Sophie's Petpets: Friends or Foes?
HAUNTED WOODS - Most of us have, at some point or another, played the game 'Sophies
Stew', correct? Well, in case you haven't, it's a fun game in which one must make
sure all of the mysterious swamp witch's ingredients make it into her bubbling
cauldron. We are told very specifically only two rules: Don't drop more than five
of Sophie's ingredients; and watch out for the hungry Meowclops. But I'm continuously
forced to wonder, is this pesky petpet really as menacing as the instructions
would have us believe? I'm afraid I must admit that after several hours of careful
consideration, I still don't have an answer, though I'm more inclined to classify
it as pest more than menace.
Let us take into account a few situations. How many times has this happened
to you: You lose an item, say, a fish, to the Meowclops, and while you're preoccupied
with watching it transform temporarily into a Maraquan ("Well, the instructions
did tell me to watch!" is a nice excuse in this case), Sophie throws something
worth a ton of points that you have almost no hope of catching from where you
currently have the wand, and not enough time to move the wand to save it. In
this case, the Meowclops seems to work against us, providing a distraction.
Though why Sophie would harbor such a distraction if she wants us to help her
with her spell is beyond me.
Admittedly it is rather annoying to have this possible danger practically under
your nonexistent 'feet.' I've continually seen the petpet move and glanced down
at it, mostly because of its movement, and ended up staring at its hypnotizing
yellow eye long enough to lose at least one item.
There have, however, been times when the Meowclops' presence has been a comfort
to me. When it catches something, after all, one does still get points, or at
least, usually. Even on the rare occasions when you don't get points for it,
that item doesn't go toward the five ingredient limit, which has saved this
writer's neck several times already.
I can't tell you how many times I've had two items in the air, and only enough
time to save one. On such occasions, I find myself blessing the Meowclops for
being there to sacrifice one to. There are, of course, times when it decides
to abandon what I've given it to go after the ingredient I've gone after. At
such points, I usually note Sophie is throwing me low and short bouncing items
like codestones and almost gummy rats, that I more often than not drop. This
doesn't help my score, and I usually quit and start over at this point.
So again and again, I find myself looking at the single, expectant eye of the
waiting Meowclops, and asking, 'Why are you here?' (This earns strange looks
from my family.)
Is the Meowclops there to provide a distraction to the unwary gamer? Or is
it a safety net for those not quick enough to save all their ingredients? Is
it merely a pest designed to make the game tougher and earn people who think
too much odd looks and shushes in the library?
It may be all three. For all we know, it serves a hidden, even more sinister
purpose. Then again, Sophie wouldn't keep something like that around, would
she? She seems to be nice, as witches go.
But I digress.
There is another petpet in Sophie's home, after all. The Droolik flies above
the screen and allows itself to get hit in the head by many of Sophie's ingredients,
merely so it can drop a bonus to us. It sounds as it this rather eerie looking
petpet is our best friend, right? Wrong!
What kind of creature actually likes being hit in the head every time it flies
across the room?
I don't know how many times I've been fooled by the Droolik into sacrificing
an ingredient for a bonus, and then either having it speed up so I miss, or
having it shrink my wand. Let me tell you, the wand is almost too small as it
is, by the time I'm willing to sacrifice ingredients for the pickup. Then, as
if sacrificing one isn't enough, that shrinking bonus that I really, really
don't want is in the way of another ingredient, usually an important one, causing
me to miss two. At this point I've usually lost all five ingredients and lose
There are of course, those rare occasions when the Droolik drops a green, extra
ingredient bonus, allowing me to recover a dropped item, or adding a sixth to
the limit. This is particularly useful when I lose too many items to begin with.
However, it usually only has this type of bonus when I must sacrifice an ingredient
to get it, leaving me wondering, 'why did I bother?' If it costs me one, it
gains me one; there's really no point in it, is there? Occasionally, though,
it does decide to help me.
When I have several ingredients in the air at once, a blue 'large wand' bonus
is ever so helpful. With the larger wand I usually save three of four items.
If the Droolik is in a particularly good mood, I can even get a large wand and
an extra ingredient, though this isn't very often.
Granted, these instances are all from my personal experience. Perhaps these
petpets merely have something against me, though I don't see what. I'm always
so kind to them. Well, except for denying the Meowclops food and hitting the
Droolik in the head... oh. That might explain it.
As I said before, no creature can actually enjoy being hit on the head every
time it flies across the room. Perhaps the Droolik acts out of pure spite. Who
knows? I'd mark this as a potential ally. Maybe if we give it a break every
few bonuses it will actually help us when we do hit it?
As to the issue of the Meowclops. Is it a friend, or an enemy? Give the game
a couple of tries and decide for yourself. After all, that's the only way you
can know for certain.