Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 07/19/06 | Genre: Platform
Cloning Clyde reminds me of 16-bit gaming in the 90's, which is a very good thing. It has the basics 2D platformers of the era: a silly premise, a character which can melee and jump, and levels that can exist only because they're part of a video game.
In Cloning Clyde you assume the role of Clyde(s) in an out-of-control genetics lab. Your main goal is to escape, all of you. Clyde and is other cloned selves basically need to make it from one end of the level to another by overcoming various obstacles and enemies.
Clyde's karate moves (you just press 'X') can be used to kill enemies and destroy or move objects, while his not-so-patented running and double-jumping will him move forward. The pure platforming elements have been well crafted, but what really makes things interesting is taking control of numerous Clydes. Each level could have anywhere from two or three to well over a dozen Clydes to rescue. You can switch control of any Clyde on the fly. Part of the gameplay requires platforming action skills while much of the progress is made by solving environmental puzzles. You'll need to take advantage of Clyde's multiplicity to activate switches and all kinds of devices. The difficulty of the game ramps up quite nicely.
Not only will you need to use multiple Clydes to overcome obstacles, but you'll also need to use special powers gained from combining DNA with animals. For instance, combine a Clyde with a frog, and he'll be able to swim under water indefinitely. To finish a level, you need only to bring one Clyde to the level's exit. In order unlock the exit, you'll have to destroy a number of security robots found along the way. However, in addition to rescuing every single Clyde, there are also several hidden items you need to collect if you want to fully complete each level (and score all of those Gamer Points). That's a considerably trickier task.
Cloning Clyde's simple mechanics makes the game very easy to pick up, and the increasing complexity of each level makes it satisfying to finish. There's even multiplayer for both splitscreen and online play. The cooperative mode allows 2-4 players work through the regular single player levels. The battle mode tasks players with destroying opponents' security robots while protecting their own in levels designed specifically for the versus mode. Cloning Clyde's unique mechanics come into play here too. You'll still be managing multiple Clydes and Clyde-animal hybrids and dealing with puzzle-like obstacles as you battle your opponent.
Everything from the dialogue to the sound effects is just plain silly, so cartoon-style graphics fit perfectly. The cel-shading looks good, but the game doesn't seem to be much of the real graphical power of the 360. It would have been nice to seem things rendered with more polygons or some more attractive effects. Still, coupled with the funny animations, the graphics get the job done pretty well as they are. One shame is the scarcity of music in the game.
Cloning Clyde has over 30 levels in addition to the multiplayer mode. You can complete most of the levels in less than 10 minutes, often much less, but if you want unlock all of the cheats and earn all of the Gamer Points, you're going to be playing levels multiple times. If you've played your fair share of platformers, there probably isn't much in Cloning Clyde that you haven't seen before, but it's all put together really well, and remains fun to the end thanks to the continuous increase in difficulty. There are a lot of games available on Xbox Live Arcade that cost $10, but should really only be $5. I don't feel that way about Cloning Clyde. It's one Live Arcade game that I'm very happy to have.