The Neverhood

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The Neverhood

The Neverhood Boxart
Developer(s) The Neverhood, Inc.
Publisher(s) DreamWorks Interactive
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 CD-ROM
System requirements 75 MHz Pentium processor, 8 MB RAM, SVGA monitor, 10 MB hard disk space, quad-speed CD-ROM drive, Windows 95 compatible sound card
Input methods Mouse

The Neverhood (released in Japan as Klaymen Klaymen) is a 1996 PC CD-ROM Claymation video game created by animator Doug TenNapel and released by Dreamworks Studios. It is an adventure game. Each clay animation was painstakingly captured frame-by-frame.

Owing to the quirky and wacky animation, silly characters and unusual music by composer Terry Scott Taylor, this award winning game has a cult following to this day, though it has been out of print and largely unavailable for years. As of 2007, there are numerous fansites devoted to The Neverhood. Its soundtrack, Imaginarium: Songs from the Neverhood, also continues to sell well.

The Neverhood received good reviews, but was not a commercial hit. By the mid-1990s adventure games had begun to decline in popularity. Several other adventure games made in this period such as Grim Fandango also received critical acclaim, but failed to sell well. The Neverhood was put in the official Microsoft list of underrated games.[1]

A sequel to The Neverhood was released in 1997-98 for Sony's PlayStation video game console entitled Skullmonkeys. It was not an adventure game like the first installment, but rather a platform game. A second sequel was also made entitled Boombots also made for Sony's PlayStation. This game was a 3d-type fighting game.

A feature film based on The Neverhood is currently being created at Frederator Films, with Doug TenNapel directing.[2]


[edit] Characters

[edit] Klaymen

Klaymen is the protagonist. The game follows his adventures through The Neverhood, solving puzzles and getting out of difficult situations in order to discover the Neverhood's mysteries. He is a curious and cheerful being. He saves the creator of the Neverhood, Hoborg, from his deep sleep and ruins evil Klogg's plan, or, depending on the player's final choice for the ending, takes over the throne.

[edit] Klogg

Klogg was created by Hoborg for companionship. During his first days on the Neverhood, Klogg looks like Klaymen, but with only one button on his chest, and possibly different colors. Originally just greedy, he spots Hoborg's crown and knows that he must have it. After unsuccessfully trying to snatch it, he begins formulating his plans. He eventually succeeds in stealing the crown. After placing it on his head, he becomes horribly deformed due to the crown's magical properties, and soon downright sinister. He will stop at nothing to keep Klaymen from completing their quest. In the end, his plans fail after he accidentally has himself shot by his giant cannon, knocking him off the Neverhood (in the sequel game Skullmonkeys, he is shown to have landed on the planet Idznak, created by Hoborg's younger brother Arven). In the alternate ending, however, he laughs in triumph as Klaymen takes the crown for himself, before being knocked to the ground by a now similarly deformed Klaymen.

[edit] Hoborg

Hoborg is the creator and ruler of the Neverhood. He also gives life to Klogg. The name Hoborg means "Big Heart" (referenced in the Hall of Records). He, with Willie Trombone and Big Robot Bil's help, went through a harsh journey and got the finest "klay" in the universe. This klay could last forever and was perfect to make the Neverhood. The first friend that he makes is Klogg, who wants to be the ruler and takes Hoborg's crown. Without the crown, Hoborg goes into a deep sleep, as if lifeless. Luckily, one life seed escapes Klogg's attention. Willie takes this seed, which grows into Klaymen, the hero who would save the Neverhood from Klogg's evil reign. Later, Klaymen gets the crown back and returns it to Hoborg's head. A pleased Hoborg then makes many more friends with the remaining life seeds.

[edit] Willie Trombone

Willie Trombone is Klaymen's dim-witted cousin and informant throughout the game. Willie is afraid of Klogg, but wants to help Klaymen. The Hall of Records chronicles Hoborg's first meeting with Willie, but also the fact that he was created by Ottoborg, a picture of whom can be found on the wall in Willie's room. This picture is captioned "Dad".

[edit] Big Robot Bil

Big Robot Bil is Willie's robot pal. He is humongous, metal, very creaky, and just wants to hold his teddy bear. He was one of the robots that Ottoborg created. There were three of them, Appie, Togor and Bil. Bil was good at building. When Ottoborg's world broke apart, Bil met Willie Trombone. Then they met Hoborg, and helped him to find the finest klay in the universe. In gratitude, Hoborg gave Bil a blue teddy bear. Bil loved it. Willie and Bil stayed in Hoborg's world called The Neverhood, after Hoborg finished it. Klogg, however, took over Neverhood and he trapped Bil in a sort of prison. He also turned Bil bad, by pushing a lever from 'good' to 'bad' inside Bil's body. Soon Klaymen came to rescue. Bil's good nature was restored and Bil got his Teddy back. But Klogg was watching, he sent the Clockwork Beast to stop Klaymen. Bil defeated the beast with Klaymen's help, but Teddy was broken by the beast with its Bear Retrieval Units. Klogg wasn't satisfied yet, though. He fires the cannon and blows a hole in Bil's body. Soon he fell out of the Neverhood along with Willie. After Klaymen defeats Klogg, Hoborg returns Willie and Bil back to the Neverhood. Willie appeared in Skullmonkeys, the second game of Neverhood, and Bil was left on The Neverhood to protect it until Klaymen got back.

