Still spelled wrong, but getting closer

Gobliins 2 logo

COKTEL VISION * £29.99 * 1 MEG * mOUSE * oUT NOW

No, I'm not going to mention the spelling - dubious though it is - or aim any cheap puns at the French developers who ought to have spent a little more time poring over their English dictionaries, especially since they made a similar mistake last time with the original Gobliiins. I'm not going to do that at all, but if I was going to, I'd say this - the spelling is ridiculous and our crossChannel cousins are completely daft.

It's not long since we reviewed Gobliiins, but already those industrious bods at Coktel Vision have come up with yet another adventure for our erstwhile elfen friends. At least this is what one would assume. On closer inspection though, it transpires that two altogether new Gobliins (no letters about the spelling please - it's all correct, I assure you) have replaced the original three. This makes Gobliins 2 a sequel something along the lines of that fabled movie Grease 2, whereby an already dubious storyline was minutely changed and similar characters introduced in order to milk the profits even further.

The king Gobliin (let's just dispense with the silly spelling for now, eh?) has had his son kidnapped by the nasty and evil Amoniak, who's still narked off over being defeated in a battle by the king some 50 years earlier. To complete the king's humiliation, Amoniak has made the king's son his jester, and although new to the job the now Prince Buffoon is said to be already challenging such comic legends as Shane Ritchie and Andre O'Connor for the title of funniest man in the world.

This is all well and good, but the king would rather like his son back, so he can once again engage in the customary royal duties of wearing maroon pantaloons and having his friends beheaded for beating him at hopscotch.

A problem is the fact that Amoniak has about four million ferocious beasts protecting himself and the prince at all times. Of course the only people stupid enough to attempt the unlikely rescue are a couple of dedicated Goblins, Winkle and Fingus.

Winkle fancies himself at something of a card - he's a cheeky young fella and tends to get a good drubbing at some point from just about everybody he encounters. Fingus is the gentleman of the two - a kind of Sid Little to Winkle's Eddie Large if you like, the difference being Fingus doesn't attempt to play a guitar only to be disturbed by Winkle's comedy banter, as was the ilk the with aforementioned duo. But enough of these comedianic allegories, and onto the game.

Those who have played the original will be familiar with the gameplay, but will probably be thankful that this sequel sports one less sprite, and is therefore less fiddly to control. Since the whole point is to rescue the dippy prince, who as mentioned is under extremely heavy guard, most of the game involves overcoming various guardians in finding your way to his captor.

The goblins must work together to solve the puzzles - in a specific order in some cases - and although frustrating at times, there are loads of humorous asides that take away some of that "Aarrgghh!..." element that quite often causes serious malfunctions in machinery due to its being repeatedly bludgeoned by a variation of heavy household implements.

Despite there being two characters to manipulate, the point-and-click control is very user friendly. A nice touch I found was the Notepad option which allows you to record any pieces of pertinent information. An irksome feature that occurs in a good many games of this nature is that some of the puzzles are quite bizarre and not at all logical, and Gobliins 2 is no exception.

Thankfully, the superb cartoon graphics and funny FX (not the music mind - turn it off for God's sake) more than compensate.

Hardened adventurers are unlikely to sustain major brain damage in attempting to complete the game, though the jollity of it all will more than satisfy.
In short, Gobliins 2 is a hilarious adventure that will provide a good few hours of chuckles and hair-pulls for just about any game fan.

Gobliins 2 logo

Coktel Vision * £29.99

Nothing much has changed: the great sounds remain; the animation and characterization have been improved; and the humour is still childishly fun. The plot is a little more intricate, you have to rescue the Young Prince.

When I say you, I mean Fingus and Winkie, the two heroes from the last adventure whose task it is to complete the quest. These two chaps play a merry little Straight and Stupid act in which you always seem to use Winkle as the straight Goblin and Fingus as the comedy act. Once you've sussed the simple control system - and this really is no chore at all - the play is fluid and not difficult to get into at all.

The in-game music can get irritating, as can the almost constant clatter of pseudo-talk, but you can always turn the volume down. Also the very strict path that you have to take in order to solve the puzzles that appear to block your way can annoy. Still, it's all in the nature of strange adventure game isn't it. Another winner, just.

Gobliins 2 logo

Der erste Teil dieser originellen Mischung aus Knobelei und Adventure wurde noch mit drei i geschrieben - nun hat man auf eins davon verzichtet, und das ist dem Spiel ersichtlich gut bekommen!

Erfahrene Kobold-Dompteure wissen, daß jedes i im Titel für einen kecken Goblin steht, der die auftauchenden Rätsel stets nur mit Kollegenhilfe lösen kann. Ergo muß man jetzt bloß noch zwei der Brüder unter einen Hut bringen, während vorher eben drei unterschiedlich begabte Wichtel das Organisationstalent des Spielers auf die Probe stellten...

