How I HATE those goody-goodies, how they make my stomach turn!
I've got a little secret that'll really make them cry;
It's a nasty kind of magic, from a special kind of guy!
This book is made to order, but it isn't to be read:
When they open up this book, they're sucked inside instead,
To the most unpleasant place they've ever seen:
The Magic Labyrinth of I.M. Meen!
Very scary and confusing, destination of my choosing!
Magic Labyrinth of I.M. Meen!
I.M. Meen is an educational kids' game released in 1995 where you are forced to fend off a meen-spirited man (voiced by the accomplished actor Peter Berkrot) and his guardians after he traps you in his magic maze. His assistant, Gnorris, helps you in secret along the way as you defeat the guardians, and eventually Meen himself.
Animated by Animation Magic, the same people behind the first two The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games and Hotel Mario, all of the game's cutscenes feel like an acid trip. Because of this, I.M. Meen has become popular in YouTube Poop.
Had a sequel called Chill Manor, which starred Meen's girlfriend/wife, Ophelia Chill, as she tries to literally rewrite history.
The game itself is essentially a First-Person Shooter (more specifically, a Doom clone without the BFG) with the only "educational" segments coming from locked doors that can be opened only by fixing grammar mistakes.
I.M. Meen and Chill Manor contain examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The third area of labyrinth (starts at 9th level and ends at 12th) is known as the Sewer. AS one can tell from name, it's a very spacious sewer inhabited by Rat Men, with a Muck Monster called Sludgemeen being the boss of the location.
- All Trolls Are Different: Trolls here are small, bearded, club-wielding humanoids who are some of the weaker enemies in the game. Trollmeen, first boss of the game who's faced at the end of the Tower, is a giant troll with Meen's face. He's pretty slow, and his attacks are easy to dodge and don't do much damage.
- Alphabet Soup Cans: Fixing grammatical mistakes to traverse levels? Why not!
- Ambiguously Human: Roman Centurions and Mad Scientists are the most human-looking monsters in the game, with the former even being stated in the manual to be from Julius Caesar's army. Despite this, they still can be beaten into nothing with few punches from the kid and explode into magic smoke after defeat, and were not stated to be any different from other magic guardians, who were said to be made of magic stone.
- Antagonist Title: The name of the game and the villain are the same.
- Ant Assault: The Hedgerow Maze features giant ants as enemies. Design-wise and behavior-wise, they resemble spiders, but they have greener shade and can also spit orange explosive projectiles.
- Arc Words: BE QUICK. BE SMART. BEWARE.
- Badass Bookworm: The playable characters, who got dragged into the story by reading a book. Because most of the projectile weapons are disposable, you, a prepubescent child, will be knocking out gigantic trolls with Good Old Fisticuffs for most of the early levels.
- Bad Boss: In the notes, I.M. Meen frequently berates his gnome crew and threatens to turn them into stone guardians (i.e. mooks in the labyrinth) for goofing around instead of doing their job. As the notes in the later levels reveal, he did carry out his threat to the entire gnome crew except Gnick, explaining why there are so many gnome mooks appearing in the Library level.
- Bat Out of Hell:
- Bats appear in this game as somewhat weaker, yet fast-moving enemies. They also tend to appear in crowds, which makes them a bit cumbersome to deal with.
- The boss of the Caves is Batmeen, a semi-humanoid bat with Meen's face that hops around and spits purple orbs at the player. He also frequently appears with other bats, making him a bit more difficult when compared to other bosses.
- Beware the Silly Ones: I.M. Meen. Yes, he's completely insane, not to mention a Psychopathic Manchild, but he's also a powerful wizard with a lot of monsters under his command, and he has kidnapped several children.
- Big Bad: Meen himself, obviously. He is the one who kickstarts the plot, kidnaps the children, creates the regular bosses and is the final boss.
- Bittersweet Ending: The sequel, Chill Manor. You finally capture Ophelia... only for Meen to teleport in, free her from her restraints, and mock you (even saying he has a feeling that you and him will be meeting very soon, a subtle way to advertise the first game), before warping out. Ophelia then blows a raspberry and laughs in an obnoxious tone at you before vanishing. Though, on the positive side, you recovered all the pages of the Book of Ages and prevented her from rewriting history. Still, it does little to soften the disappointment from the fact that she gets away with everything.
