Ween: The Prophecy

Developer/Publisher:  Coktel Vision
Year Released:  1993

Review by Gordon Aplin (1995)
ween.jpgI first came across a reference to this game a few years ago now, in a scathing review that ended with the warning 'this game is boring, it doesn't have any fighting', or words to that effect. On the strength of that I rushed out and bought it.

Ween: The Prophecy is still one of the best adventure games around despite, or more to the point perhaps, because of its complete lack of combat.

The story opens at the time of the prophecy when your grandfather's magical powers are failing and the evil Kraal is set to make a return. It falls to you, Ween, to complete three quests and to be rewarded with three grains of sand. These you must place into the Revuss - a magical hourglass - and thus will the prophecy be fulfilled and Kraal, your powerful enemy, be vanquished. But many, many tasks await you until that moment ... and you only have three days.

Puzzle-packed screens
Some people may not like this game because movement is restricted to just a few screens at a time until you have solved a particular puzzle - and this may involve a series of convoluted actions. Then, and only then, are you able to move on to the next screen. So if you can't solve it you are going to be very frustrated until you do. But, and it should be emphasised, there are often more things to do and more objects to manipulate in one Ween screen than you find in ten screens of many other games where you have complete liberty to wander around in search of things to try.

The obstacles to progress are sometimes quite complex due to the fact that certain items can be used in different ways. For example, early on in the game you get a copper ball that can be converted into a cauldron at the touch of a ring. Later on you will find other objects that will allow you to convert your copper ball into a sword or a pipe. Obviously each of these items have different uses and it is up to you to decide how best to use them. Nor does the complexity end there. During the game you will come across some items that can be combined in your cauldron to create new substances and each of these may be used on different objects to produce the desired effect.

Branching pathways
In two places the game branches allowing you to progress by alternate paths that involve solving different obstacles. To get maximum enjoyment and ensure that you don't miss a screen I would advise you to save your game at these points. The second path is fairly obvious when you get to choose a left or right door. However, the first sort of creeps up on you early in the game when you must get past or around a monster blocking your way. If you take the water route you will miss the bridge puzzle and if you succeed in overcoming the monster you will miss the water puzzle. Either path leads you to the next screen.

You find help along the way in the form of a bat with a passion for strawberries, but any fruit will do at a pinch. And you have a link to Petroy, your grandfather's faithful friend, who can sometimes help you with a clue to a riddle. You are also accompanied by two characters who serve no useful purpose other than to provide somewhat dubious comic relief and a further puzzle when they manage to lose your precious three grains of sand just when the end seems in sight.

All in all, Ween is a thoroughly absorbing and challenging game, but perhaps not one for the easily frustrated. rating:  

Copyright © Gordon Aplin 1995. All rights reserved.

System requirements: 286 or higher. (Floppy disks).