Sunday, 24 November 2019

Ween : The Prophecy - Dragons and Cherries

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Once again, I apologize to our fellow readers for the very (very) long time between my posts and the short lengths of my gaming sessions but I was drowning in a huge quantity of work these last months. Hopefully, it should get better soon and I should be able to play and write more about adventure games… fingers crossed and thank you for your patience.

Last post I was saying that if this game managed to keep its momentum, it could be a very good one. Unfortunately, the next portion of the game was not as good as its introduction. The second grain of sand was quite easy to obtain, but confronted me to a tedious boss battle that took me way too much time to beat.

But first things first. Last time I managed to put my greedy hands on the first grain of sand (out of three) needed to complete my quest. Now it was time to confront the dragon in order to obtain the second one. Right after receiving OHKRAM’s congratulations on the first part of my quest, I find myself in front of a subterranean lake.

With that just beneath his house and with a little bit of money, OHKRAM could easily be a chiroptera-shaped vigilante.

When I try to cross the bridge, a big and ugly disembodied head blocks my path. It identifies itself as KRAAL’s messenger and drops a feather while appearing. I pick up the feather and look around the room. Three quartz crystals are shining on the floor near a seemingly-empty treasure chest.

Well now that I’ve left behind me a knife, a sword, a bowl of acid and poison berries, I agree that I have my doubts.

Using the feather on PETROY tells me that it’s a magical feather, used to make invisible things appear. The empty chest! Waving the feather at the chest reveals three items in it : a vial of venom, a vial of pollen, and a parchment telling me the instructions regarding the vials.

Testing my new Serpensortia potion.

The parchment also tells me that, when mixed, the potions could make other lifeforms appear. Unfortunately, when I mix the two ingredients in the cauldron and try to drop it onto a quartz, it doesn’t work. Using once again PETROY as a guide to everything magical in this game, I learn that the elixir I found into the room last time could be used to reverse the effects of other potions. I mix the elixir, the venom and the pollen into my cauldron and drop it on the monster… and it disappears. Yay!

Okay… errr… What?

Let’s rewind a bit. The venom makes a snake appear and the pollen makes a flower appear. So I guess it means the monster was part snake/part flower? Even if it made any sense, dropping a mixture of pollen and venom on a quartz should make a monster appear, no? I mean, it would have been a nice clue. But no, you have absolutely no means of solving this puzzle except by sheer luck. If I missed a clue somehow, feel free to correct me for CAPs.

Right after destroying the famous flowersnake monster, URM appears out of nowhere and tells me I don’t need my half-fish-amulet. I know it was supposed to help me breathe underwater if I was able to complete it, but I never found the other part. This tells me there is more than one way to solve puzzles in this game! I’m guessing that I missed the other part somewhere in the rooms I’ve already visited and that it would allow me to go underwater, hence bypassing the flowersnake puzzle entirely. I’ll continue for now but I’ll make sure to look into this alternative path once the game completed! (Please, fellow readers, if you want to give me clues about this, use ROT13 so I can look into that myself)

By my teeth, there’s no point in loading yourself with the million dollars you just found. Let me relieve you of this burden.

Going onto the bridge, I find myself in front of what can only be described as a sword-wielding imp guarding a patch of giant strawberries. This game keeps getting weirder every time.

Maybe this monster is part strawberry, part rock?

Looking around, I find a rock with characters etched in it. I can’t understand it but PETROY can. This is seemingly another riddle. “Beneath the dagger, the cauldron, the bow, the roast and then the game.” I think it will help in yet another game of pressing buttons in the correct order. I can pick up the sword from the hands of the imp (which, by its lack of reaction, seems to be only a statue) and use it to move the big rock into the hole next to it. I realize that this is the second time I do that in the first two hours of the game and ask myself if : A-the developers are already running out of ideas, and B-if the swords in this universe are only used as leverage to move things around.

Beware the fabled sword of Rockmover!

The two giant strawberries behind the imp statue were obviously going to turn URM’s head around and as soon as I clicked on them, our fruit-eating friend just appeared out of the blue and eat them. And then it… errr… vomited a pile of gold coins.

