WTF is Klonoa, really?
So... Klonoa. Is he a bunny? A mouse? A generic furry? Does it even really matter if he's just freakin' adorable?
[image1]Klonoa is a re-make of the original Playstation title, starring (who else?) the bunny-cat-anthropomorphicthingamajig Klonoa, out to save the world from bad dreams and little baddies running rampant throughout its pastel-drenched world. And how's he going to do it? Why, with a magical ring and his best friend, of course! But then again... same difference. His buddy is in the funny-looking ring that he throws aroundm both when he's attacking and when he's bored standing idle (it's a classic 2D throwback moment).
Gameplay here is tight and simple, exactly what this genre is known for. If you've ever played Ristar for the Genesis (or its various re-releases in Genesis and Sonic collections over the past few years), you know exactly what to expect here. Only two buttons control the action: one to jump, and the other to throw out a “wind bullet” which can grasp onto most enemies and then throw them at others. Sound old-school? That's what Bandai Namco was gunning for back when this came out for the Playstation: a traditional, unique, truly classic experience on an updated piece of hardware.
[image2]The whole presentation feels so much like a combination of Sonic's Adventure and Kirby's Dreamland: the overall storyline is focused on kidnapping and dreams, while the look is so smooth and pastel-influenced, almost ripped from a Dreamcast build. It really is cliché to say, but in this case it's entirely true that the game looks like a living, breathing, controllable cartoon. Each character is rendered beautifully, and each has a personality all their own, displayed throughout the game. The only issue is that some of the story scenes feel cut slightly, skipping over a major action for some reason. It doesn't hurt the story, but it's one of those Playstation/Dreamcast trademarks that remain irk-worthy.
And the voice-acting... has there ever been some so saccarine-sweet and yet so frustratingly annoying to the ear? I mean, Bandai Namco tried to be too over-the-top with the voices so the point of being painful and cavity-inducing. Klonoa would be so huggable, if only he shut his mouth - that'd be great for any future releases (as well as shutting up everyone else along with him).
[image3]The only “problems” with this game are that it's quite short (it's more like Portal-short in that it doesn't need to be any longer than it is) and that, like every remake and re-imagining, it doesn't bringing anything extraordinarily new to the table. Actually, the style of controlling Klonoa goes as far back as the original NES platformers, and winding paths inside of the same stages is not entirely new (though the way it's displayed here is breathtaking). Surprisingly though, the story – standard as it is for this genre, really – is actually interesting and worth experiencing. I'll admit it: I was touched; I was moved. I wanted to climb into the world and dance with the woodland creatures.
Whoh. Too much?
This kind of game is exactly the sort of thing that was crossing through my mind when I first heard about the Virtual Console and the Wii in general: the ability to re-visit the best and brightest gaming stars that, for one reason or another, never truly reached mainstream success (and in some cases – like Klonoa – making them even bigger and better). Between Goemon of Legend of Mystical Ninja fame and Wonderboy, from Biohazard Battle to Bonk's Adventure, it is great that these lost classics are getting another chance to be enjoyed by a new generation. If someone could do as good a job bringing back Rocket Knight Adventures, I would be in heaven.