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Pandemonium

This can't be 3D.

Publisher:Electronic Arts
Developer:Crystal Dynamics
Genre:Platform

With all the hype that the PlayStation is such a wonderful 3D machine, you have to wonder why more games aren t in true 3D. If Tomb Raider can do it, and do it so beautifully, why can t games like Crash Bandicoot, or for that matter, Pandemonium?

Developers will tell you time and time again that it s extremely difficult to program a game in 3D. Alright, I ll give you that. My favorite, though, is that gamers will have too much trouble if it s not on a track. Excuse me? Anyone out there confused by that devious third dimension? The last time I checked, we live in three dimensions.

Chit chat aside, Pandemonium is a solid attempt at spicing up the old 2D platformer. Nikki the sorceress has accidentally summoned a monster, who is now going around being a major pain. You and Fargus, the freaky court jester, must pass through 18 levels of platforms and oddball enemies to get to the wish place, where you ll defeat the monster.

Two things separate Pandemonium from the other platformers currently making the rounds: two different characters to play as, and some nice looking levels. Before you enter a level, you can choose either of the stars. Nikki has a double jump, and is the most useful, as a lot of the levels require you to leave the ground path and jump on bugs and such. Fargus has a rolling attack, like Crash s spin-dash, and isn t nearly as useful.

As for the levels, they're alright. Crystal Dynamics have done a good job at putting a new spin on the standard jump on the monsters heads and bounce up to the next platform thing. One of the more interesting levels features a stream of air constantly blowing around, requiring you to navigate through the current.

But you re still confined to a track. Occasionally, the path will split, offering you a choice of tracks. To Crystal Dynamic's credit, the playstation's controller wasn't exactly designed that well for 3D, but at least Crash had some kind of depth.

To break it down, Pandemonium is fun.At times it was fun, other times i was getting frustrated. Maybe a good platformer should. You just can t help but feel it could ve benefited from another plane. It s like finally getting to drive a car, and then being forced back on your bike. It s familiar, and you like it just fine, but it sure ain t no car!

Paswords

VITAMINS      31 extra lives
BORNFREE     World select
CORONARY     Tons of hearts
TOMMYBOY       Pinball screen
CASHDASH     SpeedGreed
HARDBODY    Invincibility
OTTOFIRE       Permanent weapon