Nobody could’ve guessed that the maniacal, suicidal penguin-like creatures from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness would some day have their very own game. But the undeniably charming – yet altogether flaky – denizens of evil required more attention, which is why we got Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? A quality side-scrolling platformer and supremely challenging, the game was a throwback to the good ol’ days and generated quite the fan following. It’s hardly the type of game strategy/RPG aficionados would enjoy but somehow, the Prinny seems to attract a ton of people. So now, it’s time for another zany adventure: Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! Etna, ruler of the Netherworld, has misplaced her panties and it’s up to 1,000 intrepid purple servants to retrieve them…before she gets really mad. If you don’t succeed, Etna will turn all Prinnies into…banana hammocks.
In another colorful side-scrolling platformer/action title, the Prinnies set off on their most important and dangerous adventure yet. You have to track down demons who carry rare artifacts around, which is supposed to attract the phantom thief who has stolen your queen’s frilly things. Now, we know what you’re thinking- “if there’s no easier mode, I just won’t be able to play it.” The first game really was ridiculously hard. But Nippon Ichi has – albeit reluctantly – instituted an easy mode for all you babies out there; and yes, it’s dubbed “Baby.” In Normal mode, your health is indicated by scarves but if you must opt for Baby mode, those scarves turn to diapers. You’ll even get the benefit of safety blocks, ya big whiner. Of course, if you don’t want to trade in your testicles for an easier romp, you can just play on Standard or Hell’s Finest difficulty, both of which have the capability to make you cry.
Your Prinny will once again be able to perform a regular jump, along with his nifty pirouette and butt-stomp maneuvers, which will help you to rack up points. One scores points the way they did in the old days: just take down enemies. By defeating many in a row, your combo meter will fill and when it’s fully charged, you’ll enter the extra helpful Break mode, which increases the power of your attacks for a short time. Obviously, this is incentive to play well and string together a bunch of attacks but if you can’t manage it, Baby mode will rescue you once again. You don’t have to worry as much about the combo meter because at every checkpoint, you’ll automatically hit Break mode. Either way, you’ll have the devastating option of the “Prinnikaze,” where you hit the R and Square buttons when airborne, which will turn you invincible as you dive-bomb your foes. The Prinny does have the skills to survive; he only needs your skill to prove his ability.
Yes, you do have 1,000 lives to work with but you also have a time limit. You have exactly 10 hours to locate Etna’s panties and the timer will continue to tick away as you progress. In between the levels, you can always return to the castle hub and talk to your buddies; to return to the action, just climb into a giant cannon and let yourself be “shot” into the next stage. You can expect plenty of different environments and settings, and although the controls ought to be plenty simple and accessible, mastery of those controls is what ultimately matters. And of course, you really have to be into the whole uber-quirky anime thing, or this likely won’t interest you. It’s specifically for a certain group of fans, and you know if you’re in that group…you’ve long since replaced “dude” with “dood” in your IM chats.
12/7/2010 Ben Dutka