- Books That Bite: The Library features Book Beasts as enemies. They are books with faces on the side who flap their covers like wings and attack by biting the player.
- Braggart Boss: Meen considers himself to be the most powerful magician in the world, but seeing as he got beaten up by a little goodie-goodie armed with only a good knowledge of grammar, his claim is rather hard to believe. Either he's lying or the global magic level is really low. Some of the grammar puzzles (specifically, the ones where you fix the grammar in letters between him and other magicians) suggest that it's the former. However, he has his all-powerful magical book, can create big monsters and one strong attack spell.
- Breakable Weapons: All weapons (except one) break after a certain number of uses.
- Card-Carrying Villain: I.M. Meen, who is an openly sadistic, shameless child hater.
- Camp Straight: I.M. Meen. His dancing in the intro, his high-pitched voice, his lisp and the fact that he wears a single earring are all very camp but in the sequel, it is revealed that he has a girlfriend or wife called Ophelia Chill.
- Child Hater: Meen, the titular villain, enchanted the book that sucked the player characters into his world so he could torment them.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Downplayed. Ophelia Chill, the villain of the sequel, has a few differences from her predecessor, Meen. She pretends to be a nice person for a little longer than Meen does, and her plans are far more ambitious than Meen's (Meen traps children in a labyrinth, while Chill uses a magic book to literally rewrite the events of history.) However, they're both elderly, petty, childish, overconfident, cackling, and overacting villains who mock the player character and give them an insulting nickname
- Cow Tools: The Laboratory levels are filled with tools with no discernible function.
- Creepy High-Pitched Voice: Meen has a very high-pitched voice. Fitting, considering that he's kind of a Psychopathic Manchild.
- Dem Bones: Skeleton Warriors are grim reaper-esque skeletons who attack with scythes.
- Deranged Animation: Given that it was animated by the same people who did the animation for the Zelda CD-i games, this was bound to happen, which leads to some very creepy expressions from Meen himself.
- Difficulty Levels: The game has three difficulty levels represented by the Roman numerals I, II and III.
- Dracula: The boss of the castle is Count Meenula, a vampire modelled after Dracula, but has the face of I.M. Meen. At first, he presents himself as a painting before coming to life and teleporting near the player. He attacks by biting and summoning Bats.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Although Ophelia Chill only appears in person in Chill Manor, she's mentioned in a few scrolls in I.M. Meen.
- Emergency Energy Tank: Stealth Sneakers restore all of your health. That's because your health is actually your "energy", and the sneakers somehow rejuvenate you.
- Evil Is Hammy: Meen is an archetypical, loud villain; the game opens with him gleefully singing about his plans.
- Evil Laugh: Meen's got some completely and utterly insane ones.
- Evil Librarians: Meen traps any child who studies at his library in his magic labyrinth, where they must fight a variety of monsters, or be locked up forever. Meen constantly talks to the player character to taunt them about their impending fate, only to have a Villainous Breakdown in the climax and attempt to defeat the player himself.
- Evil Sorcerer: Meen, who enchanted the book that sucked the player characters into his world.
- Expository Theme Tune: The opening song to the game essentially informs the player everything that's important to know about the game's premise, that I.M. Meen is an evil sorcerer who's imprisoning children in a magic labyrinth.
- Fade Around the Eyes: Played with in one cutscene. Instead of the background fading away, Meen does this by teleporting in such a way that everything but his eyes disappears, and the eyes disappear a second later.
- Fan Disservice: Ophelia Chill's intro includes a dress lift (fortunately not actually showing anything) and her mooning the camera, topped with Double Entendre lyrics for both moments.
- Final-Exam Boss: After downing I.M. Meen, you're required to solve one final scroll, which contains all the different types of grammatical errors you've encountered throughout the game.
- Flashy Teleportation: Meen himself is an expert in this if nothing else, wielding many ways to appear and disappear, whether it's puffs of smoke, lightning, or sparks.
- Frankenstein's Monster: The boss of the Laboratory, and the penultimate boss of the game, is Frankenmeen, a Frankenstein's Monster with Meen's face who attacks by firing Eye Beams and grabbing the player with his huge arms.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- I.M. Meen makes a comically silly face, complete with Fish Eyes, in the last cutscene when he says "But I'll be BACK!", particularly at the moment when he says "BACK".
