- The Neverhood
Box art of The Neverhood
Developer(s) The Neverhood, Inc. Publisher(s) DreamWorks Interactive Distributor(s) Microsoft
Series The Neverhood Chronicles Platform(s) PC
PlayStation (Japan only)
Release date(s) October 31, 1996 Genre(s) Adventure Mode(s) Single player Rating(s) ESRB: T (Teen) Media/distribution CD-ROM System requirements
The Neverhood (released Japan as Klaymen Klaymen) is a 1996 PC CD-ROM adventure video game created by animator Doug TenNapel and released by DreamWorks Studios. It features claymation graphics and music by composer Terry Scott Taylor. The Neverhood received positive reviews, but was not a commercial hit, its release coinciding with the mid-1990s decline of adventure games that also caused the failure of other critically acclaimed games such as Grim Fandango. A sequel to The Neverhood was released in 1998 for Sony's PlayStation video game console entitled Skullmonkeys. It was not an adventure game like the first installment, but rather a platform game.
TenNapel came up with the idea of a plasticine world in 1988, creating approximately 17 structures. When TenNapel left Shiny Entertainment in 1995, two weeks later he announced at E3 that he started his own company The Neverhood, Inc., which consisted of a number of men who worked on Earthworm Jim 1 and 2. Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Interactive, which just started in that time, needed fresh and unusual projects, and TenNapel approached Spielberg with the idea of claymation game, with Spielberg accepting it for publication. The Neverhood, Inc. made a deal with DreamWorks Interactive and Microsoft, and the game went for development. After a year of work, The Neverhood was finally released to public in 1996.
Klaymen, the protagonist wakes up in a nursery and pulls a lever which activates a hammer that slams the door. The player must pull this lever three times. Then Klaymen jumps down into a Flytrap but it spits him out. Kleyman pulls the fourth ring down into the flytrap, causing the door to open. He later finds the hall of records which is very long. He also finds disks throughout the game that unlock pieces of a video showing Willie Trombone explaining Hoborg creating the neverhood and a klayperson named Klogg taking Hoborg's crown and being corrupted by it. Klaymen leaves the hall of records and enters a demolition shack where he makes a statue of himself with dynamite. He exits the demolition shack and finds himself in a wasteland with a large red mushroom covered in yellow berries which cause Klaymen to burp. He burps longer with each one. In the wasteland, he finds a green music box. He plays with it, causing a green Weasel to attack him. Klaymen defeats the Weasel by feeding him the dynamite statue of himself, causing him to explode and the weasel's claw lands in front of Willie who pulls out a knife and fork, ready to eat.
After the weasel's defeat, Klaymen takes a large red vehicle and pushes a white button. He finds an orange one in the hall of records. The blue button is in a house that requires the player spitting into five jars. The top jar music must match the lower jar music. When Klaymen enters the house, he is greeted by a TV guy who says "Hey, Klaymen! Say "Knock knock"!". In the attic, Klaymen finds a the blue button and a string that causes a large beetle to fall onto his face and lick him when pulled. After pushing all three buttons, Klaymen unlocks a door that leads to a cannon. Klaymen uses the cannon to blow a hole in the lake wall. Then he creates a bridge from pieces that are on the table. He pushes a down arrow on the bridge and it turns into stairs. Klaymen falls down the stairs into the drained lake (The only place Klaymen can die by jumping down the plug hole where the water went). He rides a green version of the red vehicle he used to push the white button and finds four interesting things; Willie Trombone's house, A sign that says "The cannon was put here by Hoborg" with "Hoborg" crossed out and replaced with "Klogg", a radio in the wall that plays Willie's favorite song and 3 beakers with different coloured liquids. In a yellow house with a satellite dish, Klaymen finds a purple radio. To turn it on, Klaymen must pull the ring closest to the door in the nursery. When the Radio is on, Klaymen must remember the song the radio on the wall was playing and turn to the station that is playing it.
