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The King is MAD! Long live the King! Honestly, some of the things these regal types have to put up with are just plain ridiculous. When you're King, you expect to be able to sit down to a nice Sunday lunch without any interruptions from nasty people - you know the type - peasants, serfs, journalists and the like.

King Angoulafre is just about to tuck into his roast hog with his family, when he is attacked by an evil one armed with a voodoo doll and some pins. As the pins are stuck in, the King starts jumping up and down in his seat, and laughing like a loon. Naturally his family start thinking he's gone raving starkers, and they lock him up in one of those nice robbery type rooms. But who can help?

Enter Oups, Ignatius and Asgard, a trio of goblins each of whom possesses a unique talent. They must set off into unknown lands, and search out the only things which can help their King. Using the mouse, your job is to control the goblins in their quest. The area outside the Kingdom consists of a series of 22 different landscapes, each containing various puzzles which must be solved. As various objects and nasties obstruct the solution to each level, the three must operate as a team in order to move on.

Once the game starts, you are effectively thrown in at the deep end. The first screen depicts a house with a back yard, a tree, and a large gate. The screen is dotted with small cartoon-type animals, which don't add to the plot but help make the game look pretty. At the base of the screen is a counter bar, which gives you information such as how much energy you have left, and which goblin is being controlled.

Moving around the screen manipulating objects in an attempt to solve the puzzle will initially end in disaster. Reading the instruction manual reveals a clue, but this doesn't really help and the game may now appear daunting to the average player. As with most puzzle-type games though, perseverance pays its rewards, and the knack of solving the puzzles soon becomes second nature. At the end of each screen a code is displayed which will enable entry to that level (with the same energy) should you be killed off at a later stage.

Scream again
The game comes on three disks, and the loading time is fairly rapid. The graphics are very cute from the introduction onwards, with lots of nice touches which add to the feel of the game, and a good element of humour is apparent throughout - for example attempting to use violence or cast spells on various objects during the game sometimes brings hilarious results. The sound isn't too impressive, with only two spot effects and there is no music either, but as the tunes which normally accompany this sort of game are incredibly annoying, some may find this a blessing.

The generally polished presentation is marred by a few niggles - for instance if the energy runs out, and the player chooses to restart from the current position, the entire level is reloaded from disk. This doesn't take a horrendously long time, but it is unnecessary and can be extremely frustrating.

Also there are inherent problems with the control system, since the mouse pointer is used to select and control all three characters, this can be a bit fiddly when you are positioning a goblin in a particular spot. This latter point isn't really a criticism, but something to take into account when playing the game. The game might have been better if all characters could be moved around simultaneously.

Challenge Anneka
Gobliiins is a cute game with some excellent features, and will certainly appeal to fans of the now legendary Lemmings genre. Some players of the game will no doubt get frustrated with one or two levels as the solution is not always immediately apparent, but hardened puzzlers will love it.

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Schwere Zeiten für den Goblin-Konig Angoulafre: Irgendjemand stochert in einer Vodoo-Puppe herum, die ihm verdachtig ähnlich sieht. Also machen sich drei Untertanen auf den Weg, um ihren Herrscher vor der geistigen Umnächtung zu retten.

Bomicos Gobliiins ist eine originelle Mischung aus Knobelei und Adventure: Man steuert drei unter schiedlich begabte Goblins (einer kann zaubern, der andere Gegenstande anwenden, der dritte ist ein kleiner Schlagetot) durch eine hübsch gezeichnete Märchenwelt im Stil der frühen Sierras.

Pro Bild muß ein Aufgabenkomplex absolviert werden, damit der Ausgang ins nächste frei wird, wofür man dann ein Passwort erhält.

Zwar sind alle Puzzles relativ leicht zu lösen, doch geht hier ohne Teamwork gar nix. Meist boxt der Kämpfer einen Gegenstand frei, der Magier verwandelt ihn, damit der Techniker ihn sinnvoll benutzen kann.

