Skullmonkeys

aka: Klaymen Klaymen 2 〜Skullmonkey no Gyakushū〜
Moby ID: 7771
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Description

Skullmonkeys is the successor title to The Neverhood, which came out only on PC (and, in Japan, as "Klaymen Klaymen" on PSX). The game is an old-school jump and run type of game, with a large number of FMVs. The entire game is molded in clay.

The player takes control of Klaymen throughout the game in an attempt to put a stop to the main opponent, being Klogg, who wants to destroy Klaymen's homeworld, The Neverhood, via a huge robot called "Evil Engine No. 9". He uses an army of extremely dumb skullmonkeys to stop Klaymen in his quest; With the exception of several strange, clay birds, each and every enemy in the game is a monkey. The game features music with lyrics by Terry Scott Taylor.

Spellings

  • クレイマン・クレイマン2 〜スカルモンキーのぎゃくしゅう〜 - Japanese spelling

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (PlayStation version)

85 People (67 developers, 18 thanks) · View all

Lead Artists
Lead Animators
Lead Programmers
Level Designers
Lead Tester
Testers
Additional Programming
Still Photos
Lighting Director
Splendid Music
Sound FX and Design
Based on characters created by
Assistant Animators
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 19 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 1 reviews)

A fun platformer, but not a truly worthy Neverhood sequel

The Good
Skullmonkeys plays very nicely indeed. The gameplay seems to give a nod in the direction of Earthworm Jim, one of Tennapel's previous creations, which is surely no coincidence. Earthworm Jim is still regarded as an extremely passable platform adventure, so this is no bad thing. The central character, Klaymen, who is brought to the world of Idznak by a messenger bird, seems like a distant cousin of Jim, and this is shown through the inventive level of strangeness. Wait too long and Klaymen will grow a hand out of his head and wave at you, or makes the nipple-like circles on his chest dance around.

That said, it's not just Klaymen's character that has a ton of extra features. Powerups that give Klaymen the ability to fart a clone of himself, shoot green bullets (out the top of his hand, of course), and make his hands fly off to attack enemies, are all readily available.

The visuals department, however, is where Skullmonkeys really shines. The clay look and feel benefits the game enormously, although you'll sometimes get the feeling on the later levels especially, that you've seen it all before. The tilesets seem a little bare, a lot of the action is based around jumping from very small invidivual platforms in the air. The overall tone of much of the levels is also nothing like as bright or cheery as the original game, but they still hold up on their own.

The FMV clips, as in the previous game, are excellent. Unlike the previous game, they're isn't as many of them. When there is however, you can be assured you'll get a laugh out of 'em. They have next to nothing to do with the storyline whatsoever, which only adds to the hilarity of seeing Klaymen down a whole can of beans and get them all over his face. The ending cut-scene however leaves something to be desired, although that's the most I'll say about that.

Christian musician Terry Taylor (who also goes under the name of Daniel Amos, I believe) is back on this second outing, too, to bring us some more warped music with his own special sort of vocals scattered over. These work really well with the visual style, and the bonus room song, where Terry reassures us that he's our video pal and that we'll get on just fine, is especially hilarious.

The presentation of the overall package is also very good. The main menu is slick, easy to use, and is once again made entirely out of clay.

The Bad
At times, the gameplay can also be pretty damn tough. An earlier level in the game has a whole screen of bad guys that can shoot huge bullets at Klaymen, requiring a lot of patience and well timed jumps and ducks to get through. This, coupled with the one (or, if you have the necessary powerup, two) hit kill system, could potentially cause a lot of frustration.

Somewhat annoyingly, the game relies on a password system that tends to make use of up to 12 button combinations, rather than saving to a memory card.

The Bottom Line
Back in 1996, Microsoft and Dreamworks Interactive signed a deal that brought a handful of new games to the recently-released Windows 95 platform. One of these was The Neverhood - an all-clay video game that "broke the mold" with its claymation and jazzy music. Later came this sequel - a great, fun platformer, however this type of genre isn't the one that brings the Neverhood universe to life as well as it might. In the transition from slow-paced point and click puzzling to frantic running, jumping and shooting, some of the feel has been lost. If you've played the original, you'll miss Robot Bil, Willie Trombone, and the candy-colored worlds and puzzles. Either way, Skullmonkeys is still worth picking up, but it's not what a Neverhood sequel could have been.

OVERALL: 7/10 (www.lyris.tk) - NTSC-U/C version reviewed

PlayStation · by David Mackenzie (47) · 2003

Trivia

Bonus room song lyrics

The aforementioned bonus room has its own song, a lo-fi track accompanied by guitar with the lyrics written specifically for the level:

*Here's a little bonus room, because I know you've had it tough.

Here's a little bonus tune, about collecting real cool stuff.

Yes, here's a little bonus room, where you can play.

Don't be frightened, don't run away.*

The complete lyrics can be found in the related links section.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by keth.

Additional contributors: Sciere, LepricahnsGold, Michael Cassidy.

Game added November 18, 2002. Last modified February 22, 2024.