Pandemonium 2 went in a strange direction. The world environment and overall sensation is extremely different and darker than the original. Fortunately, the game mechanics remain the same, and a bit better.
STORY/WORLD—Sex sells and Crystal Dynamics picked up on it. Nikki, the cute acrobat, is now a sultry sorceress and CD really plays up on this to the point where it’s a bit annoying. Personally, I thought the original perky Nikki was more fun and original. Oh well.
Fargus is still punchy, but more…insane; less jester, more lunatic and a pyromaniac. Sid, the talking puppet now sports a Brooklyn/gangsta accent, yet has the funnier lines in the cinemas.
The levels are no longer bright and sunny, but rather, dark, surreal, and very obviously inspired by acid trips, real or imagined.
This time around our gang is after the Comet of Infinite Possibilities, a magical comet passing above their world and they must reach it before the evil Goon Queen does. Basically, our heros want more power than the bad guys. Simple. All of this is explained in the entertaining opening cinema.
Basically the same as the first---Progress through levels with lots of jumping and various attacks. Whereas in the first game you could occasionally transform into animals in P2 the changes are more mechanical. You get to drive a tank, a giant robot and even a roller coaster….the latter for just a bit.
An improvement over the first is more balance between the characters. Fargus is animated a bit better and can use Sid the puppet as a projectile weapon. Nikki retains her useful double-jump. Power-ups also give different abilities depending on whom you are using. You can also grab the edge of a platform which is useful or annoying, depending on what you’re trying to do. Between levels, you can also do a bonus skateboard trial, but it’s rather difficult.
The color palette has been overhauled. Gone are the bright colors and details from the first. Now it seems like the programmers used the same colors over and over again so all the levels look like they were painted from the same set. Still, there are a few cool lighting effects in the later levels.
Less memorable then the first. Some tunes are catchy; some are not. Basically the music varies from ambient to just plain weird experimental electronica. Nothing to inspire a CD soundtrack.
Humor played well in the first Pandemonium! cinemas and is just as prominent in the second’s. This game is probably dirt cheap now, so if you like platform games, you should buy this and the first. While it doesn’t have as much humor as Jak and Daxter, it does well and can be considered a “precursor” to the humor/platformers. One last thing--This is the only game I’ve played where there are outtakes. They alone make the game fun to play over and over.
PS1 Pandemonium 2 Review - 8/10
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1 January 2009
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