Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil Review
Since the entrance into the three-dimensional world, platform titles have been slowly decreasing in numbers, and have neared to be defunct. Of course brave 3rd party developers and publishers knew that they, only they could prevent the extinction of one of the most beloved genres in gaming. Few platform titles have offered the grace and excellence that was present in legendary titles such as Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, Sonic and Knuckles, and Klonoa. Those titles were very far and between, approximately --if not more-- three years ranges between each game, and frankly that's a year too much. On occasion some decent platform titles would arrive on the PSOne, but their fire would be extinguished quickly. And when amazing platform titles made way into the states, they were ignored by the public, who was too fascinated with their Tekken, Final Fantasy and Gran Turismo. Games such as Tomba and Klonoa were the only platform titles worth any recognition, because they blended 3D environments with 2D gameplay, for a result that was just shy of perfection. Well our pink haired Tomba has seen his sequel on the PSOne, and now it's Klonoa's turn. Not as widely recognized as he should've been, Klonoa returns to make his print in the cement, and it'll remain there for ages.
Platformers have always been pretty to look at, because of their vibrant colors. Make no mistake about it, Klonoa 2 is one of the prettiest videogames you're likely to see, not to mention colorful. Using a light dose of cel-shading, Klonoa's character detail is gorgeous. It creates an almost comic book like environment, but at the same time casts a three-dimensional shade. The technique isn't as apparent in Klonoa 2, as say in Jet Grind Radio, but it's there nevertheless. Since the characters still feature a 3D shape, they of course are made up of polygons, and hundreds of them. The level of detail is incredibly high, the characters look and move very fluidly, and look astounding up-close. This is certainly some of the best character detail you're likely to come across in a while. Aside from the characters, Klonoa 2's attention to detail probably lies heaviest in the environments.
As Klonoa progresses through his journey, you will make way through dozens of gorgeous scenery, including snow, an amusement park, a rainy ruin, and even a water-boarding level with some amazing scenes. A rising-sun doesn't compare to the beauty that is featured in Klonoa 2's scenery. I was floored after I had witnessed the magnitude of colors that had been bestowed upon my eyes, in a word; it was eye-candy galore. Okay, so that's three words. Featuring 3D background environments, Klonoa 2 never fails to astonish at any time, the game is loaded with spectacular views. The stages are diverse, they last a good while, and in size comparison put pretty much every other game's levels to shame. As they should be, the levels are complete with checkpoints, and they are a big necessity, because like I said these levels are huge! Overall, this is one of the prettiest packages on the PS2.
Despite the show of non-stop eye-candy, Klonoa 2 has gameplay to back up its looks. This time, instead of Klonoa's world of Phantomile, our floppy eared friend is tossed into the world of Lunatea. Moving across rough waters and unconscious, Klonoa finds himself in the aid of Popka and Lolo. Both Popka and Lolo understand the importance of Klonoa, as he is the dream traveler and is possibly the only one who can save Lunatea. The primary goal is to find and sound all of Lunatea's bells, while making your way through 6 areas, which feature various stages each. Using the map, you can move Klonoa to any available level, for either further progress or just replaying. Each level consists of various portions, and you will have to enter these portions to continue your wonderful adventure. Some levels are longer than others, while others feel almost never ending, which mysteriously is a great thing. Klonoa 2's gameplay revolves around basic things, but the game never feels like a cliché.
With the use of his ring, Klonoa is able to perform many tasks, some of which are crucial to his journey. The gameplay in Klonoa 2 isn't immensely deep, nor is it shallow. The reason for that, is because the game plays smooth and never feels confusing. Even though the levels are diverse, they are never repetitive and move along smoothly. Namco did a spectacular job of creating one of the most addictive, wholehearted, and -most importantly- fun platform titles. If you don't play Klonoa 2, you most likely are missing a heart.
Boasting a DVD package, you'd expect Klonoa 2 to feature voice acting, but instead it doesn't, well not exactly. You see in vein of Nintendo's Banjo-Kazooie, the dialogue in Klonoa 2 is gibberish. But unlike Banjo, the language of Klonoa 2 is in fact diverse. Listening to the dialogue, you won't notice a single word repeated, each and every different word has its own pronunciation, something very uncommon if I do say so myself. I was shocked when I thought of the troubles that Namco must've went into, in a way the team has created a language, it sounds weird to say, but in almost every case it's true. Be it as it may, the voice acting is awesome, it doesn't lag, which means hesitation is pretty much non-existent. And as for the soundtrack, I can't say nothing but praise. It's like a mix of Final Fantasy, Mario and Zelda, a peculiar but a very in-synch combination.
Talk about perfect controls. Namco has done it, they've probably created the best control frame of any platform title to date. What makes the controls perfect is their simplicity, you have two jump buttons, and two shoot buttons. Everything else is pretty much useless. Jumping from platform to platform (realistically speaking) is never a task, and you'll rarely find yourself in what seems to be an impossible jump. Now don't misconstrued that into thinking the game is easy, because it isn't, it's the controls that are fascinating. Both analog and digital are compatible with the gameplay, so those who prefer one of are in luck.
Granted this review is a bit late, but there were various problems of attaining a copy of the game, which included it being sold out and out of warehouse stock. It's either that not too many copies were produced and shipped, or that gamers have been flocking to stores to pick up what is easily the best platform title since Super Mario Bros. 3 and the original Klonoa for Playstation. Readers please, lend me your ears; if you have half of a brain you will get Klonoa 2. If you have money and don't know what to buy, you will buy Klonoa 2. If you breathe the air of this planet, you will buy Klonoa 2. You couldn't ask for more gorgeous visuals, or even more inspired gameplay. Titles like these come once every blue moon, and mark my words if you haven't picked up Klonoa 2 by now, there is seriously something wrong with you.
8/20/2001 Arnold Katayev