Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament
Klonoa finds his way onto the GBA for an all new platform adventure.
Klonoa is a quirky kind of brand indeed, but it's one that should definitely be appreciated. The floppy-eared hero, armed with a ring that allows him to grab enemies and blow them up like balloons, originally debuted on the Sony PlayStation years ago with Klonoa: Road To Phantomile, and then returned on the PlayStation 2 with Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, one of the system's most likable platforming adventures. Granted, Klonoa Beach Volleyball didn't make it to our shores like I wanted it to, but we still got a Klonoa game for the Game Boy Advance upon its first year on shelves, so it made up for it. Now we're back to the world of Klonoa with this, Dream Champ Tournament, and it may not be the most original game in the world, but it's still lots of fun.
In the game, Klonoa finds himself battling against other entrants in the Dream Champ Tournament, a tournament that will determine who is clearly the Dream Champion. Klonoa's got a lot to fight against, but perseveres with the help of a ring that, like I said above, allows enemies to be grabbed for either throwing purposes or to help jettison the floppy-eared hero to higher levels.
The gameplay is basic, but the game design is not. Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament features more terrific level design, hiding such items as gems, stars, and 1-Ups all throughout a level and then giving you a number of different enemies to use to reach them sufficiently. The cool thing about launching an enemy beneath you is that it serves two purposes- it propels you upward AND also possibly destroys crates that are beneath you. This comes in handy in the later levels, as you'll find yourself scratching your head at some puzzles until the inevitable solution unfolds. It's really great design.
The graphics in Klonoa 2 are colorful and lively, bringing a huge, breathing world to elegant life. Klonoa himself manages to animate simply, but still looks great. The backgrounds show exquisite detail, everything from mountain scapes to huge tropical settings. And the game features a neat little unfolding of the map, using rotational effects to get Klonoa where he needs to go. The main boost in graphics comes in the form of 3-D stages, where Klonoa rides a surfboard and collects items at a rapid pace. They're not the smoothest 3-D stages around (and, sometimes, it's really hard to see items), but they're cool anyway.
As far as sound, it fits the bill. The soundtrack is pretty good and the sound effects, although sparse, don't become anything of a distraction. I would've liked something a little closer to earlier entries in the series, to sort of reminisce about Klonoa's previous adventures, but beggars can't be choosers, I suppose.
The bottom line is, Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament, is another great platformer in a genre that is slowly shifting to 3-D, but hasn't made the movement quite yet. If you're looking for something thoroughly challenging and fun all the same, this is a dream come true.
What's Hot: The bright, colorful and detailed graphics.
What's Not: The quality of the 3D levels can hinder gameplay.