When he passes the radio puzzle, he finds a machine with the word "Bobby" on the side. Klaymen must remember the letters and turn the crystals of the machine to the right colour (Blue, Orange, Blue, Blue, Yellow), causing him to shrink. He returns to his normal size when he finds a chemical lab and fills up the beakers with the same amount of coloured liquid that he saw on the cliff. He must find a statue with what looks like a ladder on his head and push a button above the statue's head, causing a ladder to descend. Klaymen climbs it and comes across a green clam like teleporter. He pushes a button that warps him to an island that is attached to Hoborg's castle by a chain. Klaymen pulls the pin that holds the chain in place, causing the Neverhood to become one again, unaware that Klogg is watching him.
Soon after, Klaymen enters a red mushroom with a revolving object that makes the house descend when twisted. Klaymen uses this to descend to a lower level (Accidentally killing a blue sheep like creature in the process). When he exits the house returns to the upper level. If the player steps forward and turns left, Klaymen will face the castle and if the player clicks on the castle, Klogg can be heard laughing. Klaymen enters a cave and falls into a hole in the floor. He manages to hold onto the sides but a small purple creature with a hammer comes out of a door in the wall and whacks him down it. Klaymen escapes using a teleporter similar to the one he used to warp to the chain.
After walking down a tunnel, Klaymen hears Willie yelling "Klaymen! Up here!". If the player investigates this, Willie will look out of his window and drop a flowerpot onto Klaymen's face. Klaymen eventually finds Big robot bil trying to get at a blue teddy bear. Klaymen must memorise how many times he saw three pictures in a memory match puzzle from a building with a mouse and some cheese. Klaymen pushed a button to send the mouse, the cheese and a purple camera like object to the castle. The puzzle to the purple puzzle was trying to get the mouse to the cheese. The player easily solved this puzzle by clicking on the doorway the mouse wanted to go in. When Klaymen solves the three picture puzzle, the Teddy bear is out of harm's way. Klaymen uses the cannon he used to blow up the lake wall to blow off Bil's cranium, Allowing him to get inside and put Bil's switch from "Bad" To "Good" and the two begin to make their way to the castle, but not before they save Willie from a purple Weasel.
While the heroes make their way to the castle, Klogg sends out his guardian, The Clockwork beast to attack Bil and take the Teddy bear. After the Teddy bear is knocked out of Bil's arms, the Clockwork beast sends out a Bear Retrieval unit to grab it and return it to him,allowing him to rip its head off, Angering Bil who ultimately defeats the Clockwork beats using his "Jump out of Hole" springs to throw him off the neverhood.
The Neverhood Chronicles (written by Douglas TenNapel and Mark Lorenzen) tells the story of the creation of the universe in which the Neverhood exists. It contains eight separate books and occupies 38 screens within the game. While reading it is not necessary to complete the game, traversing the 38 screens it occupies is.
Klaymen: The main protagonist. He resembles a humanoid clay man with a single brown hair on his head. He has a red shirt with 3 buttons. When he pushes the middle one, a small door in his chest opens and he can put in or take out what he finds inside. He has brown fingers on his right hand, brown pants and white bare legs. He walks slowly and does not speak at all during the game until he introduces himself to Hoborg after freeing him.
Willie Trombone: Klaymen's friend. He has a yellow head with a ring on top, along with a green shirt, green shoes, big teeth and yellow spikes on his back. He is not very bright and has a tendency to eat what drops in front of him. Despite this, he proves to be a very useful ally.
Hoborg: The ruler and creator of the Neverhood. He has a red cubic head with a small black mouth which does not move when he speaks, a red rectangular body, brown fingers, white legs and a gold toe on each foot. He has a crown on his head which supports his life force, as demonstrated when Klogg takes it off and puts it on himself. When the crown is put back on his head, he wakes up from his deep sleep.
Big Robot Bil: A Robot friend of Willie. He resembles a huge yellow robot with a red tie and 2 left arms. He commonly says "Meeee Bil". He has a good and bad switch inside. Hoborg gave him a large blue Teddy bear which was destroyed in a fight with Klogg's guardian, The Clockwork Beast. Klaymen blows his head off with a cannon to avoid him damaging the Neverhood. Bil then has his switch flipped from bad to good and Klaymen takes Willie insides him to defeat Klogg. He is destroyed when Klogg uses the cannon to shoot a huge hole in Bil's chest and he falls off the Neverhood, with Willie inside, but Klaymen gets inside the castle. Bil and Willie are resurrected by Hoborg when his crown has been put back on.
