The game with the hourglass figure

Ween logo

Digital Integration * £29.99 * 512k * Mouse * Out now

Have you noticed just how many adventure/RPG games there are knocking about nowadays? In case you haven't I'll tell you - blooming loads, that's how many, and a happy fact is that the quality seems to be getting better and better.

Actually, if you're anything like me then this isn't always good news. It's very easy to decide which product to buy when there's only a couple of decent choices on the market, but take a look through the rest of Gamer - there isn't a bad mark to be seen.

If I were a punter (to use a technical term) I'd probably spend hours dithering over which game looked that little bit better and then up buying two or three, thus scuppering my Friday night beer feast because all my money was in the till at the comp shop. Am I waffling? I think I probably am. Let's get down to business.

Coktel Vision - the team behind Ween - have a slightly chequered past if previous reviews are anything to go buy (and of course, Gamer reviews are the ONLY thing to go buy, as you all know).

Gobliiins was an excellent interactive puzzle-type thing, and we eagerly await the sequel which you should see next month. Their most recent offering Fascination, however, wasn't quite as well received, to say the least. Since I have seen very little of either, it was an open mind that I opened the box and inserted 'disk 1 into drive A'.

On doing this I was met almost immediately by a funny looking old man with a beard who, it transpired, was Okrham the master sorcerer, and great-grandfather of Ween, the character you play. Now it was pretty obvious that this guy was a bit agitated about something, as he began to explain.

Ten years ago Okrham was saddened by the chance in his understudy Kraal, an excellent sorcerer who had a big future ahead of him - Paul Daniels had been in touch and everything - but he began to realise that far greater power awaited him on the dark side of magic.

Eventually Okrham was forced to banish him from the kingdom of the Blue Rocks, which is where the action takes place, to whatever strange place is reserved for such spooky people. Milton Keynes probably.

Anyway, the boot's on the other foot now: Okrham is very old and his magic is fading. This wouldn't be a problem usually, and he'd be happy to gracefully retire: trouble is, he knows (and don't ask me how) that Kraal is planning to return to the Blue Rocks on the day of the eclipse to fulfill his ambition of ruling the kingdom from whence he was banished.

Since Okrham's powers are weak he will be unable to defend the Blue Rocks from Kraal's evil, so surprise surprise, it's up to you, as Ween, to do the decent thing. The eclipse is only three days away and the one hope you have of defeating Kraal lies in the power of the Revuss, or magical hourglass. According to some prophecy or other, all evil will be banished from the Blue Rocks only when the Revuss is furnished with three grains of sand.

To manage this you'll have to overcome three major obstacles, being rewarded with a single grain of sand for every success. Luckily and somewhat predictably, the Revuss lies deep in a hidden temple, the entrance to which can be found in Okrham's house. It's point-and-click, pick-'em-up-and-use-'em adventure, viewed from the eyes of Ween, or you. Several strange inhabitants of the Blue Rocks will show their faces from time to time to either help or hinder you.

Most helpful of these is Urm the fruitbat, who will perform certain tasks for you in return for a snack. Petroy is a friend of Okrham's and frequently communicates telepathically, deciphering ancient text and other such things you might expect of a wise old man with psychic powers.

There are certainly plenty of puzzles and obstacles in Ween - not all of them logical - and the screens are detailed enough, it's true. Unfortunately the colours are very monotonous and in certain instances you could be forgiven for believing that you were using a monochrome monitor.

Sound is in the form of a very forbidding, Omen-like tune that I think enhances the game by providing an atmosphere which the graphics lack. There appears to be a fair bit of depth to Ween, and despite my gripes I enjoyed playing it very much.

As I mentioned at the start, there are oodles of RPGs on the market, and although Ween is not a poor relation by any means, it doesn't exactly stand head and shoulders above the rest either.

If you're an adventurer with a cupboard full of RPGs then Ween is worth a try because it's a good adventure - but those looking for their first game in this genre could very well be disappointed by the way in which Ween is presented. Unfair perhaps, but a fact of life.