Before we start I should advise all of you who are expecting any sad attempts at a joke about a game called Ween that you're going to be disappointed. Ween is a perfectly good title and wouldn't dream of making any jokes. It is one of those French RPG thingies, I'm looking forward to this one. Let's see, what does it say here? One day... evil omens... anger of the heavens... nasty wizard... good wizard... needs help. What, no women with no clothes on? What's with all this 'good wizard needs help against bad wizard' stuff? There can't even be much violence with that plot. Oh never mind let's see what the game's like anyway.
Playing these French adventures for the first time is a very refreshing change. They've obviously put a tot of thought into how to make these games playable. Gone are the endless icons or the ridiculous text entry systems that never understood what you were trying to say. Now with two clicks of a mouse button you can go from examining a rat close up to stuffing a drug down its throat or slaying a dragon. I wish more companies would take a good took at this control system to see how it should be done. Bravo Coktel.
So, what about the game itself. As you would expect from looking at Coktel's other games (Fascination for one) it's a point and click adventure. You are Ween (although you only actually see him once) and you have to roam around the various locations solving deviously tricky puzzles. Well actually the puzzles range from blindingly obvious to slap on the forehead "Why didn't I think of that?" type problems.
SO HOW DOES IT WORK LES?
The way the system works means that anything that's of any use to you will be shown on screen when you move the mouse over it. This is fine but it does tend to have one drawback whenever you first enter a screen all you have to do is just swing the mouse over everything, see what's highlighted and you get the general idea of what you have to do to complete that particular puzzle. In Coktel's earlier games this detracted from the gameplay and made the games too easy. Luckily that particular problem stops here because some of the puzzles in Ween take a hell of a tot of working out. However with pure, ice cold logical brain power (and the help of the guy upstairs who's played the game before) I managed to get through the worst of it.
The graphics are a real mixture of styles. Some of the outside scenes are done in a lovely sepia style while the interiors tend to use more purples than anything. This may sound rather odd but it does create some strange lightning effects which are really atmospheric, especially if you're playing the game late at night with the lights down low and some soft music coming from your stereo. Sound effects in this type of game are never up to much anyway. There's very little animation to speak of, bats flying overhead and a moving rat. What there is quite well done but doesn't really add anything to the game. That said, touches such as this do tend give you quite a start.
These point and click adventures are usually fun to play because they're easy to get to grips with. Ween however is a lot of fun to play and the feeling of satisfaction when you solve a particularly tricky puzzle is immense. Many's the time I've been seen walking around the office with a smug grin on my face after wrestling with a nasty problem for hours on end. You'll have to face up to those problems as well because you can't progress until each problem has been well and truly solved. None of this "Oh I'll do that bit later" stuff here, thank you very much.
There are only a couple of places where you're likely to get well and truly stuck, but even there you can work it out eventually -it's just a case of trying everything you have in every possible combination, ooops, was that a due? Nah, not really. Ween isn't one of the biggest adventures I've played. In fact when you know what you have to do you can breeze through it fairly quickly. I'd say for the experienced adventurer -the kind that eats Monkey Island games for breakfast - this may be just a smidgen too easy. For the novice to beginner, however, it will be a real battle of wills as you go head to head with your Amiga just to prove who is the smartest. Several times I found myself cursing the machine and swearing that no way would this damn game get the better of me. It was normally at these times that I would find out that the answer had been staring me in the face all along.
To me these adventures are an ideal way of spending a few afternoons when you have nothing better to do. They're not overly expensive when you compare them to some of the others on the market and they can be a tot more user-friendly. I can see Fascination appealing to more people because of its more up to date plot but I think Ween is more of a challenge and therefore a better game. It's the classic example of just how a good adventure should be: challenging but solvable.
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