Doch Vorsicht, falsche Aktionen werden mit Energieverlust bestraft! Da Gobliiins aber nur selten auf Reaktion, jedoch fast immer auf Denkarbeit setzt, ist der Energie haushalt kein echtes Problem - erfahrene Zocker haben das Spiel binnen eines Wochenendes durch.

Und auch die technische Umsetzung ist gelegentlich ein wenig schlampig ausgefallen; was das witzige Intro, Grafik und Animationen an Lob ernten, erhalt der Sound an Kritik: Während der Rettungstournee gibt's keine Hintergrundmusik und nur sehr sparsame Effekte. Auch die Maussteuerung könnte etwas exakter sein, aber mit der optionalen Tastatur wird's noch umständlicher.

Letztendlich tut das aber dem Spaß an der Freud keinen Abbruch - Gobliiins ist ein sympathisches kleines Game für Neuamigianer, das mit Erfolgserlebnissen nicht knausrig ist. (pb)

They're weird, they're French, they're stupid and we love 'em to bits. They're...

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Just stop right there. Before I go any further, don't go thinking my finger slipped on the keyboard while typing the title. Yes, it's supposed to have three 'i''s in it. Okay? Right, on with the review.

There's something you should know about Gobliiins. It's a French game. Now I'm not xenophobic, but it does sometimes make all the difference. It's not exactly one of the old-fashioned, rather crappy but likeable French games. But then neither is it the new breed which brushes the competition confidently aside in a wave of hype and ballyhoo. Nope, Gobliiins hovers somewhere between the two. It's not the most ambitious game ever. But it's fun, intriguing, good to look at, and a fine game.

Imagine, if you will, a puzzle game with the visual style of, say, Monkey Island (rendered in the usual French pastel-o-vision). A puzzle game of 22 linear levels, where the problems must be solved by three moronic gobliiins, each using their special abilities.

One gobliiin can use objects he finds flying around, one gobliiin can punch things, and one gobliiin can cast spells. Individually, the gobliiins are pathetic specimens. Working as a team however, (kind of like The Professionals plus one, with the plyer in the role of Cowlie, portrayed by the one and only Gordon Jackson), the gobliiins can eventually crack the puzzles on a screen and progress to the next (and need I say, harder) level.

It's a simple enough idea, but it's the style and execution of the thing which make Gobliiins so endearing. The little gobliiins (help, somebody save the 'I' on my keyboard) are animated with style and charm, and the sound effects are spot on. The mock-speech is particularly neat - it's almost possible to believe that it really does make some kind of sense to somebody, somewhere.

Okay, that's the credit where it's due. Now it's down time. Downer number one (and what a big downer it is) is that once you've played through Gobliiins you'll never, ever, play it again. This is intrinsic to the game design, but it's a bit of a problem nevertheless, particularly with only 22 levels to plough through.

Problem number two is the levels are just too simple. I don't mean simple as in too easy to solve, rather simple as in once you know how, it only takes a minute. Combine this with problem one, and you've got, um, two problems.

Grumbles aside though, the puzzles are nicely, thought out. The control system is pretty straightforward, and I just can't help liking those little guys. It's duff and twisted for sure, and it's not exactly Another World, but sometimes a neat little game does down a treat. And, yes, it's just slightly better than Pushover.

  1. Casting a spell on something can be a little unpredictable to say the least.
  2. The game is played using the mouse, with this shape-changing cursor.
  3. The object held by the 'object holding goblin' is displayed here. Wild, eh?
  4. The wizard won't let the gobliiins in to his house. Perhaps a present is needed.
  5. When they're not busy, the gobliiins goof around, pulling daft faces.
  6. This door looks like it might lead somewhere, but just try getting through.

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Something is afoot in Dingly-Dell. The King has gone as nutty as a king-size Snickers bar. Dan Slingsby and a trio of goblins went down to the bottom of the garden to investigate - well, that's his story...

This sleeper of a hit was released more than a year ago in Germany and France to rave reviews, and it's a mystery why nobody bothered to import it over here. Never ones to let such a quality game escape our attention, those good folks at Digital Integration have teamed up with the title's Continental publishers, Coktel Vision, to give us all a chance to share in the miscreant antics of three young goblins and some of the funniest animations I've seen in an Amiga game.