- As Meen threatens to "turn you into a... CHIPMUNK!", he momentarily poses in such a way as to look like one.
- Giftedly Bad: I.M. Meen constantly writes poorly written literature that reads like self-aggrandizing self-insert fics and is riddled with grammatical errors. Naturally, very few are willing to publish his books, with publishers sending him angry letters demanding him to stop "mailing them trash" or writing literature, period. Despite this, he's utterly convinced that he's the best writer on the planet, and some of the scrolls with errors the player must fix are extremely positive reviews that are heavily implied to be written by himself or angry letters directed at publishers for refusing to publish his books.
- Glass Cannon: I.M. Meen can go down in ten hits if you know how to finish him off with grammar (othetwise he will get back up). If you are in full health, he can still kill you in just four hits. He is also powerful enough to trap kids in a book.
- Gonk: Even without the Off-Model quality of the animation, Meen isn't a very good-looking guy. In particular, his face is overly thin except for his chin.
- The Goomba:
- Spiders are the weakest enemies in the game, going down in the few punches (though in later levels they become beefier) and actually running away in fear should the player get the upper hand.
- The manual, however, describes Trolls as the weakest enemies. Though they are pretty weak and slow, they still go down in one punch more than Spiders.
- The Grim Reaper: Skeleton Warriors wields scythes and wear purple hooded cloaks, thus giving off the appearance of grim reapers. The manual even calls them such.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: In "Hooray For Meen", Meen manages to slip by two guards of the Toxo Corporation by making it seem that one of them called the other a dope, causing both of them to fight each other.
- Haunted Castle: Levels 25 through 28 take place in the Castle full of ghosts and other spooky monsters. The boss of the level is Count Meenula, a vampire who resembles Dracula, but looks like Meen.
- Helpful Mook: Gnorris, who is Genuinely Gentle.
- Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Meen writes his own literature, in which he sticks himself (or his likeness) as perfectly flawless and irresistably charming main character, with supporting characters existing only to further reinforce his perfect nature. Some of the scrolls in the game are pages taken from four of the books he wrote—"Meen Goes to Mars", "Hooray for Meen", "Meen: Dino Hunter", and "The Temple of Gloom".
- "I Hate" Song: The opening theme song involves the eponymous villain singing about how he hates "goodie-goodies" studying and learning things, and how he banishes them to his labyrinth for doing it.
- Large Ham: The eponymous villain is a seriously good example of such, to the point of being a star across the internet.
- Lizard Folk: Lizard Men appear as enemies in the Caves. They attack with clubs and resemble salamanders or geckos in appearance.
- Loony Librarian: Guess who? He's very hammy, with a Psychopathic Manchild streak, and he only gets more and more unhinged as the player character gets closer to escaping his magic labyrinth. His Creepy High-Pitched Voice and constant Evil Laughs hammer it in even more.
- Mad Scientist: The Laboratory is full of egg-headed Mad Scientists who have much more health than most of the enemies faced before and attack with stethoscopes. According to some notes found in the Laboratory, they also brew power potions for Meen and were responsible for the creation of Frankenmeen, the boss of the level.
- Mascot Villain: The titular I.M. Meen, whose flamboyant nature outshines the rest of the cast and is the source of many a YouTube Poop.
- Meaningful Name: The villain is indeed "meen," in more ways than one.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Gnorris clearly doesn't agree with Meen's plans, and has set things up so that you can free the children he's captured. Presumably he only works for Meen because the alternative is Baleful Polymorph. The scrolls imply that Gnorris was originally one of the gnome contractors Meen hired to build the labyrinth, and that he underwent a full HeelFace Turn on the job (much to the disapproval of his supervisor, Gnick).
- Muck Monster: The boss of the Sewer is a semi-humanoid monster made of sludge and bearing Meen's face called Sludgemeen. He attacks by throwing globs of sludge at the player.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: I.M. Meen = "I am mean."
- Never Say "Die": Zigzagged. On one hand, I.M. Meen "merely" imprisons children instead of killing them, and your health meter is actually an "agility meter" (when it runs out, you fall asleep and get taken back to your cell). One the other hand, the words "die" and "kill" show up from time to time in the scroll puzzles, even having a character named "Dr. Killum" who's mentioned on multiple occasions.
