NTSC box art of Skullmonkeys
|Developer(s)||The Neverhood, Inc.|
Rather than being a PC adventure game like its predecessor, it is a platform game for the PlayStation. The setting of it came from a place described in The Neverhood Hall of Records in the Neverhood by one of the other god-like beings (like Hoborg) created by Quater.
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".
Klaymen: The main protagonist and savior of The Neverhood, he is kidnapped by Jerry-O and brought to the Planet Idznak to stop Klogg from building Evil Engine Number 9. He resembles a humanoid clay man with a brown tube on his head. He has a red shirt with 3 buttons.
Klogg: Klogg, the main antagonist of The Neverhood, plummeted through space after being banished from The Neverhood, and eventually landing on the Planet Idznak. He tears and wears the Skull and coat off of a Skullmonkey he lands on and proceeds to declare himself the 'King of all Skullmonkeys, renaming himself KloggMonkey in the process. He persuades the Skullmonkeys to help him build a giant machine, known as 'Evil Engine Number 9', which he will use to destroy The Neverhood. He is also the final boss of the game, being fought at the end of the Worm Graveyard.
Skullmonkeys: A species of apes that inhabit the Planet Idznak. They resemble large brown monkeys with Skulls replacing their heads, thus the name sake. They are incredibly unintelligent, bashing random items together and fighting each other over trivial items like clay, they are easily tricked by Klogg into helping him. Throughout the game, there is several variants of Skullmonkeys, ranging from average ones, to ones that can turn themselves inside out to two that use machine guns and know how to drive vehicles.
Jerry-O: An intelligent Skullmonkey, he immediately is displeased with Klogg claiming to be the new ruler of the Skullmonkeys. He is the most technologically advanced Skullmonkey, wearing a headset, configuring a flying machine and also being able to use a computer. He sends a flying red device to The Neverhood to kidnap Klaymen, and later he gives Klaymen a 'sacred root', which if eaten, causes the victim to break out in painful, itchy sores. Unlike his common brethren, Jerry-O can speak fluent English on his own.
Shriney Guard: A giant Skullmonkey with two giant hammers, armor made from bones and a massive toothfilled mouth. His attacks are rolling backwards and forwards and spitting rock at you. This boss is notorious for being incredibly simple to defeat, as he is beatable in about 10 seconds. He is fought at the end of Monkey Shrines (or The Amazing Drivy Finn if the player manages to access this level in the bonus room of Monkey Shrines).
Joe Head Joe: A large Skullmonkey with a male human head as his torso and abdomen. He is encountered as a boss in the Skullmonkeys Brand Hot Dog Factory, and his main attacks are belching and removing his eyeballs and rolling them at you. His main weakness is that he's very slow moving.
Glenn Yntis: A Large YNT with a massive claw, a smaller 'targeting' claw and a really precise attack. He'll click his smaller claw four times very quickly in the direction he's going to attack before striking at the area with his big claw. You have to shoot his feet to open a window of time to hurt him by shooting his head. He is fought at the end of YNT Eggs.
Monkey Mage: A Magician Skullmonkey with a wand and a shield surrounding him. He is fought at the end of Castle de Los Muertos. He will shoot into the air and destroy whatever platform you are standing on, but when he's about to shoot, he's vulnerable for an attack.
The game was widely praised for its graphics, music, sound, and humor. Many video game websites panned it for its high difficulty, replacing the saves with passwords and technical problems which affected its playability, though 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 Software.
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.
Old pictures of the game's cover show the game with a K-A (Kids to Adults) rating, but when the game was released it featured a new cover with a T (Teen) rating.
- List of Taylor's projects in 1998 at his official site.
- 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.
- PlayStation Pro #18 (March 1998) p. 16–19
- Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine Vol. 1 Issue 6 (March 1998) 5 out of 5