||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (October 2012)|
|Developer(s)||The Neverhood, Inc.|
|Composer(s)||Terry Scott Taylor|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
The Neverhood (also called The Neverhood Chronicles, released in Japan as Klaymen Klaymen) is a 1996 point-and-click adventure game developed by The Neverhood, Inc. and published by DreamWorks Interactive. The game follows the adventure of a claymation character named Klaymen as he discovers his origins and his purpose in a world made entirely out of clay. When the game was originally released, it was unique in that it featured all of its animation done entirely in claymation, including all of the sets, rather than 2- or 3-dimensional computer graphics, like many other games at its time. The gameplay consists mostly of the player guiding the main character Klaymen around and solving puzzles to advance in the game. As the player advances through different areas of the game, there are various video sequences that help advance the plot. In addition to being unique, The Neverhood aimed at being quirky and humorous, as is evident by the characters, the music, and the plot sequence of the game.
- Klaymen: The main protagonist and player character. He resembles a humanoid clay man with a short brown tube on his head. He has a red shirt with 3 buttons. When he pushes the left or right button, a small door in his belly opens revealing a compartment which he uses to store items. He has brown fingers on his right hand and wears brown short shorts and white bare legs. He walks slowly and does not speak at all during the game until he introduces himself to Hoborg in the good ending. However, he does make various grunting noises when performing certain actions, and he screams loudly if caused to jump down the large drain that drops straight out of the bottom of the Neverhood. The drain is, according to the game's manual and signs "Danger", "Don't Jump in the Drain", "You Will Die", the only area where Klaymen can die.
- Willie Trombone: Klaymen's friend and son of Hoborg's older brother, Ottoborg. He has a yellow head with a ring on top, 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: One of the seven sons of Quater and creator of the Neverhood. He has a crown on his head, given to him by Quater which supports his life force, as demonstrated when Klogg takes it off and puts it on himself causing Hoborg to go into a deep slumber.
- Big Robot Bil: A robot friend of Willie and created by Hoborg's brother, Ottoborg. He is a huge yellow robot with a red tie and 2 left arms and has a good/bad switch inside. His only spoken phrase in-game is "Meeee Bil". 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. Klaymen moves Bil's switch from bad to good and together Klaymen and Bil rescue Willie from a weasel and the three of them go to Father's castle. Bil 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. Bil and Willie are returned by Hoborg in the good ending.
- Teddy Bear: The teddy bear, a gift given to Big Robot Bil by Hoborg, is large and blue. Its destruction by The Clockwork Beast was Bil's main motivation to destroy the Beast.
- Klogg: The main antagonist. He was created by Hoborg, who told Klogg he could have everything in the Neverhood except his crown. Klogg took the crown and put it on. Before he turns evil he resembles Klaymen but with one button on his shirt and possibly different colors. When he puts the crown on, he is transformed - his eyes turn different colours, he gets big teeth and claws on his hands, his skin turns red and he has white socks with his toes sticking out. His shirt turns brown and his pants turn brown as well. He has two possible fates. If the player chooses the Bad Ending, Klogg is punched out by a transformed Klaymen. If the Player chooses the Good Ending, Klogg tries to kill the awakened Hoborg but steps on the remote for his cannon 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. It is destroyed when Klaymen makes a dynamite dummy of himself and feeds it to the Green Weasel. The second one is purple and is encountered after Klaymen flips Bil's switch from bad to good. It is attacking Willie, but Klaymen commands Bil to punch the Purple Weasel, saving Willie.
Doug TenNapel came up with the idea of a plasticine world in 1988, creating approximately 17 structures. Due to his dissatisfaction with the way David Perry ran Shiny Entertainment TenNapel left the company in 1995. Two weeks later he announced at E3 that he started his own company The Neverhood, Inc., which consisted of a number of people who worked on Earthworm Jim and its sequel. Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Interactive, which had recently started, needed fresh and unusual projects and TenNapel approached Spielberg with the idea of a 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 the public in 1996. The game elements were shot entirely on beta versions of the Minolta RD-175, making The Neverhood the first stop motion production to use consumer digital cameras for professional use.
The game's soundtrack was composed and performed by Daniel Amos frontman Terry Scott Taylor and went on to win GMR Magazine's "Best Game Music of the Year" award. Tom Clancy's video game composer Bill Brown called The Neverhood Soundtrack, "The Best of any of them (video game soundtracks)."
Ports and Legacy
A PlayStation port of the game titled Klaymen Klaymen was made and released to Japanese audiences only, with some minor changes to the PC version such as longer loading times between room to room and the removal of The Hall of Records area. The Japanese release of Skullmonkeys, in turn, received the appropriate name Klaymen Klaymen 2.
In June 2011, it was announced via Facebook and Twitter that 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, iPad, Android phones, Android tablets and Windows Phone.
In July 21, 2014, ScummVM version 1.7.0 was released by the ScummVM project which added support for the Neverhood, allowing to run it on many supported platforms including Linux, OS X, Windows and Android OS.
The game received an average score of 87.00% at GameRankings, based on an aggregate of 7 reviews. The game's Facebook page "Neverhood Mobile" posted a link to an independent YouTube video review uploaded in 2011, which ranked The Neverhood in "the top 5 greatest (video) games of all time."
The Neverhood sold only about 42,000 copies. An additional 600,000 OEM copies were purchased by Gateway and pre-installed on their computers. Over the years it turned out that The Neverhood also received a huge fan base in Russia and Iran as a result of the massive bootleg copying and distribution of pre-installed games on PC's.
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.
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 on hold.
Klaymen is featured as a secret fighter for the PlayStation game BoomBots, also developed by The Neverhood, Inc.
On March 12, 2013, TenNapel announced that he had partnered with former Neverhood and Earthworm Jim artists/animators Ed Schofield and Mike Dietz of Pencil Test Studios to develop a "clay and stop-motion animated point and click adventure game". While stating that the game would not be a sequel to The Neverhood, TenNapel reiterated that the game would consist of his unique art style and sense of humor, and have an original soundtrack by Terry Scott Taylor. The game is called Armikrog.
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