Am I the only one wondering what the heck the lead artist ate the day he created Goblins? Uh oh, did I spell this wrong? Not really. In Gobliiins, the prequel, you can control three Goblin creatures, hence the three ‘i’-s. This game comes with two wacky dudes and the sequel with only one.
Every year an article pops up about Adventure games and the death of the genre and every year a fantastic game gets released to counter this myth. Sadly, only a few of those games are really worth playing trough. That’s why I’d like to take a look at the past with you to games wich are worth mentionning. How did this genre fare in the DOS era, when pixels ruled the world and nobody shouted like hell oh no these graphics suck!. Retro is in.
Please be kindly reminded of the legendary LucasArts adventure games wich still circulate in the second hand market for +$60 new. Too bad some abandoned software is still ESA Protected. Coktel Vision, the adventure game developêr of the Goblins series, already produced quality adventure data in the mid-1980s. The Goblins need your help puzzling trough various open ended stages. In this version, you’ll get Fingus, the wannabe-intelligent but total-not-funny goblin, and Winkle the dumb-but-so-funny dude. You will need to combine their efforts to achieve some items wich can then be used in another stage, and so on: classic adventure gameplay indeed.
Let’s talk a bit about the story. The Prince Buffoon has sadly been kidnapped! What will happen now? Fingus and Winkle will have to retrieve the prince by all means - alive or… well, alive. Let’s imagine the following scene: two old people are sitting on a bench by a big tree. Behind them, an empty bottle. You’ll need the bottle to water the flowers, wich you’ll need to… Do something else, let’s not spoil it. How do you successfully nab that bottle? Let Winkle do something stupid, the old guys laugh like hell and won’t pay attention on Fingus. Point & Click: nothing more, nothing less. With a bunch humoristic tricks and scenes added. Winkle will for instane literally ‘eat’ your valuable items if he’s hungry, so you can’t just solve each puzzle using the same goblin. Woah, that’s crazy, good sir! No, that’s an intresting twist.
There is always the cheesy and easy way to finish adventure games: scan the whole scene with your mouse cursor and pick up anything you are able to use. Combine everything with everything and try to interact with every usable object lying around. Should you think ‘aha, I will try to match logical objects with each other’, think again. Goblins is a whacky game and the puzzles are sometimes too wacky for it’s own good. Ever tried catching a fairy with honey sirup? Or getting matches via a big bear carpet? The right or wrong animations are very well done, but it will get frustrating after a dozen tries.
Luckily, you’ll get a couple Jokers troughout the game wich you can access via the top main menu. It will briefly explain what each goblin should pick up and do in the scene you’re in. You’ll only have a few of those jokers and once used you won’t be able to access them again so be careful. Sometimes the goblins themselves try to put you on the right track by saying something like ‘maybe I should do x and y?’. Don’t expect those hints in the later scenes tough. Yes, cheaters can simply look at GameFaqs, hmpf.
Gobliins 2 is a game wich suffers from the well-known age complex: pixels. If you are a die-hard 2D retro kind of person, knock your socks off. If you like to play UT2004 on 1400x1050, please ignore the two floppy disks. Yes! It’s that big. Oh wait, you can also play it via DOSBox or even via the excellent ScummVM interpreter. If your future Windows Vista install will be able to run those packets, that is.