Sunday 15 December 2019

Gobliins 2 - Making an Omelette

By Ilmari

I am happy to tell that so far Gobliins 2 has been mostly a positive experience. Lot of my positive feeling is due to an improved interface, so let’s begin with that immediately.

The game interface has clear similarities to that of Ween: The Prophecy, which is somewhat of a novelty for Coktel Vision, since I can’t recollect them ever having two games with similar interfaces. It is quite easy to work with, compared to interfaces in many of the earlier games of the company, so I don’t really wonder why they decided to use it in several games. Take a cursor over a thing, you see its description. Left-click and you use it - or if it is one of the characters, change it as the active character - right-click opens the inventory and at the top of the screen you’ll find the menu. Within menu you can save and load (the diskette), access game’s hint system (the joker), write down notes (piece of paper), go to your inventory (backpack), change items between the characters, move to another screen (sign post) and set up things like music (the screw).

Compared to the first game, Gobliins 2 has got rid of the ridiculous HP line, and in fact, goblins are now, the manual says, incapable of dying. This is a clear improvement in a game where a lot of the charm lies in experimentation and finding out what silly things the producers have hidden in the game. Furthermore, while in the first game only one goblin could hold and use items - and inventory had room for only one item - now both goblins can take and use items. Inventory is mostly shared by both goblins, except sometimes one goblin has an item that the other doesn’t and you have to press the change items -button on the menu to switch it between them (I really don’t understand when an item is in the possession of only one goblin, but it seems to have something to do with which one has recently handled the item). Finally, the goblins are not limited to completing one screen at the time, but they can move around in several.

I began the game from a little village adjoining the castle where the evil demon was supposed to live. According to manual, with the exception of few privileged individuals, all the villagers were dying of starvation and thirst.

No wonder they don’t want their milk bottle taken

I don’t know whether the producers did it on purpose, but the first screen felt almost like a short tutorial, because it introduced many of the features of the gameplay. Just to name few:
  • Differing behaviour of protagonists: The two PCs, Fingus and Winkle, are meant to have different personalities, Fingus being very proper and strict (he even sounds like Mickey Mouse on steroids) and Winkle being the silly clown. I could see their difference even in simple interactions on the screen - Winkle would just eat one of the yellow flowers, but Fingus would actually pick it up.
  • Placing of the protagonists is important: If I put one of the gobliins on a platform on the upper left corner of the screen and pushed the nearby button with the other goblin, the first one would fly to the roof of the cottage.

I still couldn’t get the sausage

That round thing is flattened Winkle
  • You’ll need to synchronise your gobliins: When I tried to pick the milk bottle with one character, the other one would advise that I should at first distract the old timers guarding it. The simple solution was to try and take the sausage with the other goblin. While the cottage owner whacked the poor goblin, the old timers laughed and the other goblin had a chance to snatch the milk.
I could access two other rooms called fountain and giant (by the way, I am mostly using the movement icon from the menu, since it is way easier than finding the hotspot to move to another screen). I started by going to the giant, but since narratively the other choice makes more sense, let’s begin from the fountain.

The fountain was situated on the yard of Tazaar, a mage I was supposed to meet. Problem was that the old man didn’t want to let us in. I couldn’t get to the roof, cellar door was locked and even the frog wasn’t of help.

That’s what you get when you try to tickle a frog

The key to the solution was the statue. Pushing the statue released a gush of water, which the other goblin could then catch in the milk bottle.

Considering what part of the statue Fingus is pushing, this scene is a bit disturbing

Winkle could then spew water on the frog that escaped, leaving behind the rock it had been sitting on (this was an example of a puzzle only Winkle could solve, because Fingus couldn’t do such nasty things to others). Throwing the stone onto the contraption on the roof revealed a ladder I could climb up. After a few false leads… the window…

...I ordered one of the goblins to enter the chimney. He couldn’t get in there, but luckily the wizard was impressed by our persistence and let us in.


Wizard Tazaar was a bit of a disappointment, since he really had nothing to tell beyond things I already knew from the manual - the demon Amoniak, who had captured the prince, had also stolen a nearby castle from its rightful owner. Luckily, wizard’s cottage at least had useful stuff I could take with me.

One thing was hidden inside the strange rug on the wizard’s floor. When Winkle pulled its tail, it was revealed to be still alive and opened its mouth. Within the mouth there were matches that Fingus had to quickly grab.

With the matches and the bottle full of water I could turn the kettle on. Steam coming out of the kettle loosened the diploma, and behind it I found a spring key that could be used to wind the cuckoo clock. The cuckoo came out, with a large key in its mouth. I managed to get the key by throwing the cuckoo with the stone. The key opened the cellar on Tazaard’s yard, and behind it I found some wine.

Before going to the room with the giant, let's do a quick return to the starting room. At one point I noticed I could give some water to the yellow flowers, which grew somewhat taller because of it.  When I gave one grown flower to the sausage owner, he sniffed the flower and then fell asleep. With him out of the way, I could pick up his sausage.

