Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review #358: Pandemonium 2

 I wanted to hate this game.
 Pandemonium 2 is the darkier and edgier sequel to Pandemonium!, a 2.5D platform game feauting the crazier redesign of the Jester and the sexier redesign of Nikki. And we are off to a bad start.

 Alright, so the game is trying really hard to appear hardcore and grown up, but what little story there is plays against this new direction. It's something about a comet that grants wishes crashing down on earth and both Nikki and the Jester wanting their wishes granted. Simple, silly, straight to the point and little more than window dressing in the grand scheme of things.
 The game features 19 levels of jumping and running. You can play as either character, Nikki having access to a double jump, her only means of offence being jumping on enemies' heads, while the Jester gets some awkward attacks at the cost of only being able to jump once. I benched the Jester ASAP and never looked back, the usefulness of the double jump makes up for not having any other means to defend yourself, regardless, you can just tap a button at the level select screen to switch characters.

 The game has some rather floaty controls and physics, which I guess is to be expected out of an old 2.5D platformer, but it never manages to feel right. Some camera angles can be downright nasty, closing in on your character a bit too much, or offering you little time to react on some of the vehicle-like sections of certain stages, turning these into little more than memory exercises. Level design is all over the place, there were a few set pieces that I though were ingenious, but then there're some stages that are very mazelike in nature, I just pushed forward hoping I was on the right track and it got me through.
 But what really takes the cake is the mess of a level, but appropriately called, 'Hate Tank', in which you have to control a tank, aiming up and down with the analog stick, as well as shooting to the background or foreground by using L1 and R1 to move around your turret. It's hard to control, it's floaty, it's boring and slow paced... it's the game's lowest point. That's not taking into account the disastrous last level, in which you've to traverse the same areas over and over again, with little changes each time, it's long, boring, dull and repetitive.

 This is an old platform game, so it runs on lives, run out of them and it's back to level 1 for you. While the game can be sorta hard, bottomless pits galore couple with floaty jumping mechanics, the game is rather generous with lives, so you shouldn't have too many problems getting to the end. The developers also decided to do away with game saves, so it's back to passwords with this on!
 All that said, the game has a very 90s charm to it which made it hard for me to hate it. Believe me, I wanted to hate the game, but I couldn't. Maybe at the time the game could've passed off as good, but it's way too archaic for today's standards, and unless you've a soft spot for games of its era, you're better off ignoring Pandemonium.

 5.5 out of 10

No comments:

Post a Comment