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Pandemonium!
Pandemonium!PS1Art
Information
Developer(s) Main Release:
ToysForBob
N-Gage:
Nokia
Publisher(s) Crystal Dynamics (North America & EU)
Platform(s) PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC, Nokia N-Gage, N-Gage 2.0, iPhone OS, PlayStation Network.
Release Date(s) Main Release:
October 31, 1996
N-Gage:
October 6, 2003
N-Gage 2.0:
May 6, 2009
iPhone OS:
April 24, 2009
PSN:
NA: October 8, 2009
EU: December 21, 2011
Genre Platformer
Mode(s) Single Player
Rating(s) ELSPA: 3+
ESRB: K-A
USK: 6+
App Store: 4+
Media CD ROM, Digital download.

Pandemonium! (known as Magical Hoppers in Japan) is a platform game, published by Crystal Dynamics and developed by ToysForBob. Initially the game was released for PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC. Later years saw the game being rereleased for Nokia N-Gage, N-Gage 2.0, iPhone OS and the PlayStation Network.

In the PlayStation and Saturn versions, rather than using a memory card as in most games released at the time, progress is saved using the older password system. The story revolves around two wild characters known as Fargus and Nikki, the one being a psychotic jester, the other being an attractive sorceress.

StoryEdit

Fargus the off-center jester and his demented stick-puppet partner, Sid, spent their lives hand in glove, though not always of one mind. The two of them had grown up together in a large family of jesters and were living proof that cousins shouldn't marry. The two of them travelled from fair to festival making fools of one another. It was upon their second tour of Lyr that they realised their act was getting as stale as the rotten fruit thrown at them.

It was at this time that a town crier came by:

"Come one, come all to W.I.T.S the Wizards in Training Seminar! Tonight only at the Lancelot Castle and Bingo Pavilion. Taught by the one and only Tony Vu, the worldly One, the man who had nothing and now has everything. He'll show you how to become a 10th level Wizard with absolutely NO MONEY DOWN. He'll teach you the wonders of Disappearing, Turning Into Things, Spellcasting 101, Fun With Fire and Pyrotechics. Free wizard's cap with every admission!"

With a new career in pyromanic-pandemoniums staring them in their faces, the two made a beeline for Lancelot Castle at once.

Nikki was the youngest member of the Flying Fleugel Family. She found life at the carnival too dull for her, especially with friends like: Brenda the Alligator Lady and Fritz the World's Smallest Cow. An acrobat with high-trigger reflexes, Nikki was nobody's fool and thought there had to be more to life than gripping a balance beam. It was her ambition to become a great Wizard and she often daydreamed of it a lot. It was this daydreaming that eventually led her to trouble. She'd forgotten to feed the lions one day, and fellow carnival act - The Great Zeigfreed almost lost his arm. "I've gotta get out of here, I'm tired of performing with geeks and freaks," she said to herself. She then made her way to Lancelot Castle to hopefully begin her training.

It was at this event that the three met up for the first time. Having bumped annoyingly into one another one too many times, the three exchanged greetings whilst waiting for The Worldly One, Tony Vu, to make an appearance. However, once Vu had made his corny entrance, the three found themselves somewhat bored and bewildered. As Sid made spitballs and Nikki practiced backflips, Fargus dropped off into a snoring slumber. Not long after, Vu proclaimed that after a short break, he'd introduce the Wizards-in-training to the Most Important Book In the Universe. "C'mon guys, let's follow him," Nikki hissed, eyes wide with mischief. As the three followed, they saw the Worldly One was a little more far-gone than they had realised, eventually tripping over a carpet ruffle in his drunken stupor and dropping the book. Grabbing the book before it hit the floor, Nikki caught it and the three rushed up a staircase to a balcony to test its worth.[1]

As Fargus and Sid leapt in jest, Nikki took hold of the book and began performing simple tricks. Amazed with the magical fireworks, Fargus pressed Nikki for grander performances. When Fargus claimed that the fireworks needed more "firepower", Sid picked out a 10th Level Spell and the trio cast it. Unbeknownst to them, they had released a monster from another dimension upon the world - Yungo. As the giant monster bobbed magically in the night air eying up the nearby village where Nikki and Fargus lived, it descended upon it - devouring it remorselessly. As Fargus claimed that the spell was: "fun, horrible, but fun"; Sid demanded Nikki to set it right again. Reading the book's instructions further, Nikki discovered that Yungo could only be wished away, by travelling far across Lyr to "seek a boon from the Wishing Engine". "A boon? What the heck's a boon?" Sid asked. "A wish, you idiot!" replied Fargus. With a map from the book to guide them, the trio set off on their adventure. [2]

