place. I’m guessing KRAAL has an infinite army of mosquitos underlings for some reason. Knowing that the electric fish seems to love mosquitos, I get the other insect and drop it near the hole where the wurk is hidden. It exits and eats the fish, resulting in death by electrocution. I grab the glass piece on the ground and cuts the wurk open.
I use the steel bar found into the belly of the beast in the small hole near the door, making it bigger. Clicking on the hole now makes another marine monstrosity appear as a moray eel tries to catch me. Messing with the seaweeds on the left make another innocent fish wander around and gets eaten by the moray eel.
Inside the fish I find a harpoon point (what do they eat in that lake?) that I combine with my metal bar to make a perfectly fine harpoon. Trying to use it in the moray eel hiding place doesn’t work though. Looking in the seaweed to find another fish, I catch it with my harpoon before it gets eaten and then feed it to the moray eel, hoping it would choke on my harpoon, but no. It just eats the fish and spits back my harpoon. What a nice monstrosity. Pixel-hunting the place once more, I discover a crack on the side of the barred staircase. Destroying a part of the wall with my harpoon, and trying to climb the staircase once again breaks the trap. However, the iron bars are now stuck in the stone.
|Not for the marine life around here, that’s for sure.|
Using my trusty harpoon, I catch another fish from the seaweed and put it between the iron bars. It works! The moray eel catch the harpoon point and forces the iron bars open with its voracity. Now that’s what I call one hungry fish! Finally, I’m able to exit this horrible place and get to the entrance of the dragon temple with the wasp trap and the snake.
So all in all, this path allows me to avoid the goblin-looking statue with its sword and the Orivor puzzle. I kinda prefer the underwater path as I think the puzzles are more fun. However, I’ll probably never go in a lake again in my life now that I’ve seen what’s in it…
Second alternative path : Laser-eye petrifying dinosaurs
After getting the three grains of sand and exiting the temple (and before the two dimwits lost my haversack), I was presented with two doors. The door on the right, that I chose, brought me to the ant garden puzzle where I had to mix a digitalis meal for the ant queen. Selecting the door on the left brings me to another garden, where some kind of huge laser-eyes dinosaur petrifies URM the second we get in!
|We hold the winner in the Coktel Vision teeth contest|
PETROY appears and tells me that KOR, the deity that’s pictured on the left, can help URM, but I need to give him offerings. Namingly, the power of thunder, the star of light and the wealth of the tide… Just that. I grab what appears to be a net (probably in order to get the wealth of the tide. I knew I should have brought another dead fish from the underwater segment). Trying to operate the well tells me that I need a handle to work the pulley. The right of the screen allows me to exit to another part of the garden.
|A grill? Maybe I’ll be able to barbecue the wealth of the tide…|
Getting the grill allows a huge orange crab to exit the trap. I grab a fish from the river with my net. Clicking a second time on the river makes the fairy of the river appear! She tells me that in her river lives a crab with sharp pincers (doh!), and that great riches can be found in the water. Trying to use the grill as a sieve doesn’t work though. Not finding anything else, I go back to the statue of KOR in order to offer him the fish I just caught. No reaction. So I guess the wealth of the tide refers to actual wealth. Pixel-hunting the first screen, I find that I can remove the hoop from the barrel.
|You know? For kids!|
Using the grill in the hoop, I make an actual sieve. Using it on the river allows me to get a few gold nuggets. Going back to the statue, I can put the nuggets at the feet of the statue but nothing happens. I guess he wants the three elements before doing anything. I realize I still have a fish in my inventory and go back to the river. Putting the fish in the trap next to it makes the big orange crab come back in order to devour this meal. I catch the crab (with my bare hands… WEEN is clearly braver than me). Not finding anything to do with it, I try using my other inventory items everywhere. Putting the sword in the hand of the statue, it attracts lightning! After hitting the sword, the lightning falls on the ground and I can grab it in my hands.
|Pretty sure that’s not how lightning works.|
Trying to put the lightning on the pedestal to offer KOR the “power of thunder”, WEEN tells me that he’s got far better things to do with this object for the moment… So first, thank you, protagonist, for this hint but could you please do as you’re told? Secondly, ok, what else can I do with a solidified lightning? Use it as a handle for the well of course! I pull up something that looks like a chest from the bottom of the well and I can put the lightning on the pedestal afterwards. Thank you, WEEN! The chest is locked by a heavy metal chain that I use my crab to cut. It still doesn’t open, though, so I get my sword back and use it as a lever to open the chest (swords used as levers during the game : 4). Inside the chest is a key that I use to open the lock under the beast statue. In it I find a sun effigy, which is sure to be “the star of light”. I put it on the pedestal and KOR reanimates URM, who doesn’t take long to be his normal self again!
|Ungrateful fruit-eating bastard|
And then I arrive at the garden with the view on Volcano Island, the worm and the giant mushrooms. I tend to prefer this path also to the one with the ant queen, if only because I spent way too much time on the ant queen screen turning my copper ball into a pipe and a cauldron and vice-versa…
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. I tend to be a bit afraid of the PISSED rating because I know this game is fondly remembered by many, but I’ll try my best to give it a fair trial.
