Pandemonium is a game series that has ‘platformer’ written all over it. You have your coin gathering cliche, jumping on bad guys’ heads to make them disappear in a puff of smoke, timed traps, boss fights with puzzle elements and – that old favorite – jumping from platform to another, time and again. The main difference between the first game and the sequel is that Nikki seems to have done some growing up. Wearing a sports bra and knee-high boots, she’s ready to take on the world. Good thing too, since the arcade action is pretty much unchanged.
Once good thing you can say about Pandemonium 2 is that it’s more original than the regular arcade fluff off the PlayStation bandwagon. It was very refreshing to play as a character that was not some cheesy cartoon marsupial with a giant head. Nikki and Fargus are both humans and have distinct personalities and traits that set them apart. Nikki is more athletic and can jump higher to reach upper platforms. Fargus carries Sid, a quick-tongued head on the end of a stick. Fargus can throw Sid as a weapon and he always acts a boomerang and comes back to him. As before, you can change characters before stating each level.
But the really best part of Pandemonium 2 are the huge levels. Each will go on for quite some time and present a bunch of different obstacles to overcome. For example, in one level, you could be sliding down a water slide, climbing ropes, and jumping from platform to platform. Another level has you hanging from bars, avoiding electrical currents, and fighting bad guys. And these are just the first two levels of the game. It gets even better as the game goes on. Also, the farther you get, the more trippy things become. And the levels become more intense and fast paced.
This game is not really hard, but it is challenging. Usually, the bad guys are easy to kill and are just minimal bumps in the road to the end of the level. The game is more challenging in that you have to maneuver through numerous obstacles and traps. This is where the game also really starts to get fun. Some levels have you sliding over ice capped floors requiring you to time jumps over gaps in the floor while sliding extremely fast.
One final thing you can appreciate here are the controls, which are both simple and precise. The camera shifts and turns as flawlessly as in the first game, never getting in the way or becoming overtly disorienting. The movement controls are spot on and easy to learn. Tomb Raider might be cooler with Lara’s lifelike animations, but Pandemonium 2 will never give you a hard time with unresponsive jumping mechanics.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95