We'll forget about the plot - which is some nonsense about a mad-as-a-cow King and his three loyal goblins who are sent on a quest to find a cure for his mysterious illness - and jump straight into the game. The idea is to guide the three goblins through twenty-two single-screen levels in search of four magical components which, when combined, will provide the cure to their ailing King's madness.

Each level has a set task to complete. It's not immediately obvious what that task is, and some are quite off-the-wall and zany, but there are several subtle clues scattered about to help you on the way.

In a doff of the hat to Psygnosis' Lemmings, Gobliiins three characters have their own individual abilities and strengths. Asgard is the beefy-looking one who, naturally enough, is good at hitting things and using his strength to climb up ropes. On the other hand, Ignatius is a weedy magician who can cast spells on almost anything, but cannot predict the results. Completing the trip comes Oups, sporting a stylish bobble hat atop his bonce, and who can collect and use the various objects scattered about each screen. By manipulating all three, in turn, the player has to use their individual abilities to solve the game's many puzzles, red herrings and traps.

It's not as simple as that, though, as the amount of experimentation open to you and your minions is severely limited by an energy bar for each character. Fall foul of a particular trap and your energy level is rapidly eaten away. Use it all up, and one of your three characters bites the dust. Annoyingly, it's not possible to complete the entire game without all three goblins in toe, so you'll either have to start again or restart using the handy level codes released at the end of each successfully-completed stage.

Everything in the game is mouse-controlled. Placing the arrow cursor on the main screen and clicking the left button designates the sport or area for the currently-selected goblin to walk to. Clicking the right mouse button cucles through the various options open to your current character.

For instance, a clenched fist indicates an action that can be performed such as, in the case of Asgard, walloping someone or bashing something. The fist also indicates where the wizard will cast his spell and on which person of spot various objects can be used. It's all incredibly straightforward, which is a shame, as some of the puzzles in the game certainly aren't.

Unlike Lemmings, which allowed the player to logically think through each level's slickly-designed problems, Gobliiins offers few clues as to what course of action to take. Admittedly, some levels give pretty big hints - for instance, one screen features a twinkling diamond sticking out of a diamond mine, so it's obvious what to do there - but even when it looks incredibly straightforward, things are far from easy.

Only by constant trial and error are some of the later puzzles solved. It's not a game where you can sit down and finish it in one sitting (unless you're incredibly jammy) and you'll doubtless have to restart each level several times before you solve the intricate puzzles.

With such a high difficulty level and so few clues, the game's saving grace comes in the form of some stunning cartoon-like animation. Each character has a vast repertoire of facial expressions and most of these are used to comic effect when things go wrong or when individual characters have been standing idle for any length of time. Some will stand on their head, pick their nose, play with a yo-yo, or countless other tricks while awaiting their turn.

Despite its slapstick humour and clever visual gags, Gobliiins is a little plodding at times. It takes a while for each action to be completed and, due to the bizarre nature of some of the puzzles, a player may well give up before he's taken a look at more than a third of what the game has to offer. The incidental humour might be quite jolly but it begins to wane after a time, especially if you've tried everything and got absolutely nowhere.

Gobliiins is the Lemmings beater it promised to be, but it's still a fine game. There's certainly a few brain-straining puzzles to overcome and the cartoon-like puzzles to overcome and deft animation touches make for an entertaining game, but things become daunting after a while as the difficulty level rises and the clues become much more sparse.

Definitely worth a look, Gobliiins isn't wildly original, but it is a very humorous romp. And if you like your puzzle-cum-adventure games hard, then they don'' come much harder than this.

WONDERFUL WORLD On your travels, you'll meet a wide variety of characters, some of whom will offer help, while others will try and cause as much grief as possible. Niak. The wizard, is a grouchy old so-and-so, but his wisdom can be bought with precious jewels. Other characters to look out for include Shadwin, an influential old rat, Gemellor, a two-headed dragon, and Meliagante, a very sad giant who has fallen into the deepest depression. The latter also guards a run-down castle where a secret weapon resides which can destroy all evil powers...