- No Ending: While you do defeat Meen in the ending, the only thing you get after beating the game is one final cutscene...then the game's brief ending credits, before it boots back to the DOS menu. That's it; no explanation of whether you and/or the others got out of the labyrinth, nor even something acknowledging that you won. Sure, it's an educational game, but at least a "THE END" screen would be nice.
- Obviously Evil: Come on, would you trust someone whose name sounds like "I am mean"?
- Off-Model: The animation isn't quite so bad when it's not supposed to be characters you've known since you could first pick up a controller, but still... Notably, Meen's face looks completely different from scene to scene.
- Only Smart People May Pass: Meen hates smart kids, but apparently, doesn't think they're all that smart, because almost every lock in the maze is powered by bad grammar. Literally, just fix the grammar in the sentences written on the maze, and the door opens! Justified in that Gnorris appears to have rigged the locks that way. It doesn't seem to be Meen's intention.
- Our Dragons Are Different: The boss of the Dungeon is Meenmouth, a red T. rex-esque fire-breathing dragon with Meen's face.
- Our Gargoyles Rock: Gargoyles first appear as enemies in the Dungeon. They are fast and constantly hopping, and if the player attacks them, they can jump high to avoid another attack. They also turn to stone once they're beaten.
- Our Giants Are Bigger: Giants in this game are gigantic stone humanoids who possess much more health and much more damage than other mooks.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: According to the scrolls, Meen hired a construction company's worth of gnomes to build his labyrinth. They're mean-spirited by nature, not to mention inept and extremely lazy (although Meen's not exactly the kind of employer you'd go the extra mile for; he keeps them in line mainly by threatening to transform them into any number of unpleasant things). Gnorris is exceptionally kind-hearted by his race's standards, and all the gnomes mentioned in the scrolls share his gnaming convention (Gnick, Gned, Gnorbert, and so on). The gnomes also frequently appear as enemies, explained to be the ones who were transformed by Meen into stone guardians as a punishment for bad behavior. They attack by throwing pickaxes at the player character, and turn into inanimate stone statues once they're beaten.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts in this game resemble Bedsheet Ghosts with disturbing-looking huge-mouthed humanoid faces. They attack by spitting blue energy spheres and biting the player when they come close, and they are as killable as any other enemy.
- Our Minotaurs Are Different: The boss of Catacombs is Meenotaur, a minotaur with I.M. Meen's face. He attacks with his axe or by blowing steam clouds from his nostrils.
- Parenthetical Swearing: I.M. Meen constantly calls you "bookworm", saying the word with high contempt, as if he's saying a slur.
- Player Nudge: Usually the content of the scroll puzzles isn't important (aside from providing story tidbits), but some of them contain hints on how to find hidden switches and passages.
- Portal Book: The magic labyrinth's entrance is a book.
- Psychopathic Manchild:
- Meen, definitely. Not only does he clearly act like a massive pedophile, it gets even worse once you realize that he actually isn't a pedophile; he simply hates innocent schoolchildren so much that he is somehow willing to trap them inside his labyrinth for all of eternity...all while singing and dancing like a lunatic.
- Ophelia Chill is mostly the same. She often speaks and giggles with a nasty tone like that of a little girl pulling a prank, and she is just as dangerous, if not moreso, than Meen, with her plan to screw with time and rewrite history seemingly just because she wants to.
- Punny Name: I.M. Meen, Writewell.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: You can play as a boy named Scott or a girl named Katie. Meen will refer to the player as "bookworm" regardless of chosen gender.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Your basic attack is a quick punch with no cooldown.
- Rat Men: Rat Men appear as enemies in the Sewer. They attack by throwing spiky balls at the player.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Each level opens with a short, taunting poem from I.M. Meen himself.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Meen, by far. In the stories he writes about himself, (with titles that always promote himself, like "Hooray For Meen" or "Meen Goes to Mars" or "You Know How Much I Love Me"), he portrays himself as a valiant, heroic figure who is attractive, smart, strong, and generally the person who gets things done while other characters are simply sidekicks.
- He also refers to himself as "the most powerful magician in the world". Getting defeated by a prepubescent kid does not lend this boast any credibility.
- Spiders Are Scary: Spiders appear as the most basic enemies in many levels of the Labyrinth. Though freaky-looking, they are actually the weakest of all guardians, and the most cowardly, constantly running away from the fearless bookworms.