Getting finally to the room with the giant, there were two obstacles on my way: the angry dog and the sleeping giant (naturally). There was also a chicken in the room, and it took me quite a while to find out what to do with it. Winkle could pick up the chicken and hold it for a while, and it was pretty obvious Fingus should now do something to it. Ultimately I just tried every object I had, and finally Fingus hit the chicken with the sausage, making it lay an egg  (the chicken, that is, not the sausage).

Why did Winkle have to pick up the chicken? Because Fingus couldn’t handle it

The screen also had a few holes, the idea of which appeared to be that when a goblin put his hand in one hole, it would come out of another (and to make this more complicated, it would depend on goblin, where the hand would come out).

Like this

Or like this

Fingus could use this trick to fool the dog with sausage, while Winkle could sneak past it. Winkle could then go through another hole and at the time remove one tile from the wall, allowing Fingus also to avoid the dog.

Now it was just a matter of moving past the sleeping giant. Having faced another puzzle where I had to awaken someone in the first game, I had a pretty good idea what to do. Simply put, I had to use some kitchen utensils for just this purpose. Using first matches on a pile of wood and then egg on the campfire, the odours of the omelette found their way to the giant’s nose. Having awakened the giant, it was just a matter of giving him some sausage and wine to consume.

After passing the giant, the goblins were closing in on the castle where the prince was held as a prisoner, which seems like a good place to stop. So far the game has been a positive experience, I hope this will continue.

Inventory: stone, bottle, matches

Session time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours


  1. Replaying this game now again, I stumbled a lot with the first puzzle of the game, the get milk from the old men.

    It's ridicously complex, it involves both characters doing stuff, and a small timed event to grab it. Apart from that, I think these 4 initial screens are very solid

    1. Hmmm, I found that puzzle among the easiest (especially as the characters say that you need to distract the old men somehow).

  2. I have to say, either SCUMMVM is performing some dark, dark magic or the sound quality on the voices are simply marvelous. This is legitimately impressive stuff for '92.
    If you knock on the wizard's door then leave, when you return he'll still be out there.
    The second I touched the chicken, a thought came over me. Why are there so little in the ways of slapstick adventure games? Maybe its just because I find the wacky humor of Lucasarts style games bland, but what's with that?
    The duo spelling out what you have to do in order to do the bottle puzzle is a wise decision. I think I wouldn't figure it out without resorting to a walkthrough otherwise. Because in I'm going to naturally assume that the game isn't going to let me do that without it being spelled out for me.
    I'd also say this game has a serious problem with knowing what the puzzle is. I've spent far more time on the opening area of this game, and I'm going to cite not being able to figure out that I'm supposed to water the flowers as part of the reason. I looked up some hints on the game at this point and as soon as I saw the flower was a puzzle, I knew it was a puzzle.
    The puzzle with the rug in the wizard's house is confusing, if there's even a puzzle there at all. Winkle kept closing the rug's mouth on Fingus and laughing.
    This game doesn't play fair at all. I tried everything on the dog, so, thinking I missed something, I looked back at the hints, not like I'm going to lose any more points about it at this point. See, whenever I used the sausage on the hole in front of the dog I always tried right-clicking, either during the animation, when nothing happened, or before, when it didn't put the sausage in. I feel like having to left click screws with some of the previously established rules.
    Judging by our different reactions to these things, I'm guessing some bugs were introduced in the CD version.
    Also, look at those teeth. The roosters, the frogs. So many things have teeth that they shouldn't have.

    1. I guess it could be that I am, for now, enjoying how much better the game feels compared to its predecessor that I have mostly been able to ignore the possible problems.

      I do admit that a bit too much of the puzzles rely on just trying everything on everything to solve them (then again, in this game I like testing all the weird combinations). Flower is one thing, since there's no indication it would make anyone sleep. The puzzle with the chicken is also a bit of a leap of logic.

      Another problem is that with puzzles requiring synchronization of the gobliins, there is often very little time for the second goblin's action, but this problem hasn't yet been too much of an obstacle.

    2. Oh, yeah, don't get me wrong, I do enjoy this game now that I'm back in the proper mindset of "everything you can interact with is important". By the Flower, I mean I didn't know I was supposed to water it, since I just assumed there was nothing to it since neither character did anything to them.
      I also don't mind testing everything on everything, now that figuring things out doesn't hurt you.

      Try putting the goblin you want to do the first action start from a little distance away, then switch to the other one while he's moving on his target. Works...most of the time, as I mentioned.

    3. I see what you mean about the teeth, they are VERY pertinent. It fits well with the game's cartoon style though, it would be right at home in s Looney Tunes show.

    4. Yeah everything has teeth in these games. I really love the graphics in gobliiiiiins (all three of them), Ween not as much weirdly.

    5. "Why are there so little in the ways of slapstick adventure games?" - I would say because good pixel animators are rare, and Gobliins appears to have a WAY higher amount of animation cycles per room than e.g. any LucasArts game. It is much easier to find or employ background artists or composers.

    6. I agree that, graphically, Gobliins is very close in style to Ween, however the fact that it's going for a comedy setting instead of a (vaguely) realistic one makes the graphics more enjoyable. Ween is also incoherent in its graphical quality, mixing great looking stuff with ugly ones.

      The teeth are in both games, though.

    7. Gotta have teeth!