I love games with a bit of quirky charm, whether itís an interesting gameplay mechanic, intriguing story, or simply an off kilter art style. As long as a game does something different and is still playable, Iíll be a happy consumer. Iíve played my fair share over the years from odd puzzlers, to strange minigame collections, and screwy adventure games. One of the most unique games Iíve played is 1996ís The Neverhood.
In The Neverhood you play as Klaymen, a curious clay creature, who wakes up in a room, alone, with no idea who he is. While exploring his surrounding and trying to figure out his identity he comes across many strange creatures and puzzles and eventually finds himself tasked with retrieving the creator of The Neverhoodís crown from the evil Klogg. It's a fairly standard point and click adventure game that set itself apart from the rest with a unique look, great humor, and excellent music.
The Neverhood has a distinct claymation look.
Gumbyís got nothing on this:
Too be perfectly honest I donít have much experience with this game. I never played it as a kid and wasnít even aware of its existence for couple of years after its release. Even then I didnít really get a chance to play it until I was in college, one of my roommates had it on his computer and I would play it in my spare time. I never had a chance to finish it though, as we parted ways before I had the chance to get an image of the disk from him. Although I wasnít familiar with the original game I did spend a lot of time with its 1998 sequel Skullmonkeys on the Playstation.
Skull monkeys picks off right where The Neverhood ended, with Klogg being banished from The Neverhood. He lands on a planet inhabited by the dim-witted Skullmonkeys, becomes their leader, and hatches a plan to destroy the planet that rejected him. While the art style, music, and humor are all retained in the sequel it is radically different from its predecessor gameplay wise. Instead of a puzzle filled point and click adventure, Skullmonkeys decides to go with the action platformer route.
I might not look it, but trust me itís fun.
I used to go over to my friendís house every day after school in Junior High to watch him play through this game. The gameplay was solid, the cutscenes were funny, and the music as just fantastic. Sometimes weíd just let the game sit there while we listened to the great melodies and odd lyrics. Our favorite was the bonus room song, which to this day I feel is the best song to ever be featured in a game. The one thing this game has going against it is its rather high difficulty, and by ďrather high difficultyĒ I mean ďpunch-a-baby level of frustrationĒ, some of the later level can get really infuriating.
Hereís the aforementioned bonus room song:
Sorry for the poor footage, I had trouble finding anything decent:
I love these games, and as soon as I get some spare cash I intend on tracking down a copy of each and adding them to the collection of quirky games that make me smile. If you would like to try them for yourself you can get The Neverhood here, but itís missing some movies, music, and is just a generally buggy cd-rip. As for Skullmonkeys, youíre on your own, these no way I know of to acquire it legally for free. Iím sure you thugs and criminals will find a way if you really want it though, you rouges you.
Now, some of you might be asking yourselves why I wrote about a PSX game in a feature called C:\DOS\RUN. Well guess what, The Neverhood is technically a Windows game, so really this entire write-up is really just a gigantic lie. Next time I might write about one of those old Tiger LCD games. Whoís going to stop me, you? Iím too powerful to be stopped, the only way to put an end to my web of lies is to kill me, and I donít think youíve got the balls. Merry Christmas, you filthy animals.