When did I start to like RPGs? I'm quite sure it was the time when game developers finally decided to get rid of those freaking endless dungeons in which every hallway and corner looked exactly the same! Phantasy Star, Dungeons & Dragons, Shining in the Darkness even The Legend of Kyrandia; what did they all have in common? Yes, you guessed it right, infinite, huge, never-ending dungeons! The first one who can explain to me what the fun was of walking in a maze in which every wall and floor appears precisely alike, will win a prize.
Just when I guessed I thought I never had to face a game of that caliber again, I decided to get back in time and check out Litil Divil. Litil Divil was a huge CD-i title, well for CD-i proportions at least, and one of Philip's most proudly presented games for their system. They were so glad with it, it even got re-released for Amiga CD32 (talking about defunct systems here) and the PC. It's easy to see why Philips was so proud of their little devil. He looks cute, the animations are well done and the audio is excellent. Furthermore, the game features the four characteristics which apparently - in secret - have been agreed upon as indispensable for almost any CD-i game: repetitive gameplay, staggering slowness, loose control and animated cut-scenes you're forced to watch time and time again because they can't be skipped.
The objective of the game is to control the devil Mutt through a series of mazes (five to be exact) to gather a Mystic Pizza of Plenty. Mutt would have rather stayed in bed, but he was appointed by a nasty fellow to pick straws with a bunch of other devils, as is shown in the introduction movie. Unfortunately for him, he picked the shortest one and became the loser who had to collect the Pizza of Plenty. (Plenty of what? Pepperoni?) The dungeons have been scattered with rooms which Mutt needs to explore and in which he has to solve small puzzles or beat enemies to acquire objects that are needed to successfully accomplish the dungeon.
Though a little map is shown at the left top of the screen, exploring the dungeons is a tedious process. First you have to wander around to find some gold. Then you have to find your way back to some sort of shop to buy stuff you need to accomplish some puzzles. If you've done that you must find your way back to the chambers with monsters or objects on which you can use your additional acquired items. I didn't find the map very helpfull and was lost most of the time in the enormous dungeons, walking aimlessy around hoping to encounter a useful room by luck.
As you probably already noticed, this kind of game is not one of my favorites. The endless dungeon exploring gameplay really didn't age well, and I didn't like it back then to begin with. But I must confess Mutt has been nicely animated and overall the game looks quite good for a CD-i action/adventure title. I especially like the animations of Mutt going to sleep and dreaming when you let the game alone for a while. When you finally find a room, the puzzles aren't too hard but they're well-thought out. Unfortunately, partly due to the dominant sluggishness of the game the control is too loose. But since you haven't got to make too much difficult actions that is surmountable.
Though it's a largely different types of games, Litil Divil reminded me of The Legend of Kyrandia. Both games looked good for their time and start off nicely, but end in tiresome dungeon exploring parts. If you don't mind dungeon exploring or if you like to check out what was supposed to be fun in 1995, or if you just like to own a game with two deliberately spelling errors in the title, you may like to check out Litil Divil. I just hope you can hold on playing this CD-i's former pride longer than me, because I gave up after the first dungeon. Too 'mazy' for my sake!