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Klonoa - Empire of Dreams

Developer: Namco | Publisher: Namco
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/11/01 | Genre: Puzzle

Way back during the console war between the Saturn, Playstation, and Nintendo 64, there was a new platformer introduced from Namco onto the Playstation. This game was Klonoa and it was a 2D game built within a 3D engine. This unique approach provided PSX owners with hours of gaming fun. Earlier this year, Namco unleashed Klonoa 2 for the Playstation 2. While some elements were changed that made the original so much fun, overall it was an incredible game and is still one of the best PS2 games available. Finally, Namco released the first Klonoa game on a non Sony system. Klonoa - Empire of Dreams, for the Game Boy Advance, continues the Klonoa franchise while adding new elements not seen before in the other games.

The newest feature added to the Klonoa franchise in Klonoa 2 was puzzles. However, a good portion of the game was pure action, like the original Klonoa on the PSX. This time around, Namco elected to make the entire game filled with puzzles. In order to strengthen the puzzle element of the gameplay, three stars were added to every level. In order to exit the game world, the player must locate all three stars and navigate themselves to the exit. This may sound easy--but after about an hour of play, you will realize that some of these puzzles are almost impossible to get through.

Controlling Klonoa is just as easy as the other versions of the game. However, it appears that when shooting your ring out, it has a shorter reach than prior titles--which was probably done because of the smaller screen size of the GBA. The only other move available to players is to jump and walk left and right. If you hold down the jump button, Klonoa will float like in prior versions. Also, players can grab an enemy and perform a "double jump" to gain access to hard to reach ledges.

Graphically Klonoa - Empire of Dreams is nowhere close to the level of detail that the prior versions had. This game is purely 2D--which takes away from the unique look of the other titles. The graphics are colorful and seem to be brighter than other GBA titles--which makes it a little easier to see. However, I recommend some sort of light accessory to guarantee the optimal lighting situation so you can see all of the action on screen.

While there are many positive elements within Klonoa - Empire of Dreams, there is something about the game that really annoys me. I ran into several occasions where I could not find one or more stars--which are required to advance to the next level. Instead of just beating the level--I was forced to search every nook and cranny, which took a lot of enjoyment out of my gameplay time.

Another negative feature I found in Klonoa were the bonus levels. After defeating a world, another world opens up. However, if you play a bonus level, it is easier and does not require you to find any stars at all! There are two in every world and if you defeat these, you aren't required to beat the other two harder levels in the world in order to face off against the boss. This seems to be a flaw in the design that was overlooked. It is a shame that Namco did not make the bonus levels optional--thus forcing you to play the real levels.

Don't let these negative points stop you from picking up Klonoa - Empire of Dreams. Overall it is one of the best platform titles available for the Game Boy Advance.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 01/15/02

Screenshots for Klonoa - Empire of Dreams

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