Review by Jen
Some old games are forgotten through no fault of their own. Perhaps
there no longer exists a working platform to play them on; maybe
not one single person who purchased a copy was a preservationist;
who knows? Other old games, though, have fallen into oblivion
for good reason. The Prophecy falls into the latter category.
Released in 1993, packed on a whopping five, count 'em, five
floppy disks, and accompanied by a coupon for "30 FREE hours
on The Sierra Network" (a $29.95 value!), The Prophecy
is nothing if not a blast from the past.
How times have changed. I was barely even a computer gamer back
in 1993, and maybe just maybe I had a Super Nintendo by then (I
don't remember when I got that li'l bad boy). The Nintendo games,
at least in my experience, were worlds ahead of anything on the
PC as far as interactivity and animation frames per second. I
knew that when I started The Prophecy; heck, I even knew
that back when I acquired The Prophecy some years ago.
What prompted me to give The Prophecy a whirl was my recent
success in getting my old floppy drive to work in my ultra-modern
gaming PCthat, in combination with a recent download of
that I wanted to take out for a test drive.
So ... the DOSBox is a beautiful thing. The Prophecy, on
the other hand ... well, if nothing else, it served to remind
me that pixel-hunting is nothing new.
Where the PC games had it all over the console in 1993 was in
depth of gameplay. Not so here.
Basically what you get are a series of static, or nearly so,
puzzle rooms. Each screen contains several items. You must find
and use the items, alone or in combination with other items, to
move out of one room and into the next. Wherein you start the
process all over again. There are a few core items that stay with
you throughout the game, but most of them are used once and never
You play as Ween; your job is to foil the evil plans of the evil
wizard Kraal by acquiring three magic grains of sand and returning
them to the Revuss, some kind of enchanted hourglass. You have
companions (whom you rarely see onscreen): a blowhard named Petroy,
twin monk-looking dudes on happy sauce who carry your stuff for
you, and a fruit bat. The twins only show up for cutscenes, but
you can use Petroy and the bat strategically, like ordinary inventory
The whole game plays out like somebody's acid high. Really. You
employ talking worms to eat magic mushrooms, you cook up batches
of magic potions in a magic cauldron that change the character
of things or creatures, things jump up out of nowhere and freak
you outeverything's there but the rainbow trails and that
certain chemical-induced sense of well-being.
There is no speech, but guess what? There is quite a bit of big-pixeled
FMV! Woo hoo! Right? But ... The beautiful princess is played
by somebody's middle-aged mom; Kraal looks like a drunken day
laborer hauled in from the street corner for the easiest work
of his hard life; the twins ... eek! The twins! The twins are
played by those pedophiles who live around the corner, you know,
those guys that official notice from the sheriff warned you about?
All of the actors are creepy. For that matter, the whole game
is creepy. And weird. And kind of uncomfortable, like when you
wish you would come down off your bad trip already and you begin
to nurse the fear that this, finally, is the one you will never
return from, the one your parents always warned you about.
Anyway, the first half of the game went pretty well for me. It
made some sense. It had some fun moments. As I progressed, though,
solving the screens not only ramped up in difficulty but in aggravation
level as well. The pixel hunting got out of hand (some items literally
had only one pixel; 320×200=64,000 pixels to examine), there
was too much task repetition and too many arbitrary puzzle solutions,
and the whole thing rose well above the danger level on the WTF
meter. By the end, I had to force myself back to it, and my play
sessions became increasingly shorter as my tolerance level decreased
until finally I limped across the finish line.
So considering the fact that I play games for fun and not only
was The Prophecy not very fun, it was slightly disturbing
on some subconscious, almost limbic, level, I'm going to have
to recommend against it in the strongest possible terms: The cornpoop.
Developer: Coktel Vision
Publisher: Sierra On-Line
Release Date: 1993
Four Fat Chicks Links
286 10MHz or better
Supports: Thunderboard, Pro Audio, Spectrum Sound Blaster, Adlib
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