Once upon a time, the King of Bowtudgel’s beautiful, redheaded, and obnoxiously thin daughter, Princess Carmeana, was kidnapped and held ransom. The King, not wanting to incur the expense of deploying the army to rescue her, decides instead to recruit a “fairy boy” to go on the Glorious Quest to Rescue the Princess™.
Meanwhile, in the Flyover Province of Borrington, there lived a poor farm boy named Kai (pronounced “Lance”). One day, as he was trudging back to town after his morning threshing, he encountered a fairy named Tabitha, and rescued her from another fairy who was trying to sell her Facebook IPO stock. Tabitha decided to tag along with Kai for awhile (it was the least she could do).
As luck (or Destiny, depending on whether you believe Tabitha or Kai) would have it, they soon encountered a royal army recruiter who was looking for a fairy boy. Kai’s Glorious Quest to save the hot rich skinny redhead had begun.
The Ditty of Carmeana is a comic parody of video games in general and The Legend of Zelda series in particular, in the zany, spoofy style of Mel Brooks or Monty Python.
The overall story arc of the game is a parody of Zelda‘s Rescue the Princess™/Save the World™ cliche. (In this game, all cliches are trademarked.) Kai’s mission is not unlike Link’s; the only difference is all the hilarious situations Kai finds himself in.
Like Link in Zelda, Kai will visit many towns and dungeons (temples) on his quest. Each town and dungeon parodies a popular game. For example, the first dungeon is a chateau haunted with walking skeletons (sort of): it’s a parody of the Resident Evil series. There is a dungeon in a cave that is a parody of Tomb Raider, and a city with rampant crime that is a parody of GTA, and so on.
Naturally, I can’t reveal too many jokes without spoiling it, but here’s a very unrepresentative sample:
- Making fun of the old exploding barrel cliche: barrels explode when shot with a crossbow.
- And then exaggerating it: even when filled with water (or liquid helium).
- Parodying GTA: Kai can hijack oxcarts.
- Making fun of characters with bottomless inventory: Kai carries a refrigerator around in his pocket.
- General silliness: the currency in the kingdom is the frequent-flyer mile.
- Physical humor: clumsiness is always funny.
- Self-deprecation: this game is really cheap.
The game takes place in The Kingdom of Bowtudgel, which is ostensibly medieval, but really isn’t. In the same way that the Flintstones are the “modern stone-age family”; Bowtudgel is the “modern medieval kingdom”.
You can download the old demo of the first level for free from IndieDB.
The Playthroughs, or, The Spoilers
The Ditty of Carmeana has the honor of having been featured in several prominent live streams and Youtube videos. (Granted, they were playing through it as examples of bad games, but whatever.) Here are some playthroughs the really highlight The Ditty of Carmeana.
These videos will ruthlessly spoil the demo which is mostly the same as the first 20% of the full game. You have been warned.
The first person to play though the game: