Back in 1996 Pandemonium! was one of THE Jump’n’Run hits available for PC. Cleverly using a 2D engine in a way that made it look like 3D, the game offered lots and lots of graphical eye-candy. Just like the original game Pandemonium! follows the adventures of Niki and Fargus, the two playable characters. Fargus and his demented stick-puppet partner Sid – don’t ask.... – are playable as one character. Fargus' speciality is that he – besides splashing characters Mario style – can tumble, mowing down enemies, without taking damage. Niki, a talented acrobat, on the other hand is better when hard to reach places have to be reached, because she is capable of the infamous Double Jump often seen in games, but as always it is not really explained HOW she does it – the Force maybe ?
You can finish the game with two characters independently and although first time players will perhaps depend on Fargus’s muscles first, but especially later in the game Niki’s double jump makes collection of valuable power-ups easier.
These power-ups include – besides the obvious health and invincibility power-ups – some magic ones two. With these your character get one shot with one of the following spells: a fireball to roast your enemies, a shrink ray making squashing enemies even easier – oops sorry didn’t see you – and a freeze ray that momentarily paralyses the enemy, turning them into easy targets. Last but not least there are special Shape-changing gates that temporarily transform you into beasts. The dragon can fly and the turtle can hide in its shell – no more no less, but yet another gimmick.
Although the game uses the above mentioned trick to make the player believe in depth where there is no graphics – partly of course due to the small screen - the graphics look nice and although there are only 8 levels and 3 bosses, the game will keep you entertained for quite a while. Pandemonium! is a fun jump’n’run with high replay value and the optimal game to play while waiting for the tram or train.
Online & Multiplayer features>
Every game that has online or multiplayer features of any kind will have an own chapter covering these. Pandemonium is the first title in the line-up, and the first to offer some special features online.
Basically you have two features that are only accessibly online. A Walkthrough and Hints feature and the so called Shadow Race option you will find in several present and future N-Gage titles.
The Walkthrough is an option that takes its own name quite literally. If you are stuck in a level, you can choose this option and while playing your normal single-player character the character you choose not to play will lead the way, and thanks to a pointer you will never loose your guide even if he is faster than you. Note: although that the guiding character does NOT influence the level itself – he will not collect the power-ups for you nor will kill the enemies for you – he just shows you the way you should go.
The Shadow Race option on the other hand is a listing of players with the times they needed to complete a certain level. Once a player is in this listing, his performance in this level – his shadow – will be stored online. If you now decide to compete against someone in the ranking, you will race against his shadow making it easy to realize how much in front - or more likely behind – you are at the moment. This is a fun feature, and hence only the shadow needs to be downloaded to start the competition, it is also very bandwidth saving.
Another form of racing is also possible using the built-in Bluetooth connection. This time you race against a real-life, real-time opponent of course.