I didn’t want this game. I really didn’t. I’ve planned out my Microsoft Point spending, totally blew that plan with Zuma and Mutant Storm, and did not want to buy Cloning Clyde. But even as I said, “Well, I’ll just stick with the free trial,” I was pretty sure I’d be sucking it up and buying the full version. Boy, am I sure glad I did.
Cloning Clyde, the sophomore Arcade effort from NinjaBee (the first being Outpost Kaloki X, the demo of which I found boring) is an old-school 2D platform puzzler. If you’ve ever played Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil for the Playstation 2, then you know what it is: an excellent game with brain-melting puzzles, and no matter how much you sincerely hate it, you want to keep playing. Because it is a fantastic game.
Clyde’s got some ’splodin to do
Cloning Clyde looks and feels like a game for the original Playstation. Anyone else remember the good ol’ days of Crash and Spyro, before Sony decided to charge you $599 just so you could change your weapon in real-time and beat a giant enemy crab upside the head? The menus are beautifully simplistic, and the presentation in all is a fine job. The game is absolutely hilarious, starting with the help notes in the training stage to the overall feel of Clyde’s further adventures. It’s all absurd and great fun.
The premise of the game, of course, is that a dim-witted fella named Clyde was offered $20 to be the test subject in a cloning experiment. However, something went wrong, and there are a lot of Clydes - somewhere around 250 - and the administrators of the test lock them up. That’s where you come in, as a Clyde, to rescue your bretheren. As a side quest, you can collect all of the cloned Killer Kenn action figures, and you are rewarded quite handsomely for your efforts. The final achievement you unlock is something else entirely. If you have a soul, you’ll grin from ear to ear when you learn what you get.
To aid Clyde in his action figure-and-clone hunting, there are DNA splicing machines in most of the levels. You can become Chicken Clyde, Ape Clyde, Frog Clyde, Sheep Clyde, and TNT Clyde. Each have their own special abilities and are absolutely vital to clearing the game, and most are a blast to use. Some, like Ape Clyde, are purely practical. Frog Clyde is a blast.
Levels go something like this: to solve puzzles, you will need more Clydes in a level. To get more Clydes, you can either free them from boxes or pipes, or you can clone yourself. You will need to destroy all of the Security Robots in a level, and then help all but one Clyde escape through air ducts. The last Clyde exits the level through a teleporter, and then you are given a score based on your performance.
The game runs for one training stage, four beginning trials, 24 main stages, ten challenge levels, and one final level. You’re awarded achievements for becoming certain types of Clyde, rescuing certain amounts of clones and cloned action figures, and clearing all levels under par time. While it sounds difficult, it really isn’t. I got all 200 points (and it’s my first game in which I’ve done so) in two days of playing almost nothing but this. However, now that I’ve beaten the game 100%, I do feel extremely fulfilled.
Once you’re done with the single-player, you’ve got four-player online and same-Xbox co-op and versus modes. Co-op involves playing the single-player mode together, and versus will pit you against your opponents, trying to defeat the others’ security machines. It’s fun for a while, but I can see where once you know where the machines are in versus, it could get old.
Now that I’m done gushing, I can nit-pick. First: there is almost no soundtrack. What they do have is good, but it makes you want the full thing. I’m getting sick of games assuming you’re using the custom soundtrack. Second, I’ve been glitch-killed about twice now, where I can’t move at all. Third, and finally, while I don’t mind the Playstation-y graphics (you’re not exactly paying for next-gen software), when Clyde carries an object it seems to go inside his hair. All nitpicks, but worth pointing out.
Buy this game. Now. I’m totally serious. If you only had 800 points to spend, do it on this game. It knocks Mutant Storm off my #1 Arcade spot, and does it well. You won’t be sorry.
Final Score: 9 out of 10 - Very Good (how do we rank games?).