Written by Morpheus Kitami
In the time since I lasted talked about the game, I've been looking into the titular duo. They are real, they're just...hard to find information in English on. That surprised me, considering how many people are supposed to be obsessed with Korea. Even if its just South Korea, does the extent of our desire to deal with this country's culture just live and die with K-pop and TV? I know a lot of weebs are shallow, but there are some interested in the history of the country.
Both Oseung and Haneum are pen names, but because of the weird way Korean seems to be transliterated, what their names are in English varies. Both have the last name Yi, but Oseung's real name is Hangbok while Haneum's is Tokhyong. Tok Hyong? Hang Bok? Your guess is as good as mine. A book I found, which barely mentioned the poor guys, says Tokhyong went to Ming China during an invasion by Japan to ask for help and was a sijo poet. Hangbok was the 16th century version of a prime minister and wrote the tale of Yu Yon. I don't know who Yu Yon is and at this point I am terrified to ask.
I note that at several times they're described as friends rather than brothers, something that carried on into adulthood. That's all I got I'm afraid.
This is basically the best choice of video. It seems like the screens I've seen so far tend to be of events people playing this in their native land would roughly know. Sort of akin to making a Gobliiins knockoff of King Arthur or Robin Hood. Something with lots of little events that can obviously be turned into short one screen puzzles.
|I'm feeling that too, guy|
Back to less stressful subjects, actually playing the game. Maybe...that is pretty hideous. We've just...I mean, there's nothing technically wrong with it, but that's a really ugly background. Somehow despite having one color, it clashes with itself. Pixels look like they were placed down by an idiot who kept mixing up art assets in a way strategically makes everything look mismatched. And why is there a floating hairball in the back?
Now, you, being an intelligent person who thinks things that stand out are what one's attention should be drawn to and focus on, will no doubt say that the thing in the middle is what should be focused on. Maybe, that's what I thought straight off too, but neither goblin...er...prime minister* can do anything. And let's be honest, an intelligent person would not be involved in the process of a stage that looks like this.
*I know that Haneum/Tokhyung/Tok Hyung probably isn't a prime minister, but it's funnier this way. At least I like it, and it's the only joy I'm getting in this entry.
What I'm missing is that dreaded cultural context, but I think in this case it's something I could have very well gotten if this screen didn't look like that. What you're supposed to do is have wide prime minister climb up on the cloud and blow the hairball out of the way. This causes the demon/guardian of heaven there to cry and disappear. This gets you the...golden mace he has, which you can then use to hit one of the clouds to give another of the door knocker things, but if you use it at this point, you restart the screen. No, what you have to do is hit the thing with the mace and then you get two door knockers, to use on the door.
A short timing puzzle later, and the door gets a bunch of random pixels on it to show that we can enter it and we advance to the next stage.
Like the whole cloud deal would be easy to spot if, say, the clouds you could use were a different color than everything else.
|I have never seen a brontosaurus as pissed as that one looks like|
Now we're in dinosaur land. Why? Uh...well if the egg, the angry dinosaur and the golden mace are any indication, we're either about to destroy this dinosaur's egg or clone this dinosaur's egg. I don't know what to expect. Also, while the music track that plays during this section is okay, it's distracting. I was going to say aggressive, but it's not exactly that. It feels like a combo of fast and melancholic that just doesn't work right now.
It takes me a while to figure it out, but if I try walking to that upper left cliff while wide prime minister has the golden mace, he'll activate it for no reason. That's a sentence I fully understood and had to say. Wonder how the code got mixed up like that. The real answer is because wide prime minister does walk up there. I just need to use the golden mace on the two conspicious stones you can see, which are just large enough to not be called a pixel hunt. The other gives a stone. As simple as this sounds, now I have everything I need to win this screen.
Have wide prime minister climb up the pole, then have tall prime minister throw the stone at the egg, revealing the dino inside. Then, and only then, can I use the golden mace to whack the brontosaurus's tail and advance to the next screen. Another stage down. This isn't just me, right? People are getting that this is incredibly tedious?
More dinosaurs. This one's annoying. Use the smaller horn on the other one then attach it to the dinosaur? Wrong, not yet. Trying the one reasonable thing now results in the stage restarting. So I'll screw around with the dinosaur. How? The game's pathfinding is trash here. Try walking to the dinosaur, and you'll go behind the cliff. Get in the right spot and it just yells at you. I still have the magic bell of plot advancement. Having wide prime minister use it on the small horn and it turns into a shovel.