Puzzles and Solvability
The puzzles are pretty fun overall. The game is a nice suite of inventory-based puzzles and there are a lot of them. However, the game is a bit on the easy side and a few of the puzzles are repetitive without enough differences between them. The room with the fireflies comes to mind where you’re supposed to repeat the same tedious steps five times. The other problem is that you stumble a bit too often on the solution instead of wanting to do something and successfully do it. That’s usually the issue with games with a single “action” button (as opposed to a list of verbs or a parser), in my humble opinion, but in this kind of games where things happen because “magic”, I think that clicking on random things and see what happens is a big part of the fun, like a less chaotic version of Gobliins 2.
When the game avoids being too easy, however, it tends to fall pretty quickly in the “obscure” territory. The dragon battle, for example comes to mind, or the potion mixing.
|Never forget the mighty battle of the cat and the beagle.|
Thorough pixel-hunting is a huge part of the game as well and it can be infuriating at times, especially when you think you have the good solution and can’t make it work. Globally, the game could do with a little more hints, even subtle ones. Too often was I stumbling in the dark just trying to make something happen with no clear objective of my goal.
Having two branching paths (even if it’s for a short period of time) is great though, and adds replayability, which is still rare enough in adventure games to be underlined.
Final Score : 6. Overall, the puzzle design is solid, pleasant and there are a lot of things to do. A few roadblocks are difficult enough without being unsolvable. The fact that you are too often stumbling in the dark is what prevents it to get a 7, but just quite.
Interface and Inventory
As was noted by Ilmari in his playthrough of Gobliins 2, the interface shares some similarities, which is a novelty for a Coktel Vision game. It’s probably because it works. You can combine inventory items, use items on yourself, etc. I think the guys at Coktel were working on something that would be used in all of their games at the time if only because they left the “fast movement” icon in the menu without using it once in the game. It was Coktel’s take on something similar to the SCUMM engine, even if not as brilliant.
|There is even a notepad to keep track of whatever seems important (like potion recipes)|
The interface is overall pretty functional, but it has a few flaws that really get irritating in the long run. I’ve rambled enough on the transformations of the copper ball/sword/pipe/cauldron. It’s because you do that ALL THE TIME. And what is a charming little animation in the beginning of the game are excruciating when you do that fifteen times in a row because you’re trying to solve a puzzle and don’t know which tool to use. The fact that you have to go through the copper ball transformation every time you want to change the sword into a cauldron is more irritating than it has any right to be.
There are other issues as well. Using the glue on the firefly works but not the other way around. Granted, it makes more sense in this order but when you’re trying to find the solution to an obscure puzzle, you don’t necessarily try the two sides of an item interaction. There is also a little “slugginess” to the whole game (like a few milliseconds too long) that makes the whole thing a little too slow for my taste. But it might also be the emulator I used so I won’t take it into account.
The integrated joker system is a nice touch. In a time before the internet, it was always a solution to make some progress in the game if you’re completely stuck. I tried it here and there after my playthrough, though, and it could beneficiate from a little subtlety by guiding you on the right path instead of telling the solutions outright. But still, it’s always better than throwing the game disks against a wall in frustration.
Final Score : 4. Functional, but a few issues tarnish the whole experience here and there.
Story and Setting
Well… this one is tricky. I’m pretty sure the story as a whole made some kind of sense to someone at Coktel Vision (or they were under a lot of drugs), but after having completed the game, I still have little clues about exactly who is OPALE, what the REVUSS is, what the BORGOL is, why the two stupid twins change their height every five seconds, etc… The whole story comes out as quite a mess, and it’s not a translation issue as I’ve tried the french version and it’s more or less the same thing.
|I still want someone to explain to me why my haversack was an owl the whole time…|
Then again, the whole “it’s magic” works with this universe and the sense of mystery permeates everything, but that’s something that enters in another category. As a story in and by itself, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’d also love to have some kind of confrontation with KRAAL at the end instead of an over-complicated Bond villain scheme to foil. It’s like if at the end of Legend of Kyrandia, you just had to disarm a trap instead of confronting Malcolm while you’ve spent the whole game chasing him.
