"Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil is one of those priceless gems that exercises that well-known saying ''Don't judge a product by its cover.'' K2 was a breath of fresh air for me. I hadn't been indulged in such 2D platforming bliss since the old SNES days, where classics such as Donkey Kong Country and Super Metroid reigned supreme. And since then, I've had the misfortune of playing a lot of sour games that, quite frankly, tested the loyalty that I have devoted to my beloved gaming hobby. Thank God the l..."
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil is one of those priceless gems that exercises that well-known saying ''Don't judge a product by its cover.'' K2 was a breath of fresh air for me. I hadn't been indulged in such 2D platforming bliss since the old SNES days, where classics such as Donkey Kong Country and Super Metroid reigned supreme. And since then, I've had the misfortune of playing a lot of sour games that, quite frankly, tested the loyalty that I have devoted to my beloved gaming hobby. Thank God the little cat with flaps extruding from his ears, Klonoa, came and rescued me.
Being an eighteen dollar 2D sidescroller, I had my instinctive doubts about the quality of the story. You play as the protagonist Klonoa, a peculiar cat-like creature with basic run and jump abilities. The adventure begins after he is mysteriously washed ashore one of the kingdoms of Lunatea, and s found by a young Priestess-in-training, Lolo, and her young friend Popka. As luck would have it, Klonoa manages to show up in an urgent time of distress for the kingdom, and due to prophecies, he is upheld as the ’Dream Traveler,’ sent here to guard and protect a priestess that is on a mission to defeat the evils.
While the story seemed quite RPGic in some perspectives, most notably with the plot twists, you can't help but feel a little incoherency when first introduced to the tale. Why you magically washed upon the shore of this kingdom in peril is a mystery, while even more confusing is to why the Kingdom is already filled with enemies (when the appending Doom is not supposed to occur until later in the adventure). These minute potholes somewhat bugged me through the first half of the game; K2 has a plot that tries to be of RPG like qualities, but it doesn't run the extra mile that most RPGs travel. Nevertheless, I found myself forgetting these shortcomings half way through the game. You can't seriously prosecute this game just because of the story; there is tons of fun still to be had.
Klonoa 2 is a 2D platformer at heart, but with a very interesting and fun gameplay element that sets it aside from the rest of the bunch. Klonoa himself doesn't really have any interesting moves, other than floating in the air for a few extra seconds using his flaps; he's quite the uninteresting hero. But hold the phones: it's the magical ring he was destined to use and possesses. Using the ring’s power, he must travel to each town of the Kingdom and ring the four Bells of Lunatea (monuments that are set to keep peace and harmony throughout). But not only does the ring perform simple tasks such as 'ringing bells,' it can also be used to catch enemies and hold them, suspending the foe above Klonoa's head. He can then throw them to accomplish a variety of tasks such as double-jumping to get to higher grounds, attacking other enemies or bosses, or even unlocking doors once a key has been obtained. I found myself enjoying this immensely; it takes no more than a snap to learn with the simple but spot-on control scheme. If you happen to fall of a ledge, it's not the camera nor is it the controls: it's your fault.
I was actually most impressed with the camera work in K2 than most anything else. With most 2D type 'scrollers with 3D environments, the camera, in the past, has had the habit of zooming in and out on your characters; blinding you from your next ledge or crucial jump. K2's camera is very dynamic, fluid, and full of movement. While still right with the action, it also manages to showcase the impressive surroundings.
The levels and environments are all lush in originality, visuals, and overall design. K2, while is 2D in gameplay and moving mechanics, has beautiful 3D sculptured paths and landscapes, with enemies that are at a constant rate of animation, slithering in and out of the screen. The most impressive of levels, to me, was of course the first of the Ishara's Ark missions. A beautifully designed level of flowers, trees, and serenity; Ishara's Ark not only was visually brilliant but was one of the longer and more challenging adventures, which calls for you to throw a ‘Moo’ (the smallest and more abundant enemy in the game) into one of the three engines, starting the great boat.
The characters and enemies themselves used the 'Cel-Shading' technique (think Jet Set Radio or the new Zelda: Wind Waker) BEFORE it was cool. The characters themselves have a great deal of color to them, and it looks visually outstanding when coupled with the well implemented cel-shading. One thing that bothered me about them, however, especially with one of the stars of the game, Popka (with his strange sunrise printed eyes and annoying personality), was that I felt that Namco went a little overboard when coming up with the models and personalities. Leorina is also an offender of this, with tails and streams of stitching shooting off every crease in her clothing, surrounding her body.
While most platformers use optional side-games as a means of getting more variety and replay value, K2 uses its wonderfully crafted Hover Board levels as means to help glue pieces of the story together, but most importantly, they are all a blast to play. Set in the third person view behind Klonoa, you can jump, grab, and destroy enemies as if you would normally, only the situation has kicked up a few notches in terms of speed, so you're always kept on your toes when it comes to looking and capturing secret items (1-up coins, Save clocks, etc.). The only problem I found with this is that I found that steering Klonoa on his hover board is somewhat sluggish, and making him turn to parts of the course to jump and get an item can be a bit frustrating.
Unfortunately, I do have some more complaints about the game. The characters themselves, coupled with English captions, speak their own high-toned gibberish language. It ends up sounding like some sort of lazy Japanese or Chinese, and at times (especially within the first few levels) it can get on your nerves. But, I found myself getting used to the cute babbling within the first half and hour or so into the game, but others might not be so forgiving. I also found that it the musical directors got a little lazy towards the conclusion of the game. Sea of Tears was just odd sounding (I know they were shooting for abstract, but it just got a little ridiculous). And I discovered that the end boss theme, which should be the crowning piece of the music, was nothing more than forgettable.
K2 isn't a particular long game, and it's more of a relaxing walk rather than a white knuckle thrill-feast. As far as replayability goes, upon completion, you can go re-visit Mamett, the keeper of the 'secret' house. He will re-open all the levels for you to completely capture ALL the coins, gems, et cetera, et cetera. I have gone through a few of the levels after my bout with the final boss, and successfully and fully completed them, collecting every last souvenir from the adventure. But unfortunately, the experience of replaying all the levels isn't satisfying enough to go and re-embark on all the levels and fully complete them.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil may not hold a lot of value after you have beaten it, but it still is an excellent game that should not be passed up just because it may strike ''too cute'' in the eyes of fools. Despite some of the small annoyances I had with it, K2 is still a very worthy experience, and it shouldn't discourage you from adventuring from the first level to the last. This game is gold. -Shin (6/2/03)
Community review by shinnokxz (December 18, 2003)
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