The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth sure lives up to its title. Set in the post-apocalyptic world of Vlurxtrznbnaxl ,this 1994 gem from Coktel Vision who created the Gobliiins series, amps up the craziness, unleashing a memorable adventure with a penchant for odd sounding syllables.
The game begins with an infant Woodruff, our spikey haired hero, playing with his favourite teddy bear while his adoptive father, Azimuth, is hard at work. A loud knock comes from the door and in a state of panic, Azimuth places some earmuffs over his son's ears and hides him in a box. Some government men knock down the door and takes the inventor away, leaving the little boy alone only to witness to witness the massacre of his beloved bear.
Then, in a twist that is sure to make some sense in this world, Woodruff grows up in an instant with only the word Schnibble in his mind. It appears that Azimuth know this was going to happen and took steps to make sure Woodruff will be able to rescue him, and this world.
That's a pretty heavy set up for a game with so much humour. Every screen you venture into is teaming with small details and animations that wouldn't be out of place in a Tex Avery cartoon. The manic goings on hides a deceptively deep story. The sudden growth of Woodruff doesn't go completely unnoticed by him. He will often act like a naive child unsure of the world, occasionally and subtly pining for his lost youth. It gives his character a sad undertone that's easily missed amongst the perverted love birds and easily spooked muscle men.
What's even sadder in the plight of the Boozooks, a race of mutated humans that lived on the surface while the earth repaired itself. They grew to be a peaceful species which would be their downfall. The selfish, tax loving humans surviving underground have now re-emerged, taking over the Boozooks' land by bureaucratic force. Their belief that a Schnibble will appear to save them is all that some of these persecuted pointy-nosed people have. It's quite sad if you think about it, but never does it overwhelm the overall lighthearted tone.
There's some really nice animations going on in this game, capturing all of the zaniness and slapstick hijinks that makes up this world. To get a better look at some movements, a zoomed-in box will appear often offering a short humourous skit. It will occasionally break the fourth wall, for example early on the animator pops up to let us know he had no idea what a Tobozon is so just didn't draw it (in case you're wondering it's basically a video phone).
For a game that likes to use the last three letters of the alphabet more than any other, it comes as no surprise that moon logic is used heavily in the puzzles. This ramps up the difficulty at times, but it doesn't really bother me here as much as it does in other adventures. The game's own logic is so off-kilter that they actually make sense within context of the story. For example, you'll have no problem using a plastic finger in a giant nose to unlock the door to a illegal arm-wrestling match in order to enter a rather tame red light district. It all makes sense in a way.
It took me a while to get through it when I first played it two decades ago, my young brain did need the help of a walkthrough quite often. Booting it up now to refresh my memory still made me lose several highly entertaining hours into it. It is perhaps one of the weirdest games I've ever played and I loved every bizarre moment. One thing's for sure, there's not another one even remotely like Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses ScummVM to allow the game to run on modern PCs. Manual & Hintbook included. Tested on Windows 7.
The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth is © Coktel Vision
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me