What is it with this game and burying and digging up things? What is it about this idea that remains an overwhelming fixture of this game's puzzles? This is important, but the next step is to complete a bizarre action sequence in which wide prime minister climbs up, which you have to click on the right spot before he jumps off for no apparent reason. Then he appears on the other side. Now you can dig a hole, turn the shovel back into a bone, use the bone on the other bone, take the severed wing, use that to make a hang glider, place your two prime ministers carefully and you win. You find this out by clicking on everything with both characters in the hopes that something actually happens for once, or you look up a video walkthrough.
|Just play that Sucker video for every single new screen, because at this point that's this game's puzzle design|
I'm on a boat now. The boats in the background are moving back and forth. Am I going to have to aim these things? Could this game actually be designed worse than The Kristal? THEY'RE NOT EVEN LAYERING THEM PROPERLY! They're going over the inventory box. Something that basically everyone can avoid if they're not lazy. Even if the engine couldn't be fixed, it wouldn't be that hard to just adjust everything a few pixels downward. This room actively blocks me from doing anything. I try the bow on anything that looks remotely usable, nothing. I try picking up that rope tie thing I assume has a proper name, no dice. I try those drum sticks, the cannon, and parts of the other ship that look important. This is beginning to be less of a playthrough and more of a mix of frustration and then consulting a walkthrough.
What I missed is that I should shoot an arrow in the right window, which activates the head of the ship which shoots fire. Then find the magic pixel that allows wide prime minister to pick up one of the drum sticks, which is really an unlit torch. Have wide prime minister shove it to the flame, then tall prime minister can man the cannons. It is exactly as tedious as you can imagine to shoot down the boats, but at least the game doesn't penalize you for not hitting them.
What am I looking at? I like the way this screen looks, but it feels like non-sense. The lack of a background makes me wonder if there's an error, but it's a strange error if that's true. I still have the golden bell thing, and there's a stick with some sort of metal thing on the end partially hidden by a wall. By the way, left of the door is a button, only wide prime minister can press it. Why? Presumably he was a button pusher. By doing this, tall prime minister gets a second to pick up one of the wineglasses on the conveyor belt.
Now, wide prime minister can use the bell on the wineglass to turn it into a wide round glass, which tall prime minister can use to gather water. At any point of this tall prime minister can use the stick with metal bit on the end to break the glass. This restarts the scene...for some reason. Considering I'm not clear on what to do in this scene beyond "open door", the game making me restart twice because of something I can quite clearly get another of annoys me.
The actual answer to this crap is to take three glasses off the conveyor belt, turn two of them into other kinds of glasses, fill all three up, then put them on the stones in the middle of the scene. Now the tall prime minister can whack them with the stick to play a musical sequence to open the door. Its a decent idea, but its just a terrible execution.
Well, this one looks okay. I still think they screwed up the perspective on the ground. Not sure why this turned into Resident Evil though. Let's talk about a problem that hasn't been obvious to you the reader during this time. Not the questionable puzzles or hotspots which make no sense...rather, where the game puts you whenever you click on something. Hopefully I put up the right screenshot, showing where I last clicked and where the character is. That's a big difference and one I can't say I've seen before. It's especially bad because you have to climb up the ladder to use the fish. Did I mention this is very slow? They slowly climb up and down. Slowly.
Wide prime minister has to take the ink off the table and pull that switch you see. Then tall prime minister can open the chute on the left side and put in the ink. Wide prime minister can press a button which gives us...red ink. Tall prime minister picks that up, and at this point you're supposed to somehow intuit that you put it in again, have wide prime minister take the paper, which he couldn't do before, have tall prime minister put it in the machine, press the button again, use that on a bar on the ladder you might have taken for part of the background, then pick up the golden bell.
|Beyond all nightmares I met my fate...|
I hope this is over soon. Now the game is crying. I turned the sound off after a few minutes of this. This seems to be a reference to red oni, blue oni, demons with differing personalities. At least the clubs are. The obvious idea here involves the clubs and the holes. I can put them in and take them out. Either there's a hint somewhere or this is just about brute forcing your way through all the possible states the holes can have. Sort of a slightly more obtuse lever puzzle. With the bell there are three options. This allows me to bring down a fang...for some reason.
