As the brilliantly crafted and hilarious opening sequence shows, the goblin king has gone barking mad over dinner, with a performance that would make king Leopold (the insane) of Bavaria look like a chartered accountant (notoriously sane people accountants). Three adventurers - a magician, a warrior and a technician, (Ignatius, Asgard and Oups) are sent to find a cure for this strange and undignified malady.
When kings become cabbages the person to see is definitely a magician. Niak fits the bill rather neatly. Niak lives with a vicious, bird loving dog, in a bijou thatched residence where he cultivates carnivorous plants and performs the usual wizardly things you'd expect. You'll need a diamond to persuade him to do something about the problem with the king, and you'll have to run a few errands in the underworld, but the plot thickens as Niak turns out to have more than the usual number of tricks up his sleeves. Each of the three characters has a special manoeuvre. Ignatius the magician casts spells, these generally effect a change in an item, creature or object, sometimes not quite the change desired. Asgard the warrior hits things and climbs ropes; something of a specialist. Oups (an apology for a name if ever there was one!) picks things up and uses them. Most of the stages of the game require the skills of all three members of the party, some actually require the skills of all three in sequence. Constitutionally speaking, these three chaps are fairly frail - just about anything will reduce their meagre energy supply, including falls, blows, incorrect use of objects and shocks magical or emotional (seeing something upsetting!). This is a shame, because each stage is designed to test the initiative and intelligence of the player; it is necessary to experiment. Experimentation generally leads to the discovery of problems (things go badly wrong), if you instruct a goblin to do something silly, expect a fair bit of abuse from the other two, catastrophes look extremely funny, but rather painful as well. Certain mishaps can be outright lethal. Once killed out of a screen the game offers the options of starting from scratch, back at the beginning of the game, playing the stage again, or loading an intermediate stage from code words. Keep a notebook by the computer to write these codes down. Goblins celebrate the successful completion of a task with displays of acrobatics, they offer a series of gallic shrugs on the failure of a screen. The game exhibits a weird and wacky sense of humour which can be surreal to the point of disturbing: anyone who is unsure or nervous about the nature of everyday reality should take along someone who is more stable and relaxed in the presence of the odd. For examples of the really crazy end of the imaginative side of this game observe i). How the plants behave ii). The behaviour of the skeleton iii). What happens to the rat (parental discretion advised!). Craziness aside, the amount of thought that's gone into the making of Gobliiins (too many i's!) is very much apparent and very impressive, each situation is a puzzle in its own right - sometimes two or three puzzles. No solutions are immediately obvious, throw in a liberal supply of red herrings and you have a game that will keep you going for ages. The graphics are of secondary importance to the overall feel of the thing, relying fairly heavily on neutral colours, but the animation and style are very well observed.
Sound is mainly devoted to a series of impressive samples (mainly screams!). While the nature of puzzle games like this one is that once you've done it, you don't need to do it again, this game is large - and difficult enough to last a fair length of time. Potty or just daft in the head. Gobliiins has some- thing to faze everyone. It comes on like a nutter at the bus stop and won't let up until it has explained to you it's theory about radioactive rings around the moon being responsible for inaccuracies in the opinion polls during the last election and shown you a photograph of a water buffalo which it claims to have lost somewhere in Kings cross station - metaphorically speaking of course...
Adventure game, with an original sense of humour. Nice graphics, sounds and music. The first episode of the trilogy on Amiga.
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