Having travelled far across the land and eventually reaching the Wishing Engine, the three approached it with their demands. Upon knowledge that the Engine would grant three wishes, Sid suggests to Fargus about wishing for a million wishes, only to have Nikki criticise that that never works. To test it out, Fargus wished for a chicken and, without questioning, his wish was granted. After glares from both Sid (who actually reprimands Fargus for the chicken wish) and Nikki, the latter stepped up and wished for Yungo to be banished back to his original dimension. The three were transported back to Lancelot Castle and Yungo spat the Village back out of his mouth. Feeling cheated that the Engine promised three wishes, only for the bunch to receive two, Nikki scowled. A sheepish Fargus then guiltily admitted that he had taken the third wish - wishing that everyone back home "could be just like me" (which could explain why they were transported back home, when it wasn't part of Nikki's wish). In his defense, Fargus innocently says he wanted to share his joy with the whole world. Low and behold, every person in the village had been transformed into versions of himself. As the trio assess the transformation, Sid exclaimed: "Oh boy, I think we're gonna need another wish!" [3].

GameplayEdit

Pandemonium main screen

Main screen.

Pandemonium is well known for incorporating 2D gameplay mechanics in a 3D world, what is commonly known as 2.5D Gameplay. The levels twist and curve around the linear path you're guided along, often overlapping in places, making for a unique gaming experience for games of the time. Collecting coins in the game add up to level completion and regaining Ankhs (these act as lives). 300 coins replaces a life.

Depending on how much treasure you collect within the level, you are later rewarded with minigames such as:

You get three tries to complete the minigame (which are separate from lives in the main game).

There are three unique powers (other than metallic skin, which provides limited invincibility) that the player can collect. Each shoots a concentrated spell, of limited range, forwards, affecting the first enemy it hits in a multilude of ways. The fireball give firepower, which harms the first enemy in its path. This will destroy most enemies in one hit, but it will take some enemies a lot more. The Freeze Ray is an ice attack, which freezes enemies. Upon touching a frozen enemy, it will shatter and be destroyed. The shrink ray is a pulsating green light which shrinks any enemy, whereupon it can be destroyed by stepping on it. Shrunken enemies grow back after a limited amount of time, and likewise frozen enemies will thaw after a similar amount of time.

Shapechanging is another aspect of the game. The frog can jump extremely high, the rhinoceros can kill any enemy by charging at them, the turtle can become invulnerable by hiding in its shell, and the dragon can breath fire and fly. The challenges of the level then reflect the abilities of each animal until the character reverts to normal later in the level.

Magical HoppersEdit

Main article: Magical Hoppers

Pandemonium was released in Japan by Bandai under the title Magical Hoppers (マジカルホッパーズ), with story, soundtrack, cutscenes, characters completely changed. Fargus and Nikki became Clam and Guppy respectively. Sid retains his name, though his character design was altered. [4] Both Sega Saturn and PlayStation versions have different cinematics.

SequelEdit

Pandemonium 2 was released in 1997 for PlayStation and PC. It was released in Japan as Miracle Jumpers.

LevelsEdit

CountrysideEdit

01. Skull Fortress

02. Hollow Stairway

UndergroundEdit

03. Dungeon Tower

04. Lost Caves

05. Fungus Grotto

06. Acid Pools

B1. Shroom Lord

DesertEdit

07. Burning Desert

08. Branky Wastes

ForestEdit

09. Spider Forest

10. Canopy Village

11. Soldier Barracks

12. Honcho's Logmill

B2. Goon Honcho

SkyEdit

13. Honcho's Airship

14. Dragoon Skyfort

15. Cloud Citadel

16. Efreet Palace

17. Frozen Cavern

18. Storm Temple

B3. Wishing Engine

Video galleryEdit

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "How it all Began...", Pandemonium! instruction manual [1]
  2. Pandemonium Intro FMV.
  3. Pandemonium Outro FMV
  4. Segagaga entry on Magical Hoppers

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