Gnome On The Range

Originally Published: 11 October 2009

Gnomes.

Cute, colourful guardians of the garden, or a sinister menace to be thwarted?

This week alone, I have come across two rather less-than-friendly sets of gnomes, making me wonder if the sweet, innocent rod-holding bearded persona is a cover for something much, much worse.

Tower South Park Let’s Go Defense Play has, amongst the waves of ginger kids, homeless and terrorists, let hundreds of Underpants Gnomes loose on the town.

These pointy-hatted, bearded menaces, normally seen at 3.30am trying to steal your underwear, descend on the town by the bucket-load and it’s up to you to stop them with carefully positioned towers in order to stop the town being destroyed. I won’t say anymore, as Loz is currently reviewing the game, but it certainly raised my awareness of the gnome as a force to be reckoned with.

While the South Park gnomes are the more traditional, Risen has shown me the darker side of gnome culture. As I explore the mysterious island, I have stumbled across many a group of gnomes. These weren’t the happy garden variety gnomes, however. Risen’s gnomes are something else, something far more hideous.

While the evidence above may paint a picture of a simple creature, one that doesn’t pose much of a challenge as you journey around the island, you should not let appearances deceive you. When you encounter a pack of Gnomes you will find yourself fighting for your life. Giggling maniacally, some will rush you while others will hang back in the shadows just waiting for the right moment to throw something hard at you. This is especially true at night, where the darkness I mentioned in my review descends upon the land and you can barely see your sword in front of your face.

Gnomes are particularly hard to spot when they’re hiding in the undergrowth. At night, they’re even harder to find and while they’re throwing things at you, constantly draining your health, you’re moving rapidly hoping that your character will catch sight of the miscreant and highlight him on screen. Once you’ve found him, you’ll pummel him, but make sure there’s not another one throwing things at you.

One thing that is common to both the South Park and Risen gnomes is the mob mentality. Gnomes hunt in packs. They move as a group. They never act alone. So, next time you’re out and about and you see a beautifully tended garden, take a closer look. Is that a gnome you see, sitting by the pond, trying to catch non-existent fish with a hook-less line? Just remember what you’ve learnt here today.

They’re never alone…