And I use the word vomit because I don’t want to imagine the alternative.

Clicking on the other holes make some kind of insect appear and disappear. URM tells me this is an Orivor, a short-sighted gold-eating insect. I plug the other hole with my cauldron and click on the last remaining hole. The orivor exits and ask for something to eat.

And he is every bit as ugly as a lot of monsters in the area.

Helping the little buddy to the huge pile of gold URM… errr… dropped on the bridge, the Orivor devours it and let me access to the rest of the area. I get back my cauldron (after a warning from the game that I shouldn’t leave my cauldron there, once again confirming the reassuring fact that this game seems to be devoid of dead-end scenarios) and proceed. OPALE appears to me once again and tell me to hurry because KRAAL wants to force her to marry him.

I will make sure to barge into the wedding with a ghost-zapping root-beer bottle.

After this intervention, I arrive in front of a gate guarded by a snake, which I had seen earlier into a vision. URM arrives once again to insist on the fact that I missed an alternative path into the game.

Oh come on you can’t make it even more obvious?

Using the torch on the snake doesn’t seem to scare it, but using the venom potion on it changes it into a quartz! The dangerous snake gone, I’m given free access over the rest of the screen. I pick up the torch and burn the thorns with it, opening the gate. However, a swarm of wasps immediately invade the place where the thorns were. I pick up a tiara on the ground and am told this is “one of the sacred jewels”. From what PETROY explained to me earlier, the sacred jewels can change the shape of my copper ball. I use the ring on my cauldron to turn it back into a copper ball and using the tiara on it changes it into a… copper pipe. Yay! You have a magic artefact that can change into different shapes and use it to make different kitchen appliances. Neat work OHKRAM. What’s next? A copper spoon?

Most boring magic ever.

The donut-shaped white thingy in the upper left corner of the screen appears to be a (timely) wasp-trap and I can reach it using my newly-shaped copper pipe. Using the wasp trap on the wasps trap them (you didn’t see that one coming, did you?).

Oh my… this wasp trap looks suspiciously like… blu-tack! NOooOOOooO!

I can now go through the gate in order to meet the famous dragon! OHKRAM appears to me to explain that the dragon is a shapeshifting one that can assume a hundred different appearances (including the ultimate weapon which is the shape of a dragon, which gets me asking why it bothers changing shapes at all in the first place). I have at my disposal three magic parchments in order to change shape myself, and the dragon only needs to be slightly stronger than his adversary to stop him from getting past. I sense a boss battle/puzzle coming up!

And I spent waaaaay too much time on this screen to my taste.

So. What do we have here. You can choose one of the three scrolls on the left of the screen to change your shape into something else. You name it : lions, bears, elephants, wolves. The whole circus is in town. Despite the fact that the dragon never, ever attacks, it always choose a more powerful form than you (debatable in some cases. For example : if you turn into a lion, it turns into an elephant, and if you turn into a wolf, it turns into a buffalo, I’m pretty sure these two battles could hold some kind of suspense).

I like the haughty attitude of the lion. He doesn’t really care about the battle.

Despite the fact that I spent way too much time on this screen, I’m still unsure of what each scroll does. I think there are classed by size because the first scroll only turn you into a lion or a buffalo, while the last one only turn you into smaller and smaller animals, but there is no real order here and a lot of it seems random. I tried many combinations. My first guess was that I had to turn the dragon into an elephant then turn myself into a mouse or an ant by selecting the smaller scroll but it doesn’t work. It also doesn’t help that the music is atrocious and repetitive during this segment.

My favorite battle : house cat versus beagle.

After quite some time, I realise that I can turn the dragon into a wasp! And what do I have on me? A wasp trap! I don’t know why it took me so long to understand that I could use my regular inventory items in order to solve this battle. Maybe the alternative interface with the scrolls made me think that it was some kind of mini game only? Whatever it was, I now had a trapped wasp in front of me.

Oh yeah. And I’m a worm too.

