Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top 10 Most Shocking Games in a Series - #6: Klonoa Beach Volleyball

For those of you who do not know who and what Klonoa is, Klonoa is a gaming character, starring in his own series. Klonoa is an anthropomorphic cat with really long and weird ears and a short tail that end with a fluff, something that stirred quite a few arguments over Klonoa's race until it was officially stated that he is, indeed, a cat with long ears and a short tail that end with a fluff.

The series is a puzzle platformer one - Klonoa has his wind ring which can grab certain enemies or block so he can move them around, throw them, or use them to double jump in order to get to the next level or fight the bosses. There is a remake of the first version for the Wii, too. I'd advise you to try it if you like puzzle of platformers games, but I digress.

Klonoa is something the frenchise calles a ‘dream-traveller,’ and every game he is starring is set in a different world entirely, which makes it a series with inifinite potential, in one point of view - having a different story each time and making as many changes as possible to the cast and scenery without it becoming weird or having to get up with an excuse for each change the series gets, as long as Klonoa himself stays the same - but it also has its limits, such as most characters not showing up for more than one game. Including characters fans have grown to love. Some characters did make another appearance in some games, though, but those are far and few in between, and only the main ones.

There were two Klonoa spin-off not to have the basic and classic Klonoa gameplay style. The first one I am going to mention was an Action RPG: 'Klonoa Heroes' for the Game Boy Advance, which was released towards the end of 2002, and was the last Klonoa game before the remake of the first game for the Wii.

The game was never released outside of Japan, but it showed Klonoa in a new way. Unlike the other games in the series it was in fact more story based, and one of the characters from it which was taken from the other Klonoa spin-off, Guntz, was detailed more then the other spin-off showed, and actually made it into a future release. Among those releases, ‘Namco x Capcom’ for the PlayStation 2 is included. Unfortunately, this game, too, didn’t make it outside Japan, and Klonoa did not make it into the sequel, ‘Project X Zone’ for the 3DS, much to Klonoa’s fans’ dismay.

But ‘Klonoa Heroes’ is not the game I am talking about. There are plenty of frenchises who tried to go into RPG and Action RPG, so I cannot say this game came out as that much of a surprise. The thing I find most surprising about it is that it was not translated. The game that surprised me was… well… it is the second spin-off, called ‘Klonoa Beach Volleyball.’

Klonoa Beach Volleyball is, as the name suggests - a volleyball game, though not really beach. The only beach scenery in this game was the first level of the story. And it had Klonoa character. It came out during the middle of 2002,  for the PlayStation, and was only released in Japan and Europe.

The game goes like this: You pick a character, reciece an AI partner and off to play ball! The gameplay was that you move and hit the ball while pressing a direction key to aim the ball. Outs are possible in this game, though, and count as a point to the other team. If the ball touches the ground in your field, it's a point for the other team. If you get enough points, as the rules of volleyball go - you win. If the other team does, then you lose.

It was also possible to have a special hit - if you hit the ball enough times, you can hit the ball with a special hit, which will cause a change in background and make the ball go faster, which will make the other team more unlikely to hit it back at you.

Each character had its own possible ending, stats and special move, but the game still didn't take more than about three to four hours to beat with all characters. The stories in this game are light-hearted and funny, and I am almost certain that if you play this game, at least one of the endings will make you at least chuckle, even with their childish feel to it. Or maybe it is because of their childish feel.

After beating the story, though… the game doesn’t have that much replayability value. The replayability value is all in the multiplayer, but because it is a PlayStation game, there is no option for playing with others over the internet and it will be hard to find someone to play with today. This game can be and usually fun while it lasts, but it has the problem of being short. Too short. As said earlier, it takes about three to four hours to beat the story with all characters, and I find it hard to believe you will touch this game again after beating the story.

So there are two Klonoa spin-offs that I can actually say surprised me - ‘Klonoa Heroes,’ and ‘Klonoa Beach Volleyball.’ An RPG is not something that I think has any room for in this list, because it is not the first frenchise to do so, and more than one frenchise experimented with RPG elements. A volleyball game, though, is not something I know many frenchises do, especially before the Wii came out to feature such sports games. Also, straying from being a puzzle platformer to a volleyball spin-off is... well... at the time of release, quite unheard of and unthinkable. This is why I believe this game is one of the most surprising ones to come out of a well-known series.