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Klonoa 2
Review By:  Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Namco
Publisher:   Namco
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Platformer
ESRB:   Everyone
Date Posted:   10-15-01

The PlayStation era can best be known for the time when 3D games were fully introduced into the public masses. Every genre you can name had series and titles going through with the full three-dimensional makeover, creating some pretty visuals (for the time), although in many-a-cases at the expense of gameplay. With the exception to Konamiís Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, there was quite a dearth of quality 2D platforming games. Eventually, along came a little 2D Ĺ gem called Klonoa, a side-scrolling platformer based on a strait plane with 3D backgrounds. The game had charming, enjoyable gameplay that most people overlooked for being too kiddy like.

Now that weíre into the 21st century, Namco apparently wanted to make a sequel to its original PSone cult hit. And even though gamers are still generally obsessed with the sharpest and fastest 3D graphics, the big Nam' wanted to take another stab at the series with the updated PS2 hardware. Klonoa 2 still retains the old 2D Ĺ gameplay, but instead of using sprites Namco decided to turn the game into a fully cell-shaded visual feast like no other game before it. The worlds are illustrated by bold, striking characters and environments that animate like a Saturday morning cartoon. The designs on whole generate "character" that would make Warner Bros. blush. The atmosphere is top-class and has that level of polish that few PS2 games have attained so far. To be blunt, the look and feel of Klonoa 2 is outstanding.

Gameplay-wise, there isnít much changed from the initial PSone game Ė which isnít bad in most cases. Our protagonist, Klonoa, runs from left to right and vice versa jumping over obstacles and sucking up baddies with his powers, which can be used for either super jumps or as projectiles. Although K2 wonít win any awards for innovation, Namco kept the pace and mood fairly easy for most of the game. There are a few challenging boss fights (which, like any good platformer, require you to learn a bossí pattern and then manipulate it) and puzzles to be figured out, but K2 isnít a brain scratcher. My only gripe at this point is the gameís longevity, which can be conquered pretty easily in a few sittings.

What makes the game more than just a standard hop-n-bop game, though, is the depth and scope of each level. Thanks to the lush graphics, K2ís camera swoops and pans around Klonoa and his environments for some truly breathtaking views and experiences. Few next-gen games have captured this enlightened sensation as Klonoa 2 does, although Iím positive that it wouldnít matter anyway as K2 does it so darn well.

Controlling Klonoa is a breeze, too. With only a few buttons required to jump and toss enemies, any age group can pick up and play the game within minutes. Though a few more different moves and attack/jump techniques would have been welcomed into the game to diversify Klonoaís repertoire, Namco kept the game to the basics as to not over-indulge the player.

As far as sound goes, Klonoa 2 is a dream. The bops, hits and enemy moves are all subtle, but nice sounding and rich in flavor ala an old school 16-Bit platformer. Characters speak in videogame jargon, somewhat like Banjo-Kazooie, but they all have that undeniable charm and personal feel to them. However, the music is where K2ís audio stands firmest. The in-game music and cutscene melodies are perfectly scored to the specific sceneís events and happenings. Here too I noticed Klonoa 2 has the fun and light mood music fit the gameplay just perfectly, an art that seems to be lost with many new games coming out.

All in all, Klonoa 2 is an absolutely stupendous game. This game redefines how a game genre can be redefined with the correct art direction and design. Its length may not be a high standpoint, but K2ís heart and fun deserves a standing ovation.

HIGHS:

  • Beautiful graphical style
  • Downright fun gameplay
  • Audio on whole is a treat
  • Easy to pick up

LOWS:

  • A little too short
  • Game could use some more challenging puzzles

FINAL VERDICT:

Nearly all parts of the game are designed and executed perfectly. With gameplay that hails back to the "Golden Age" of gaming, Klonoa 2 plays like a classic. Donít let the colorful look fool you, Klonoa 2 is a must-buy.

Overall Score: 9.4

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