Are you a seasoned Jungle Beater? Then New Play Control Jungle Beat is like having your dog%26rsquo;s legs amputated: it no longer runs and bounds as it should, but you%26rsquo;re still left with a recognizable lump of pooch to love and pat. Jungle Beat was designed to show off the GameCube bongo peripheral, a simple input respected with intelligent, simple design; design that was never intended to be sprinted through with an analog stick.
So sprint through with an analog stick you shall. At best, this revamped Beat plays like a forgiving Mario: gaps and wall jumps that were carefully passed with a bongo are rinsed by a button tap. At worst it renders certain mechanics pointless %26ndash; intensively bashing the right bongo to escape an avalanche is now as easy as holding the analog stick. And the ferocious drum roll to pick up speed during the ox-riding ski jump? Noticeably absent. Once sturdy set pieces are rendered depressingly hollow.
So it isn%26rsquo;t that game we knew and loved, but is it a game you can know and love? Although they may now be bongo-free, the ideas still drip Nintendo magic. Then again, what do you expect from EAD Tokyo, the magic factory behind Mario Galaxy? Beat is perhaps more interesting now as a Galaxy prototype. Not only are there clear audio and visual echoes (down to the bee sound effects), but Beat%26rsquo;s gleeful turnover of ideas reeks of Galaxy%26rsquo;s scattershot fun-bursts.
Jelly trampolines! Firefly platforms! Chicken punching! Ox riding! Parachuting! Bubbly swimming! Pineapple throwing! Nintendo should lend a copy of this to ExciteBot devs Monster to show them how %26lsquo;joyously madcap%26rsquo; actually works. And while initially designed to be dashed through in a hyper sugary rush, it survives repeat play with a sharp combo system (limper with analog control, but still decent) and banana-snatching for end-of-level medals. You see, Klonoa, games needn%26rsquo;t stop at four hours.
It%26rsquo;s not quite the game you remember, but who pays for what they clearly remember? New is good. Purists can trawl through the eBay mire for a proper copy, but this%26rsquo;ll do for newbies. Not bongo- fun, but still fun. You can scratch that opening remark. If no-legged dogs were as naturally good as this, dogs wouldn%26rsquo;t come with legs.
June 3, 2009