- Spinning Out of Here: Meen's exit, in the last cutscene.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Ignatius Mortimer Meen.
- Stylistic Suck: Meen is infamous for writing poorly written self-aggrandizing literature. The player can read the pages of four of Meen's books (and correct the grammar on their pages), and as one might expect, they are riddled with grammatical errors such as incorrectly used past/present tenses, bad punctuation, homonyms spread everywhere, and some other mistakes. Even if one removes them, they still read like self-aggrandizing self-insert Gary Stu stories, with Meen's self-inserts being the ones who always do everything right, while everyone else is either an admiring or useless sidekick, an easily beaten villain, or just a filler. In fact, his literature is considered to be so poorly written that some of the scrolls the player has to fix errors on are angry letters delivered from frustrated publishers who demand Meen to stop sending them his badly written literature, who state that his books are so bad that they induce nausea and heart attacks.
- Sword Beam: Roman Centurion enemies can fire magic blasts by swinging their swords.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: Writewell's Book (which also qualifies as an Infinity +1 Sword against regular enemies). Gnorris tells you that you don't stand a chance against Meen without it, and he's right - Meen is immune to everything else.
- Suckiness Is Painful: Exaggerated—one of the publishers I.M. Meen attempted to contract for his books almost threw up after reading four words of "Meen's Adventures in Time". His assistant apparently got a heart attack from reading "Meen Joins the Circus".
- There Are No Adults: Downplayed. Meen and Gnorris are technically adults, but Meen acts like a spoiled child, and Gnorris is a gnome. There are no normal adults. The two kids are apparently alone and unsupervised at the library.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Meen's magic book. Apparently, when someone tries to read it, they get sucked inside instead.
- Unwinnable by Design: If you die in the last level, the game is unwinnable, because you no longer have the only weapon that can damage the final boss.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: The final cutscene is Meen vowing revenge and disappearing. And he actually does reappear during the ending of the sequel, Chill Manor, to escape with the villain!
- Villainous Breakdown: During most of his cutscenes, Meen openly mocks the player. However, as the player progresses and foils Meen's plans towards the end, he becomes increasingly frustrated and angry, he completely snaps and fights the player himself once his labyrinth has been ruined, and when the player finally beats him, he leaves and swears revenge upon them.
- Villain Song:
I.M. Meen: Very scary and confusing. Destination of MY CHOOSING! Magic Labyrinth of I! M! MEEEEEEEEEHEEHEEHEEN!
- I.M. Meen sings a villain song in the very first cutscene, where he describes his hatred of children who study and learn as well as his scheme to use an enchanted book to imprison them in his labyrinth.
- The sequel Chill Manor again starts with the villain of the game singing a song about their wicked intentions at the start of the game, this time having Ophelia Chill sing about her plans to literally rewrite history by revising the torn-out pages of the Book of Ages.
- Villain Teleportation: Meen always appears in a puff of colorful smoke, and he almost always vanishes in electricity.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Meen may be the self-proclaimed "most powerful magician in the world" who has entrapped dozens of kids in his labyrinth, but his plans are ultimately unravelled by fixing bad grammar.
- When Trees Attack: Vegemeen, the boss of Hedgerow Maze, is a living tree with Meen's face that attacks by swiping at with claws and throwing splinters at the player.
- Wicked Wasps: Gonky-looking Wasps appear in Hedgerow Maze as enemies. They attack by biting the player with their huge jaws.
- Wise Old Folk Façade:
- Implied with I.M. Meen himself. He owns a library, and we see children already inside the library, studying, which indicates that they must have trusted Meen enough to go there alone. However, we never actually see Meen act kind towards the kids. All of his scenes paint him as a deranged old wizard who openly despises children. He maybe feigns innocence in a mocking way a few times, but otherwise never hides his villainy.
- Downplayed in Chill Manor. In the brief opening Villain Song, Ophelia Chill at first acts like a nice old lady ("I'm so very glad to meet you / you're most welcome in my home"), but a few seconds later, the tone changes ("I've been waiting for you, dearie / and I've got a big surprise / watch me change the course of history before your very eyes!"). Then she does an Evil Laugh, and from that point on, she is just as much of a Card-Carrying Villain as Meen.