Once the wasp is trapped, though, nothing much happens except I can’t change shape anymore. I search the screen and find some cherries on the ground next to the tree! URM! I call URM using the flute (as a worm. I’d love to see an animation of the worm playing the flute), give him the cherries and order him to carry the wasp trap far from here. And the dragon is vanquished! The twins make another of their silly victory dance.

By the way, are the two pillars on the side my feet? Are they so small? How do they manage to carry my stuff? Can they change their height at will? This mystery must be solved.

OHKRAM appears once again and tells me I won my second grain of sand. Score! I’m then teleported to another part of the labyrinth in front of three doors. The Borgol is also back and tells me that KRAAL has casted a spell on the guardian of the REVUSS and that I need the fragrance of some flowers to give her her real shape back.

The Guardian of the REVUSS sounds like it could be a Doctor Who episode title.

And there we stop for today. The third grain of sand awaits behind what appears to be a maze. Join us next week to help the Guardian of the REVUSS and look into the real size of UKI and ORBI!

Session time : 45 minutes
Total time : 1 hour 45 minutes
Inventory : Copper Ball, Flute, Ring, Tablet, Venom, Pollen, Tiara, 2 Grains of Sand
Companions : PETROY, UKI, ORBI, URM


  1. And I use the word vomit because I don’t want to imagine the alternative
    Yes, that's what I imagined... Urm eats fruits and ...produces... gold.

    For the monster If I'm not mistaken you missed an hint from Petroy; if you make him examine the mixture of pollen and venom he says that it is used to make living things bigger (or something similar). So the elixir just reverses that effect, by making the monster disappear.

    I too spent a lot of time in the dragon fight screen, but for another reason completely. I solved the wasp transformation and wasp trap puzzle very easily, but then I didn't understand what the game wanted me to do after that. Since I was stuck as a worm, I didn't think about playing the flute (which is frankly ridicolous) and lost lots of time incapable of doing anything.

    1. I missed this hint, it probably would have made the whole thing clearer to me. As for the dragon fight screen, there are a lot of things not making real sense in this part, probably because it lacks the "you don't accomplish anything" prompt when you randomly click somewhere like it appears in the rest of the game, leading you to believe you're in a mini game where you don't need your inventory.

  2. About the alternative route:
    Nf lbh vzntvarq lbh unir gb hfr gur svfu fgnghr gb oerngur haqrejngre.
    1) va gur ynxr fperra (gur bar jvgu gur zbafgre), gurer fubhyq or n cngpu bs oreevrf.
    2) trg gur oreevrf naq fhzzba Hez; tvivat uvz gur oreevrf jvyy znxr uvz ...qebc... fbzr tbyq
    3) hfr gur tbyq ba gur unys-svfu fgnghrggr naq vg jvyy zntvpnyyl orpbzr jubyr ntnva (juvpu vf senaxyl evqvpbybhf, ohg abg nf evqvpbybhf nf znal bgure guvatf va gur tnzr)
    4) hfr gur svfu fgnghrggr ba gur ynxr naq - cerfgb! - nabgure jnl sbe gur vfynaq grzcyr

    There is also another alternative route (which is also extremely easy to spot) further along in the game. I haven't found any other while playing. (Yes, I finally finished the game, but the final part was a struggle - I won't say anything else because spoilers).

    1. "There is also another alternative route" I mean, there is another part of the game where you can use two different routes to advance in the game

  3. The things you use pollen on don't really have to be part plant for it to work on it if its part of a different potion, so to speak. The way you're writing it is confusing the hell out of me and I'm already familiar with how all these things are supposed to work in-universe. The mix of all three ingredients is supposed to be a dispel potion.

    I think the scrolls have some sort of logic, since IIRC, they go back and forth between two creatures if you just keep using on one of them. I could be misremembering since its been right after the last entry since I've played this part, and even as a big fan of this game I don't really care for this puzzle. The end is a clever touch though. Pretty amazing that a worm can lift up a wasp trap.

    Presumably the two feet in the cutscene are from a nearby statue. One you never see. If you recall, the duo are shown to be roughly the same size as Ween in the chasm crossing cutscene. Then again, Ohkram is supposed to be a gnome and is close to your size as well.

