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 mean-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 C Di Games and Hotel Mario, every cutscene feels 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:
- Alphabet Soup Cans: Fixing grammatical mistakes to traverse levels? Why not!
- Antagonist Title: The name of the game and the villain are the same.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Deranged Animation: Given that it was animated by the same people who did the animation for the Zelda CDI games, this was bound to happen, which leads to some very creepy expressions from Meen himself.
- Downer 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. Well, that was pointless!
- 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 Sorcerer: Meen, who enchanted the book that sucked the player characters into his world.
- Expository Theme Tune: The opening song to the game, pretty much.
- 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.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- I.M. Meen's face in the last cutscene, when he says "But I'll be BACK!"
- As Meen threatens to "turn you into a... CHIPMUNK!", he momentarily poses in such a way as to look like one.
- 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 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 one.
- Helpful Mook: Gnorris, who is Genuinely Gentle.
- Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Meen writes his own fanfiction.
- "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.
- Mascot Villain: The titular I.M. Meen, who's 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.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: I.M. Meen = "I am mean."
- 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 a screen 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spinning Out of Here: Meen's exit, in the last cutscene.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Ignatius Mortimer Meen.
- Teleporters and Transporters: 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.
- 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: Very scary and confusing. Destination of MY CHOOSING! Magic Labyrinth of I! M! MEEEEEEEEEHEEHEEHEEN!
- Villain Teleportation: Meen always appears in a puff of colorful smoke, and he almost always vanishes in electricity.
- Wise Old Folk Façade:
- Averted with I.M. Meen himself, 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.