Auch bereitet uns diesmal nicht ein verhexter König Angoulafre Kummer, sondern sein entführter Stammhalter - ein geheimnisvolle, gefiederte Kreatur hat sich den Monarchen-Sproß gekrallt, und zwar im Auftrag des bösen Dämons Amoniak.

Das Prinzenrückführungs-Komitee besteht aus Fingus und Winkle, wobei Fingus der intellektuellere Typ ist, der den Leuten gleich ein Gespräch aufdrängt, nur weil er einen bestimmten Gegenstand will. Winkle ist dagegen ein Goblin der Tat, der sich das Gewünschte kurzerhand nimmt, aber dafür manchmal auch eins auf die Mütze kriegt. Die beiden müssen es nun mit ihren kombinierten Fähigkeiten schaffen, bis ins Amoniak' sche Schloß vorzudringen, in dem der angstschlotternde Prinz derzeit verwahrt wird.

Die einzelnen Stationen der Reise umfassen zwei bis fünf Screens; dabei muß man sich im Gegensatz zum Vorgänger nicht mehr streng Bild für Bild vorwärtsrätseln, sondern darf am jeweiligen Ort nach Belieben vor- und zurücklaufen (nicht immer, aber doch recht häufig). Dadurch kann es jetzt natürlich auch leicht passieren, daß man zurücklatschen muß, weil man zwei Bilder vorher einen wichtigen Gegenstand übersehen hat, aber das gehört nun mal zum Berufsrisiko eines Abenteurers.

In der Praxis wertet die Reisefreizügigkeit das Gameplay jedenfalls deutlich auf, die Beschränkung auf zwei Helden sorgt gleichzeitig für einen schnelleren Spielfluß. Man darf bzw. muß zwar auch den Prinzen nach seiner Befreiung steuern, doch so kurz vor der heimatlichen Ziellinie stört das wohl niemanden mehr.

Kommandiert werden die Knilche wieder mit der Maus, was neuerdings lobenswerterweise vollkommen problemlos klappt, egal ob man seine Helden eine Leiter hochklettern oder irgendwelche Gegenstände benutzen läßt. Zum Brüllen komisch ist die koboldmäßige Grafik, vor allem, was die Animationen betrifft - besonders dann, wenn die Kerlchen etwas falsch gemacht haben! Der einzige Nachteil dabei ist, daß für jedes Bild kurz nachgeladen werden muß, was aber so fix geht, daß es kaum stört.

Die abwechslungsreiche Begleitmusik paßt wunderbar zu de schrägen Optik, und daß es auch der Handlung selbst nicht an skurrilen Humor fehlt, ist quasi das Tüpfelchen auf dem i.

Tja, alles in allem wieder eine abenteuerliche Knobelei die sich wegen ihres völligen Gewaltverzichts auch hervorragend für jüngere Geistesheroen eignet. Oder anders gesagt: So ziemlich das genaue Gegenteil von den müden Softsex-Puzzeleien, die uns Designerin Muriel Tramis üblicherweise unterjubelt... (C. Borgmeier)

Gobliins 2 logo

Gobliins 2. Is that the sequel to Gobliiins, then? I'm sorry, I'm confused.

What with Trolls being reviewed a few pages back and goblins bursting forth from this spread, it seems that we are in danger here at AMIGA POWER of being inundated by mythical cute creatures that only come up to your knee. This time we are firmly back in the realms of fantasy, with wizards, kings and all that sort of stuff.

Gobliins 2 is, quite unsurprisingly, a sequel to Gobliiins, only this time there is only two of the cheeky wee scamps, instead of the three that were in the original. There is a gag in the two titles related to this, but I will leave it to you to work it out. You are put in control of Fingus and Winkle who, I imagine, are a fairly representative cross section of the state that goblin youth culture is up to nowadays.

Fingus is a polite and conscientious young lad and is the sort of mythical cave dweller that you could leave at home looking after the kids while you pop out to the movies, secure in the knowledge that he will entertain them with stories of far-off lands before popping them in bed. He is also round and pinky, so is far more pleasing to the eye than Winkle, his partner, who is purple, pointy and al altogether different kettle of fish.

Leave Winkle baby-sitting and the chances are you will return home to find the remains of a raucous party littering your living room, the toilet blocked with your best duvet, and your children missing with only HP sauce stains on their cots to indicate their bewildering fate. Winkle is rude and pushy, but as many telephone salesmen and foreign language students in bus queues could tell you, this frequently is the only way to get anything accomplished.

Funny enough to make you laugh out loud

Together, Fingus and Winkle form the crack assault team chosen by Modemus the wise man to rescue the king's son from the clutches of the evil demon Amoniak. Personally when confronted with a huge castle guarded by monsters and harbouring a demon I'd have probably gone for a team of ninjas, or maybe get a squadron of B-52 bombers to waste the entire area while I crossed my fingers and hoped that when the dust settle there would be substantially more of the king's son left than a small red stain on the rubble. These are the logical choices, but logic does not play much of a role in this game, and apart from that no one except me would want to play a game called 'Gobliins 2 - Ninja Death Force' or 'B-52 Strike Team Gobliins'.