Teddy Bear: The teddy bear was a gift given to Big Robot Bil by Hoborg, it is large and blue. Its destruction by The Clockwork Beast was Bil's main motivation to destroy the Beast.
Klogg: The main antagonist. Before he turns evil, he resembles Klaymen, but he has one button on his shirt and possibly different colors. When he puts the crown on, he is transformed due to the crown's magical properties. His eyes turn different colours, he gets big teeth and claws on his hands, his skin turns red and he was white socks with his toes sticking out. His shirt turns brown and his pants turn brown as well. He was created by Hoborg, who told him he can have everything in the Neverhood except his crown. But Klogg took the crown and turned evil when he put it on. He has 2 fates. If the player chooses to take over the throne, Klogg is punched by a similar looking Klaymen. If the Player chooses to save Hoborg, Klogg tries to kill the awakened Hoborg, but steps on the remote for his cannon he used to blast Bil and Willie off the Neverhood, and is blasted clean off the Neverhood.
Weasel: Large crab like monsters and minor antagonists of the game. Two of these monsters are encountered. The first one is green and is encountered when Klaymen plays with Willie's music box. This awakens the Weasel who bursts out of the wall and chases Klaymen. He is destroyed when Klaymen makes a dynamite dummy of himself and feeds it to the Weasel. His claw drops in front of Willie, who quickly draws out a Knife and Fork, indicating that he's going to eat it. The second one is purple and is encountered when Klaymen flips Bil's switch from bad to good. He attacks Willie, but Klaymen commands Bil to punch the Weasel's insides out and save Willie.
The game's soundtrack was composed by Terry Scott Taylor.
Reception and legacy
The Neverhood was selected by Microsoft as an "underrated game". The game sold about 42,000 copies before being discontinued.
A June 25, 2007 Variety article confirmed that The Neverhood would be one of the first projects of the newly formed Frederator Films, a company formed for the purpose of creating animated feature films budgeted under $20 million. The IMDB entry of the film suggested that it would be released in 2011. It has been later confirmed on Doug TenNapel's website that The Neverhood film project is dead.
A PlayStation port of the PC game dubbed Klaymen Klaymen was made and released to Japanese audiences only. The Japanese release of Skullmonkeys, in turn, received the appropriate name Klaymen Klaymen 2. Following the sequel, another Japanese PlayStation game set in the Neverhood universe called Klaymen Gun-Hockey was made. A Japan-only sports action game, it was based on the characters of the Neverhood, but was not developed by the designers of the original games; it also did not feature the previous releases' distinctive Claymation design techniques. The game is a variation on air hockey, only played with guns instead of mallets. Was developed and published by Riverhillsoft, the publisher of Japanese releases of the Neverhood series.
Klaymen is featured as a secret fighter for the PlayStation game Boombots, developed by The Neverhood, Inc.
In June 2011, it was announced via Facebook and Twitter, some of the original developers of The Neverhood are currently negotiating for exclusive rights to release the game on modern platforms such as iPhone, iPod Touch, Atari, iPad, Android phones, Android tablets, and Windows Phone.
Eric Ciccone, the cousin of singer Madonna, worked as animator on the game. He also worked on Earthworm Jim series.
- ^ a b "Review of The Neverhood Chronicles". Game Revolution. 06/05/04. http://www.gamerevolution.com/review/pc/the-neverhood-chronicles.
- ^ "Welcome To The Neverhood" by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.
- ^ Gamespot's interview with TenNapel about making of Neverhood, page 2.
- ^ "5 cool underrated games". Microsoft At Home. http://www.microsoft.com/athome/morefun/5coolgames.mspx. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
- ^ McNary, Dave. Toon trio starts Frederator. Variety. Mon, Jun. 25, 2007.
- ^ Is the Neverhood dead?
- ^ Neverhood Mobile Facebook
- ^ Neverhood Mobile Twitter
- ^ The Team of The Neverhood.
- The Neverhood at MobyGames
- The Neverhood official site archive
- Hardcore Gaming 101: The Neverhood / Klaymen Klaymen
- The Neverhood at the Internet Movie Database
- The Neverhood TV
- All About the NeverhoOd
Doug TenNapel Comic books Film/Television Video games Music/Covers Web ComicsRatfist (2011)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.