Next, tall prime minister has to pull on the earring, moving the oni boy a little bit to the left. Now...you have to figure out that the middle pile of dirt/cloud can be smashed with the blue club and then to put the club back and climb up the ladder of clouds that have appeared.
Back to reality, and it appears that wide prime minister has been brutallized. No, he's just wearing red winter gear for some reason. This screen stonewalled any attempts at trying to win it legitimately. Nothing worked. Nothing. I spammed use and pick up everywhere, with both dudes with and without that sickle you see. They can't climb up through any method I could work out. So the answer turns out to be click the foot icon on the stuff on the right. The one time that's actually the right way to use it. Are you kidding me?
So tall prime minister walks up those things, jumps on the table, picks up and then drops the saw and the knife. What wide prime minister does with the sawblade is obvious even if the location isn't, click on some of the wood to get wood. Cuts through it like cheese. Next, tall prime minister uses the knife on the stump to get...something, and the screen ends.
Okay, this looks nice, but why is this screen even a puzzle? Nothing that seems obvious works. I try using what seems like a spot to break into the ice with the stump thing. Nothing happens with either prime minister. The rope there does nothing. I try tying that to the tree or the stump and nothing happens. Why am I doing this? Why should you be reading this? You'd get the same experience as this if you watched a walkthrough and said "this is ****ing ********" every 10 seconds. I have better things to do than deal with any more of this, so let's take a page out of the book the Koreans throw at their prime ministers and judge them for their crimes.
Final Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Puzzles and Solvability
On the surface there's nothing necessarily wrong with the puzzles. What you have to do on each screen is usually fairly obvious even if there's no reason why you have to do that. Usually, some screens just feel like they require you to make random leaps in logic just to figure out what's going on. The problem is, of course, that you often have no reason to do something beyond its just there. Worse still, the actions you have to take to do so are not obvious. At the very bottom of the heap is that the game fights you every step of the way. Hotspots in this game are very hard to actually find, a click could do what you want or it could do nothing, meaning any good ideas are so far buried under bad that there's no point.
Interface and Inventory
Part of what I just described falls here. After all, even Coktel Vision realized that having some indication that your cursor is over something. If you can't make things stand out from the environment graphically, make them stand out via a text bar somewhere. But even besides this, the controls aren't great. I mean they work, there's never a problem getting them to work, it's just that what the game wants to work and how it'll actually work are two different questions. Which leads to problems where you click on the wrong area, which causes your character to walk to the opposite side of the screen for some reason.
Switching characters is simple, just click on the other character. But switching items isn't easy, and using items with one another isn't either. It also never quite makes sense why you should be using an item on another item.
It is nice that the game won't allow you to be put in an unwinnable situation though.
Story and Setting
The story isn't terribly important for obvious reasons. Setting-wise the game takes place around a single house documenting various incidents. For the first and last sections of the game. Even if how these relate to one another isn't obvious, it's kind of neat seeing it. Then we have the wild middle, where we get Korean religion, dinosaurs and then a sci-fi lab. This series of events feels highly disjointed even if it is supposed to be a dream sequence.
Sound and Graphics
On a superficial level, the game looks nice. There's decent animation, good backgrounds, the like. The backgrounds only look nice on a cursory examination, looking at it for any length of time, like say, playing the game, reveals its problems. That's not to say it's awful, just less good than it appears. As to the animation, I don't know how much was stolen from Coktel Vision or if its legally distinct. A bigger problem is that they're not properly paced. Coktel Vision animated their games well, pacing them out. Here animations are over in a second, a big problem if they're connected to a puzzle.
Sound is fine. The music is a bit samey and gets old long before the game is over.
Environment and Atmosphere
There's not really a lot to do, compounded by the control issues. You just get what you see, its nothing very interesting beyond the surface level. Atmosphere is weird, but I'm not quite sure I can place what its going for. Its got a children's book feel, yet doesn't quite feel like its doing that. Perhaps it's just unfamiliarity; Perhaps it's just because its ripping off a western game; Perhaps a combination. It just doesn't quite work.
Dialogue and Acting
There is no dialog. That's why I was able to play it.
That's 2+2+2+3+2+0, or 11. That times 1.6 is 17.6, so rounded is 18.
Leo Velles gets the closest score at 24, but credit must be given to El despertando for guessing how tedious this would be. This isn't really worth it. Coming from someone who considers the first two Goblins games as among his favorites.