The same can be said about the places you’re exploring. Once you exit the cave complex from underneath OHKRAM’s house, you spend your time going in and out of caves and gardens with little coherence. It’s not a big deal in itself, as most of the puzzles are self-contained to one screen, but it doesn’t make you feel like you’re making any progress, more like you’re being lugged around random places.
Final score : 3. The story is serviceable, nothing else. You solve puzzles and sometimes, someone talks to you spouting nonsense.
Sound and Graphics
In the visual department, the game suffers from a strange dichotomy. The places you explore are mostly pretty and nicely detailed. The catacombs and temples are creepy enough and the whole “sunsets and moonlight” ambiance suits the magical atmosphere overall. However, I found the monster and creature design to be quite hideous, to be honest. The dragon, the orivors, the mosquitos… I guess a monster is supposed to be ugly, and it’s also a matter of taste, but I frankly disliked the overall creature design.
|The horror… the horror…|
And then there are digitized actors in Halloween masks integrated in all this. If you remove UBI and ORBI little dance, all of them are mostly shot in close-ups and there is a little “cheap” feeling about all this, like a bad short-feature horror film. On the other hand, it’s nice enough to have integrated digitized actors in the first place in this day and age.
On the sound department, the whole ambiance is great and the music is pretty nice (even if it could have benefited from a little more tracks because it tends to repeat itself pretty quickly). The sound effects have nice swishes and swooshes that add to the magical theme and all of this is of pretty good quality overall.
Final Score : 5. Pretty good overall but a few hits and misses in the design department. Good music though.
Environment and Atmosphere
Despite the odd design choices and a few elements that I could easily have done without (UKI, ORBI and your little dance, I’m looking at you), if there is something that you can’t reproach Ween : The Prophecy for, is its atmosphere. The whole game is full of magic, weird things and every new screen is an invitation to explore and find what new kinds of surprises the game holds for you. The mysterious statues that are found everywhere, the magical beings you’re encountering… Add to that the whole sunset/moonlight feeling that you have for most of the game and you have the feeling of a magical world ending.
|When the sun in the sky looks like this, it’s time to go to the nearest shelter|
The use of colors is also to be commended. The whole game is painted in dominant colors (mainly orange and purple) and it really adds to the atmosphere (despite a few clashes here and there).
However (because we always need a however), once again, a few choices go against the whole thing. There is sometimes goofiness that would be more in its place in a Gobliiins game, sometimes alternating immediately with something more mysterious. I think the developers were trying to alternate between mysterious and funny, but it sometimes doesn’t work. Managing a “hot and cold” ambiance (like, let’s say, the early movies of Tim Burton, for example) is something that’s really hard to achieve and I can’t help but feel like the developers should have chosen a direction and stick with it instead of trying to alternate between serious and goofy.
Final Score : 6. Great magical atmosphere, marred sometimes by odd goofy moments.
Dialog and Acting
Like I’ve said earlier, a lot of the exposition text and dialog is pretty nonsensical. Sometimes, the ORACLE or the BORGOL (whatever the latter is) appear and tell you a lot of things, much of it not making a lot of sense… Some other times, OHKRAM appears and tells you you’ve gained a grain of sand even if you weren’t really trying to do so… Most of the interactions with the animals and sentient beings you cross path with are nice without being really noteworthy.
The exception to this rule is URM, your vampire buddy, which is the most competently written character. His lines are sometimes funny, especially when you call him for no reason. He’s helping and mocking in equal measures and is a pretty good sidekick.
|And he really seems to enjoy doing evil deeds, which is a good thing in my book|
The rest of the sidekicks are not that great. PETROY spends most of the time telling you “he can’t tell you anything about that” when you ask him for help, but sometimes, he drops a clue that’s mandatory to understand the puzzles. And I think I’ve rambled enough on UKI and ORBI, but let’s say that every time their ugly mugs appear, you know you’re here for what appears like full minutes listening to their stupid dances and songs. And the fact that you can’t speed up the dialog doesn’t help, especially if you reload to earlier stages of the game you’ve already suffered through.
The acting in itself is mainly digitized people in Halloween masks waving and doing over the top gestures to make their point, so it’s nothing to write home about. At least, the final animation of KRAAL apparently trying to peel his face off is satisfactory enough.
Final Score : 4. Apart for URM, nothing really stands out, and the twins are consistently cringeworthy.
