Klonoa - Door to Phantomile

a game by Namco Ltd.
Genre: Adventure/RPG
Platform: PSX
Editor Rating: 7.7/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
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Namco delves into platform gaming with Klonoa, a gorgeous side-scrolling adventure game with a definitely young look I and feel. This review's ' based on the Japanese version, but the U.S. version is expected to be identical, and Klonoa's beautiful graphics, rich soundtrack, and responsive interface demonstrate unmistakable quality.

You play solo as Klonoa, a hero who flies across six levels using his large floppy ears, zapping enemies with his magic crystal ring along the way. Klonoa also has the unique ability to ride on enemies to achieve his goals, feats facilitated by smooth, responsive controls. The luscious, detailed graphics create a believable 3D environment; however, gameplay follows a set path and is not true 3D (just like Pandemonium 2). The end result is a young-looking, somewhat formulaic platformer that's solid, fun-filled, and easy to pick up and play.

ProTips:

  • Bounce on your enemies or hitch a ride on them to reach higher objectives.
  • Avoid being surrounded. Always keep enemies to one side.

Download Klonoa - Door to Phantomile

PSX

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

This 3-D platformer caught our attention way back at E3--where it was shown on tape--mainly because it's not the kind of game we expected from Namco. Of course with cutesy games like this one, Point Blank and the forthcoming Pac-Man Ghost Zone, Namco's lineup looks as diverse as ever.

The game has you guiding Klonoa, a kitty who proudly wears a PAC-Man cap and whose ears are topped with hands. Accompanied by his ball-shaped buddy, Huppo, Klonoa travels through nearly 30 stages reminiscent of the scrolling 3-D levels in Pandemonium!, except he'll stop once in a while to chat with various characters.

Klonoa can use his ears to grab enemies and bounce them off the wall or lob them at other baddies. He can also flap his ears to extend jumps and reach out-of-the-way platforms. The levels are filled with slides and winding tracks, and Klonoa will battle at least six Bosses during the course of his adventure. Although Klonoa doesn't seem particularly easy, Namco is gearing the game toward a younger audience.

Overview

I have always been partial to a good side-scrolling platform game. The PSX hasn't had too many "old school" platform games and Klonoa does not quite fit into the old school category, but if it is side-scrolling platform adventure you crave, Klonoa should keep at least the younger kids in the house happy.

You play Klonoa, a resident of the wind village in the faraway world of Phantomile. From what I can tell, Klonoa is a dog-like creature with long ears that he can use to levitate for short periods of time. Klonoa has a dream that a spaceship crashes in their lands. One day a ship actually crashes, so Klonoa decides he needs to investigate. It turns out that the ship houses evil. It is up to you to navigate your way through six different levels, saving the Phantomilian prisoners. Too bad the game ends so soon!

Gameplay

Klonoa is best described as a 3D platform game that keeps you on a set path. Instead of having the ability to explore in and out of the screen, you are stuck going just left and right. This is a good thing because it completely eliminates any of the tricky camera angle problems that you see in true 3D platform games. Sure, it does limit your path, but it also makes the game a breeze to play.

Even though the game does not allow you to roam freely, some levels do have forking paths that give you the option of going one direction or another. This did give you a little more freedom but it usually turned out that one path would dead-end just a short distance after you took it, forcing you back to the other direction. This usually meant that there was only one exit out of the level and you could not really screw it up. This was good because you never got lost or wondered if you went the wrong direction. Sure, it is not too difficult to figure out, but I think this will help the younger gamers (I assume this game is geared toward a younger audience).

The basic idea of the game is to save the prisoners of your world and work your way to the confrontation with the evil Ghadius. While working your way through the levels, you will collect colored gems and when you reach 100, you get a free guy. There are plenty of pick-ups along the way that keep you in the extra lives and even a fairy that multiplies your gems for a short period of time.

One thing that is a little different from the traditional platform game is that you can't jump on the enemies heads to kill them. Since this is pretty much a standard in platform games, it will take you a bit to break yourself of the habit. Instead, you are armed with one mean Wind Bullet. The Wind Bullet reaches out and grabs an enemy, inflates it and makes it become a weapon. Now instead of jumping on the head of the enemy, you throw the bloated bodies of the enemy at other bad guys. You can also use the inflated bodies to aid in jumping higher and to throw at other objects, causing them to open up or perform some other action. This was a nice change but it was a bit tricky to get the hang of.

I did have a few minor complaints with this game that I think should be mentioned. The first complaint regards the little cut sequences that happen throughout the game. Klonoa is always running into friends and foes, and the game changes to little animated cut scenes. That is fine, but these cut scenes were obviously not well-translated from the import version. The text is nothing like the way people (or, in this case, dogs) talk. Also, instead of having the characters speak in English along with the text, they make squeaks and squeals that are no language that I have ever heard. I thought that if they were going to take the time to make squeaks they should have gone the extra mile and just translated the noises into English. As it stands now, these cut scenes are almost painful to sit through.

The second thing that bothered me about the game was that it was a bit short. There are only a total of six levels. If you are just trying to make it to the end, you can rip through the game in no time, at least until you hit the last level. If you want to make the game last a little longer, you will try and release all 6 prisoners in each level. This did make things a bit harder and you had to use your head more, but it was still too short. I guess that the younger gamers will like it because they should be able to finish the game, but for me, it was just way too short and too easy.

Graphics

Namco is awesome when it comes to 3D graphics. Klonoa does nothing to disappoint. Actually, I can almost say that these are some of the best graphics from Namco to date, and that is quite a compliment. All the different worlds looked incredible. The backgrounds were just astonishing, from the windmills to the waterfalls. The graphics are definitely the best part of the game, well worth the price of admission on their own. The 3D work is well done and you definitely get a good feeling of depth, not always the easiest thing to accomplish as we have seen in some 3D games in the past.

Bottom Line

If you are a kid, have kids or want to act like a kid for a while, this game is perfect. For more seasoned gamers, Klonoa will come to an end too quickly, but this is perfect for the kids. The game breaks away from traditional platform games in some areas and follows the traditional formula in others, making the game feel comfortable. The linear 3D environments and awesome graphics keep you on track throughout the game, and you rarely ever feel lost. All in all, I would say to give this game a shot.

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