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Sophie's Petpets: Friends or Foes?

by lolorianqueen


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 the game.

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.

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