Anyway, the king authorises this unlikely choice of rescuers and the game starts with the two troglodytic tearaways arriving in a village neighbouring the castle. Along with three other locations, the village forms the first section of the game, and contains all the clues and objects needed to get past an unfriendly giant and onwards to the castle.

Teamwork is all important, and to complete the puzzles you need to work out which task is suited to the temperament of each goblin. Being mouse-driven, all the moving around and picking up is easily accomplished with a click or two, and a hidden menu across the top of the screen contains options such as saving, skipping locations and Jokers, which give you a few clues when you are really stuck. There is a rather pointless 'object exchange' option which allows you to swap objects between the two goblins. Why not just have a joint inventory? It is a small smooth out of the gameplay, which, at certain points, really does need some smoothing.

A flawed diamond of a game

Much of Gobliins 2 is pure slapstick, and bits of it are funny enough to make you laugh out loud. It is real Tex Avery stuff, with dogs chomping down on fingers being followed by comical 'youch'es and the soundtrack adds greatly to the cartoon atmosphere. The characters speak in a sort of squeaky babble that I'd imagine is goblinspeak, and you get subtitles so you know what is going on. The introduction sequence where Modemus fills you in on the story is classic, with comical timing worthy of Wile E Coyote, and this high standard of graphics and humour is kept up throughout the game.

Here comes the down side. For a start there is the way that any object you can highlight on the screen is somehow relevant. I know that his is a much-used convention in games, but it means that within a minute of entering a new location you have got a rough idea of what to do. Let us see now, dog, giant, chicken, pot-hole, it will make some sense in a few seconds. But that is another thing, sometimes it does not make sense at all.

Take this (purely hypothetical) situation: you have got a stone, a bottle and a salami in your possession and need to beat up a chicken. What would you use? That is right, only the sausage works, even though either of the others would logically be good for a bit of poultry abuse.

The most annoying part of the game, though, is getting Winkle and Fingus to work together. Clicking on objects starts to be an inexact science in situations requiring perfect timing. For all my attempts I could not get Fingus to light a match before Winkle threw the bomb, and smacking the (hypothetical) chicken while Winkle held it took a few tries. Seeing as these interactive bits are the only elements of gameplay other than walking around, it is a shame that they are so fiddly, as they expose the mechanics of the game to the player when you should be immersed in all this cartoon fun.

These points are a shame really, for this deserves to be a truly great game, and I dare say that those of you into adventure games with a sense of humour will get a greater kick out of this than I did. The points I have raised may seem small, but it is still enough to stop me giving this a colossal score. Sorry Fingus. Sorry Winkle.

Gobliins 2 logo

Those impish stars of the first Gobliiins game are back with some more devilish puzzles to solve. Dan Slingsby investigates.

The slapstick humour of the original Gobliiins game made for an enjoyable, if undemanding, little puzzler. The cartoon-like animation and incidental humour worked a treat as you guided three small goblins over a series of 22 screens in search of a cure for their king's madness.

Unfortunately, Gobliins 2 is a rather dull and frustrating sequel. Whereas the first game's puzzles were fun to solve, the new game is virtually unplayable as the puzzles are completely unfathomable and nearly always illogical.

For those of you who like to have a reason for joining in such malarkey, here it is: The king's son has been kidnapped by the Demon King and two new goblins have been enlisted to ensure his safe return. Fingus is a serious sort of chap whereas Winkle's a bit of a joker and the comic interaction between the two is just as good as that of the first game.

There are seven worlds to travel through, each made up of three or four screens, and each is jam-packed with an assortment of brain-straining puzzles and clues to solve. Each character is moved about the screen with succession of mouse clicks on the required area and this is also how interaction between characters is carried out. There's also a new pull-down menu screen for swapping equipment and to access new screens.

Rather than give the two new characters special skills, such as object manipulation, strength or magic as in the first game, Fingus and Winkle are just as competent as each other. However, the twist here is that one of them will always be more adept at carrying out certain tasks than the other. Finding out which one is best suited for each task, though, is usually just down to trial and error.

Very few of the game's puzzles follow any sort of logic, and this can be incredibly frustrating. If I hadn't been given a player's guide to help me get onto some of the later levels, I'd probably still be tearing my hair out. There are a few on screen prompts that offer small clues about what to do, but they're just not enough. I mean, how was I to know that the chicken had to be over the head with a sausage and half-tickled to death before it would produce the egg that I needed for later on in the game?

With such pathetic logic, the game is reduced to a plodding exercise of trial and error. And they expect us to pay 30 quid for this? That's about the only laugh I get out of the entire game. Avoid.