[edit] Bear Retrieval Units

The Bear Retrieval Units are sent out by the Clockwork Beast to retrieve Bil's green bear (a shot is shown from the Beast's point of view where he scans Teddy and text appears reading "Is object a bear? ... YES. Deploy Bear Retrieval Unit"). They are eyeless, beaked, skinny creatures similar to pterodactyls who wear red hats and drive in a roofless car with a harpoon gun. In the Neverhood theme, they are referred to as Crit Units 'A' and 'B'.

[edit] Clockwork Beast

The Clockwork Beast is a mechanical beast that was created by Klogg to protect his castle. It's about the size of Big Robot Bil, and looks similar to the Bear Retrieval Units, except for its two cyborg eyes and other mechanized features. It was released once to try and stop Big Robot Bil from entering Klogg's castle. It knocks down Bil and rips off his blue bear's head. Bil gets angry and defeated the beast by knocking it off the Neverhood with his built-in springs, and some help from Klaymen.

[edit] Teddy Bear

Big Robot Bil's teddy bear was a gift to him from Hoborg for helping Hoborg gather "klay" to make the Neverhood. It's big, green, and Bil's best pal. However, for unknown reasons the Clockwork Beast wanted to destroy it. When Bil and the Clockwork Beast fight, the Bear Retrieval Units take it and deliver it to the Clockwork Beast, who destroys it, only to then be destroyed by a furious Bil. There is no evidence that it was repaired or that Bil got a new one.

[edit] Weasel

A large greenish crustacean/insect creature that chases Klaymen early in the game, when he accidentally releases it from a closed cave. Eventually, Weasel chases Klaymen into a house after trying to catch him. Klaymen then feeds Weasel a Klaymen-looking doll (a decoy) that's made out of dynamite, and blows him up. A second Weasel appears later on in the game shown attacking Willie. This Weasel is purple and smaller than the previous one, and is splattered when Big Robot Bil punches it through Willie's bedroom window.

[edit] The Neverhood Hall of Records

The Neverhood Hall of Records is a 38-screen long wall found in the game, filled with The Neverhood Chronicles, Bible-esque lore of the universe in which the Neverhood exists. The Hall of Records was made up of a self-carving, history recording klay wall. This wall once belonged to Quater, the creation of Father. Quater, as Father commanded, recorded history with these walls. There were seven of these klay walls, given to Quater's seven sons, Ogdilla, Bertbert, Numeron, Ottoborg, Homen, Hoborg, and Arven. One of them could be found in the Neverhood, in the Hall of Records. The wall stopped recording when Klogg took the throne of Hoborg.

In the unofficial Russian translation of the game made by "Uncle Research" team ("Dyadushka Risoch", now known as a commercial game developer, Crazy House), the writings were replaced with humorous stories.

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 isn't necessary to complete the game, traversing the 38 screens it occupies is.

Several of the characters and stories found within The Neverhood Chronicles possess striking similarities to those found in the Bible. In addition, several large portions of The Neverhood Chronicles are written in Biblical verse fashion, with close examinations of detailed lineage throughout.

[edit] Endings

The game has three endings.

  • If Klaymen takes the crown for himself, then Klogg yells with delight that he has bought his trick and laughs. Klaymen is then deformed by the crown and now looks very much like Klogg. He grabs Klogg by the shirt with one hand and knocks him out with the other. In Klogg's voice, he then declares himself the ruler of the Neverhood and laughs evilly.
  • If Klaymen jumps into a pit that warns him that he will die if he does so, then the camera cuts to underneath the Neverhood. Far in the background, Klaymen screams as he falls through space. As he continues screaming, the words The End are then shown with clay images.
  • If Klaymen doesn't take the crown for himself, then he distracts Klogg by pulling down his pants and rushes to Hoborg, who Klogg says is a force that Klaymen does not know anything about. Klaymen then swings over to Hoborg. Against Klogg's wishes, Klaymen puts the crown on him. He then pushes a button that moves the throne that Hoborg is on down to the lower floor. Klaymen steps down and bows as Hoborg stands up and asks who woke him. He sees Klaymen and asks for his name, which he responds to. As Hoborg congragulates Klaymen for saving the Neverhood, Klogg takes his dagger and tries to stab Hoborg and presumably Klaymen to death, but he accidentally steps on a button of his remote control. The bird that's on his cannon fires right at Klogg, who yells "Son of a..!" before being knocked off of the Neverhood. Hoborg then admits that he never understood Klogg. He and Klaymen then return to the lower part of the Neverhood, where more friends are made. Although everyone is having fun, Hoborg notices that Klaymen isn't happy. He then cheers him up by bringing Willie and Bil back. Klaymen, who is now very happy, hugs Hoborg. The credits then roll.

[edit] Upcoming feature film

Doug TenNapel wrote in March 2007 to his official forum that he is in talks with a producer about making a movie based on the Neverhood world.[3] Frederator Studios later remarked that they would be working with Doug TenNapel on the film.[4]

A June 25 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.[2] The IMDB entry of the film suggests that it will be released in 2009, though it is more likely to be released at a later date.[5]

[edit] PlayStation port

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.

Klaymen is featured as a secret fighter for the PlayStation game Boombots, developed by The Neverhood, Inc.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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