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Name: Pandemonium!
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: BMG Interactive (UK, Europe), GT Interactive (US)
Year: 1996
Platform: Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC
Genre: Platformer
Players: One Player
Rarity: Very difficult to find new, reasonably easy second-hand
PlayStation Game Code (UK/Europe): SLES 00526

"The Fastest 3D character action game! Moving 3D camera showcases the huge, highly detailed 3D worlds."
Blurb from box information
Pandemonium! is a two-dimensional platform game with 3D graphics, created by the Calfornian devco behind Gex (erk) and Soul Reaver (woo!), Crystal Dynamics. The game is based around the plight of Fargus, the jester (with his 'talking' stick, Sid), and Nikki, the youngest member of the Flying Fleugel Family, after finding a book entitled 'Ancient Wizards Spellbook'. Neither of them being 'fully trained or licensed to use' the tome, they accidently summon a huge demon, who proceeds to wreak havoc in their world. Checking the book again for the anti-spell, they find they need to search out a boon from the Wishing Engine. Using the map from the spellbook, their journey begins...

You have a choice between Fargus or Nikki as playable characters, and you can select which you would like as your guide before the start of each level. Each character has a special move that the other cannot perform. Fargus has a 'tumble', which kills enemies without taking any damage himself. Nikki can perform a double jump (which I think is the more useful of the two unique moves). Both characters can bounce on top of enemies in typical platformer style to destroy them. As well as special moves, both characters have the opportunity to morph into various creatures, namely, dragons (who can fly and breathe fire), rhinos (who charge through enemies), frogs (who jump extra high) and turtles (who can be invunerable when hiding in their shell). There are also a number of pick-ups and power-ups to collect, which range from the cliched coin, to hearts for energy, ankhs for extra lives, and a number of different weapons, such as fireballs, and freeze rays. Don't forget those ever-so-useful keys and shields as well, their purpose self-explanatory.

Pandemonium! is basically a side-scrolling platform game, only using the 3D graphical capabilities of the PlayStation for eye-candy. It's not really new, or fresh, or exciting. It looked pretty in screenshots, but when you see the game running, you realise that there is no depth or possible exploration available. I remember this game being touted by Official PlayStation Magazine as a Super Mario 64 beater. Sure, Pandemonium is fun, but it's restrictive, unoriginal, and mostly frustrating 'fun'. And definitely no Mario 64 beater.

Good points about Pandemonium!?
It has a nice musical score, and pretty graphics for the time. It's a good challenge, too, the later levels being particularly fiendish.
Bad points?
Terribly unoriginal, doesn't use the 3D environment to its full potential.

A sequel was made for the PC and PlayStation, known as Pandemonium 2. Similar games include Klonoa and Tomba.

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