So without further ado, the final score equals (6+4+3+5+6+4/0.6) = 47! I’ll add one discretionary point for the fact that, despite all its quirks and errors, the whole experience was overall pretty pleasant and I think it’ll stick with me as a good memory. And I realize now that doing so gives it the exact same score of the first Gobliiins and five points above The Legend of Djel, so kudos to Coktel for upping their game since Bargon Attack and Emmanuelle!
Congrats on your score guess, Lugh, you earn CAPs!
I’m glad I was able to finally play through this game. I had memories of it for a long time ago and being able to make some real progress on it instead of being stuck on the second screen like the stupid kid I was made me feel like an achievement! See you around and thank you all for your attention and your comments!
- Blogger Award – 100 CAPs – for playing through Ween for everyone’s enjoyment
115 CAPs to Joe Pranevich
- Vohaul Award – 5 CAPs – for letting us know that Infamous Adventures have just released a new version of Space Quest II
- Festive Blogger Award – 60 CAPs – for blogging through A Christmas Adventure with a bonus interlude for everyone’s enjoyment
- Classic Blogger Award – 50 CAPs – for blogging through Crash Dive for everyone’s enjoyment
105 CAPs to Ilmari Jauhiainen
- Djel Historian Award – 5 CAPs – For giving us worrying details about DJEL and AZEULISSE real relationship
- Classic Blogger Award – 50 CAPs – for blogging through Growing Pains of Adrian Mole for everyone’s enjoyment
- Classic Blogger Award – 50 CAPs – for blogging through The Price of Magik for everyone’s enjoyment
70 CAPs to Will Moczarski
- Classic Blogger Award – 50 CAPs – for blogging through The Institute for everyone’s enjoyment
- Intermission Award – 20 CAPs – for a 1981 Summary of Med Systems Software
- True Companion Award – 20 CAPs – for playing along
- Alternative Award – 6 CAPs – for giving hints about the alternative paths
- The Ball and the Cauldron Award – 5 CAPs – for agreeing with my rambling about the copper ball transformation and alerting me about the potion mixing nightmare.
- Psychic Prediction Award – 10 CAPs – for being the closest guesser to the Price of Magic PISSED rating
- Psychic Prediction Award – 10 CAPs – for correctly guessing The Institute’s PISSED rating
32 CAPs to MorpheusKitami
- True Companion Award – 20 CAPs – for playing along.
- Back Of His Hand Award – 5 CAPs – for sharing his interesting insight on a game that he knows very well
- Djel and Azeulisse Award – 5 CAPs – for guessing that Djel and Azeulisse were probably deadbeat parents
- Alternative Award – 6 CAPs – for giving hints about the alternative paths
- Size Does Matter Award – 5 CAPs – for engaging in a discussion about the two stupid twins real size
- Lost Bet Award (Unaward?) – -10 CAPs – For betting against me that I wouldn’t find the answer to the snake puzzle
- Ho Ho Oh… Award – 1 CAP – for remembering a Christmas game we could play… but not knowing we’d already played it
20 CAPs to Mr. Sack
- What’s Your Story Award – 20 CAPs – for submitting his answers to our What’s Your Story questions
- Psychic Prediction Award – 10 CAPs – for correctly predicting the PISSED rating
- Gene and Dean Award – 5 CAPs – for telling us about the Ween band that might have (or not) something to do with the title change
10 CAPs to Rowan Lipkovits
- 33 and 1/3 Award – 5 CAPs – for the surprising news that games have actually been distributed on vinyl records
- Do Androids Dream of Kindle Paperwhites Award – 5 CAPs – for knowing how reading in dreams works
10 CAPs to ShaddamnIVth
- Minotaur Award – 5 CAPs – for actually programming a labyrinth while studying
- Do Androids Dream of Kindle Paperwhites Award – 5 CAPs – for knowing how reading in dreams works
5 CAPs to Jonathan
- The Doctor Is In Award – 5 CAPs – for giving us chilling details about the digitalis and its effect on rats
5 CAPs to Deano
- Cold As Balls Award – 5 CAPs – for letting Ilmari know the likely background to the brass monkey puzzle in Price of Magik
5 CAPs to Andy_Panthro
- Alchemist Award – 5 CAPs – for finally explaining to me why people bite gold
5 CAPs to Laukku
- Pixel Filtering Award – 5 CAPs – for alerting me that my emulation software was filtering pixels
5 CAPs to Mayhaym
- Wario Ware Award – 5 CAPs – for appreciating that sometimes you need to pick the nose of a demon dog
5 CAPs to Corey Cole
- Rutabaga Award – 5 CAPs – for answering Will’s question, and adding more historical context to a character from The Institute
5 CAPs to Lisa H.
- The Shape of Watercraft Award – 5 CAPs – for pointing out that all submarines are long, thin and full of seamen