Platformers were a pretty big thing on the PlayStation and there were some classic titles. And this one from American developer Toys For Bob was cool beans in 1996.
About Pandemonium! the PSOne Platformer
The game has a 2.5D visual style, which was quite unusual for the time. It’s fast-paced stuff, but focuses on standard run and jump platforming.
We’ve been thinking about Pandemonium! a fair bit recently mainly because of our experience with it just the once in 1996.
That’s right, we only ever played on the game on one day in our lives.
When visiting our mate Craig’s house, he had a PlayStation. And we spent one very long afternoon eating sour cream and onion Pringles (like you do) whilst getting stuck on Pandemonium! This flavour.
Ever since then, whenever we see that green tube of Pringle flavour in the supermarkets of England we think back to 1996 and that long, long afternoon of frustration.
That’s one weirdly specific memory, eh? It haunts our every move.
We were bloody stuck. Doing the tried-and-tested “one go each” approach, we’d try to clear this one section and kept screwing up.
Not that the game was bad. Watch the game in action and we must say it has a good flow. Lots going on, plenty of action—we like the soundtrack, too.
The game did come out on the PC and Sega Saturn, we should point out.
But the PlayStation was trying some interesting platformers at the time to try and rival Nintendo’s Super Mario efforts. Many were hit and miss, others were rather excellent (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night springs to mind).
Anyway, with Pandemonium! the plot is a weird mishmash of a carnival jester called Fargus and an acrobat called Nikki.
They team up at a Wizards in Training seminar. Stealing a book, they accidentally trigger a spell that demolishes a village.
Now they have to, like, totally go ahead and save the day by running and jumping over stuff.
And, again, we have to say some of the level design looks pretty nifty.
The game met with decent reviews, but didn’t capture the imagination of PlayStation gamers, which the likes of Crash Bandicoot and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee certainly did.
But a sequel did come our in 1997 as Pandemonium 2. One big change for that was the update of Nikki’s appearance to have girlband bland looks.
We’re happy to report some of the press in 1997 took the piss out of the developer for ineffectually trying to appeal to the teenage boy market. The game’s effort was, no doubt, in line with Lara Croft’s growing popularity amongst PlayStation gamers.
Either way, the sequel met with decent reviews. But clearly wasn’t popular enough to lead to a third outing.
So… not so much pandemonium anymore, eh, and just plain old Pringles.