|Developer(s)||The Neverhood, Inc.|
|Composer(s)||Terry Scott Taylor|
|Engine||The Neverhood, Inc.|
Skullmonkeys is a platform video game developed by The Neverhood, Inc. and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation. It is the sequel to The Neverhood, and rather than being a graphic adventure, it is a platformer.
Terry Scott Taylor composed the soundtrack.
The evil Klogg was banished from The Neverhood at the end of the first game, but has now ended up on the Planet Idznak, which is inhabited by creatures known as Skullmonkeys and an insect race known as YNT. Klogg becomes the leader of the Skullmonkeys and sets off to make "Evil engine number 9" to destroy the Neverhood, while Klaymen is brought onto the scene to stop him.
In the single-player platform game, the player controls Klaymen, a resident of the Neverhood who is kidnapped in order to prevent the destruction of the Neverhood. He can jump, duck, look up, and grab a wide range of items such as a halo (allowing him to withstand more than one hit) and a wide range of quirky and crude projectile weapons. Aside from the assortment of weapons, enemies and bosses can be destroyed by jumping on them, and there are several secret levels (set to 1970s easy-listening music) where bonus points and extra lives can be earned. The levels are in a sidescrolling format, unlike the point and click format of The Neverhood.
Throughout each of the levels, clay balls can be collected to earn points, with extra lives being awarded upon collecting 100. Several bosses are stationed throughout the game to be defeated. The game was noted for being hard to complete, but the game's password feature keeps things from being unreasonably difficult.
The bonus stage is accompanied by a slow acoustic ballad, with lyrics about "guiding" the player like a "dad" or a "mom".
Skullmonkeys was a strictly two-dimensional game developed at a time when this format was seen as increasingly outmoded. Project lead Doug TenNapel, however, preferred the 2D format and believed that 3D platform gaming could never work, being always plagued by depth-perception problems. Besides TenNapel, star creators who worked on the game included Mike Dietz (inventor of the animation process used in Disney's Aladdin and Earthworm Jim) and Mark Lorenzen.
Klaymen's motions were penciled first, then used in tandem with a model to record the animation. One method used by the designers to create the creatures in the game, was to take children's toys and cover them with clay to see what shapes were formed. A boss in the game, Joe-Head-Joe, is actually the face of Joseph Sanabria, one of the game's designers.
During development TenNapel said that composer Terry Scott Taylor "[is] coming up with this Hawaiian shit, like Don Ho. And we're like 'Go! Go!' because it's so stupid and so nongaming that we have to embrace it."
The game was widely praised for its graphics, music, sound, and humor. However, many video game websites panned it for its high difficulty, replacing the saves with passwords and technical problems which affected its playability. Some video game critics compared the game favorably to other successful platform games such as Earthworm Jim or the number of successful platform games produced by Virgin Interactive.
PlayStation Pro rated the game 7.5 out of 10.
GameSpot gave the game a 5 out of 10, stating that "What is most frustrating about Skullmonkeys is that it just wears you down after a while." The original IGN review gave Skullmonkeys an 8 out of 10, but an updated review lowered the score to a 6 out of 10.
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "Skullmonkeys contains some of the best audio and graphics for any platformer on PlayStation. Sadly, somewhere between concept and completion, this project went wrong."
- "Skull Monkeys". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 96. Ziff Davis. July 1997. p. 108.
- Dulin, Ron. "What is most frustrating about Skullmonkeys is that it just wears you down after a while." GameSpot, Jan. 31, 1998. Accessed February 22, 2008.
- "NG Alphas: Skullmonkeys". Next Generation. No. 31. Imagine Media. July 1997. pp. 120–1.
- EPNdotTV (2015-11-30), Diddy Kong Racing / Skullmonkeys - S1:E2 - Electric Playground, retrieved 2018-08-21
- "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〜 [PS] / ファミ通.com". www.famitsu.com. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
- PlayStation Pro #18 (March 1998) p. 16–19
- Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine Vol. 1 Issue 6 (March 1998) 5 out of 5
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 40. Imagine Media. April 1998. p. 97.