    "Yay! You have a magic artefact that can change into different shapes and use it to make different kitchen appliances. Neat work OHKRAM. What’s next? A copper spoon?"

    No, don't worry, you're going to love the other familiar motif involved with the final shape.

    1. Yeah it's confusing because it confused the hell out of me too. The potion puzzle is not very clear as it lacks more obvious hints IMHO. As for the size of the duo, I think they just change heights whenever they feel like it. Considering they don't appear as "allies" as PETROY does, my guess is that they just get smaller and bigger when they want. Like an uglier version of Ant-Man.

    2. "The mix of all three ingredients is supposed to be a dispel potion"

      Nera'g lbh gnyxvat nobhg fbzrguvat gung pbzrf yngre? V.r. gur gehssyr, juvpu vf gur guveq cbffvoyr cbgvba vaterqvrag jvgu irabz naq cbyyra?

    3. No, its only confusing in how you explained it, because you got on the track that venom=snake and pollen=flower thus venom+pollen=flower snake. Rather than ingredients that do something separately do something different together. Its like if you use fire on something it'll burn and water on something it'll get wet, but if you combine the two it won't cause something to be burnt wet.
      If they get bigger and smaller when they want, then a lot of puzzles could have been solved by using them, so I think somewhere they made an art mistake. Either they used the wrong background or they didn't show what was supposed to be a statue at the wrong time. Or it could just be weird perspective. Or I'm thinking of it all wrong and they shrunk with Ween during the duel and hadn't come back to the proper size yet.

    4. Vetinari:

      Jryy, erirefvat VF n xvaq bs qvfcryyvat. Erirefvat orvat n fcrpvsvp qvfcry jurernf gur bgure vf gur trareny xvaq. Be nz V trggvat rira zber pbashfrq va zl urnq fvapr vg unf orra n yvggyr juvyr fvapr V ynfg qvq guvf cneg?

    5. Morpheus:
      Nu, jvgu "guveq vaterqvrag" lbh zrnag gur ryvkve! Abj vg znxrf frafr. V npghnyyl qvqa'g pbafvqre gur ryvkve n "gehr" vaterqvrag fvapr vg whfg vairegf gur rssrpg bs gur bgure cbgvba.

  4. I'd much prefer you'd turn any pixel smoothening filters off. Sorry if I'm being too blunt, but A) they ruin pixel art and make the screenshots look terrible, and B) they have no place in a blog where games are rated by their graphics, because they alter them.

    1. Sorry but I didn't realise I had any filter on. The graphics seemed to look like this naturally so it didn't shock me. Maybe it's part of Boxer which I'm using to play. I'll look into it.

  5. "Orivor" is a pretty sensible name for such a creature, since or is French for gold, plus "vor" (-vore, like herbivore).

  6. The lion actually looks like he ate a wasp, similar to certain pictures floating around the internet of various pets that have done the same.

    As for the transformation into the ultimate weapon, it is a well known fact that no-one ever transforms directly into their ultimate form. You first transform into a form powerful enough for the hero to ALMOST beat, then transform into a more powerful form that he can ALMOST beat, repeat until you reach the ultimate power level, at which stage the hero will discover a power/weapon/artifact/training regime that allows him to become the REAL ultimate weapon and defeat him. But only until the next season where they find out the previous "ultimate" weapon/form is tiny compared to the new threat. Also known as the Power-Rangers/Dragonball Z paradigm.

    1. Or practically any RPG main villain ever.

  7. Can anyone tell me where are the exact points of the game where you can find an alternative route? I have finished the game twice but I wasn't aware of this.

    1. Gur svefg bar vf ng gur fgneg bs guvf ragel. Gur nern jvgu gur ynxr. Gur hfr bs gur ryvkve gnxrf lbh npebff gur oevqtr, gur hfr bs gur tbyq fgnghr gnxrf lbh haqrejngre.
      Gur frpbaq vaibyirf gjb qbbef nsgre gur byq zna ba gur vfynaq. Lbh pna'g zvff guvf bar.