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RELEASE DATE (JP): December 6, 1996 GENRE: Isometric Platformer
// review by SoyBomb

Love Love's a battlefield...

Let's talk about Kid Klown for a bit. He's an oaf. He screams like Gloria Gaynor sitting on a hot meatloaf. He can barely stand up on his own two feet without falling down in a crumply clown pile. And yet, he has been tasked with saving Princess Honey from her dastardly kidnapper Dirty Joe. It really makes you wonder about the other citizens. How uncoordinated must THEY be? Maybe they can't even stand up at all! Perhaps they're all bound to a life of laying down because they all stumble about like a drunken firefighter on a cold Sunday morning. What clowns! ... Oh... yeah... right...

...waiiiiit a second... the antagonist's name is Dirty Joe? How do you even GET a name like that? He's either best known for playing in the mud too long or having his own private wing in the local video store behind the beaded curtains. He's also known as "Black Jack" in overseas releases, which makes much more sense, considering the use of card suit symbols through the game. But because this is a Japan exclusive, he's Durrrty Joe.

Kid Klown in Crazy Chase 2: Love Love Hani Soudatsusen is the sequel (hence the number 2 in the title) to Kid Klown in Crazy Chase for the SNES. It uses the exact same gameplay, but actually boasts three times as many stages (the first game had five; this one has sixteen). Your goal is to run through the stage as quickly as possible to stop a rocket ship from taking off at the end. (I'm assuming Princess Honey is inside. That's why she's screaming if your time is running short.) It sounds simple, but everything is trying to prevent you from achieving your goal. There are obstacles galore, from simple things like tacks on the ground to give you a temporary foot puncture and rolling barrels from behind to more complex events such as falling giant ice stalactites, dusty tornadoes, and lightning strikes. Or Dirty Joe could just chase after you on a skidoo. Moving platforms are also pesky, but they don't appear all that frequently. Anything you think could possibly slow you down, will. Keep in mind that for a game that LOOKS childish, there's actually a fairly high difficulty level here.

No matter what he's doing, he's doing it while sustaining comical injury.

In each level are various balloons whose string you can grab to release the treasures inside. Of particular note are four white orbs, each with a card suit on it (spade, heart, diamond, club). You need to collect these to successfully stop the rocket from blasting off (or else you have to repeat the stage again), so opening as many balloons as you can is helpful. You may also pick up coins or HP balls to give Kid Klown some much-needed health back. At the end of each stage, you are shown how many coins you collected and whether or not you arrived with full health. Doing well leads you to a bonus stage — playing air hockey against a rather ruthless Dirty Joe. I don't believe collecting the coins positively or negatively affects the overall outcome of the game. It's just a nice bonus. Kid Klown will still keel over in the ending.

The game plays in an isometric perspective, so the controls may be a little confusing at first. Holding the Down button will still move Kid Klown forward in his perspective, but you might be inclined to press Down+Right, which will actually move him slower and on an angle. Unlike the SNES game, Kid Klown can stop and move in any direction, including backward. The screen will not scroll that way, but Kid can go back and pick up an item he may have missed by running too quickly. Also helpful is the ability to run, which is very useful, as some stages don't exactly give you a lot of time to complete them. That rocket ship waits for no man... or clown... man-clown. Clown Man.

Kid Klown gets to visit many different locales, including lush forests (with giant goofy flowers found within), volcanic lairs, icy slopes, gushing rivers, and a downtown area that is apparently called "Klown Town". They are all rich in colours and really stand out between each other, although the graphics themselves are somewhat pixelated and remind me closely of the early days of 3D gaming on PCs. Some background textures couldn't possibly be of much LOWER resolution. Most characters, items, and set pieces are 3D as well, and they don't look that bad for a PlayStation platformer. Kid Klown has plenty of animations, most of them involve him screaming and being frightening or getting hit or flattened by something large. You can always count on a Klown for laughs, (coulrophobics aside).

What I was a bit more surprised about was the soundtrack. For a game with "Kid Klown" in the title, I expected nothing but silly circus tunes (and yes, there are a few of those). But the range of music is a bit wider than that. Sounds also range from western saloon music to chill out Ibiza twangs, from bursting trumpet blares to even a blend of cartoon chase music and rock, although they all sound like they're being played through a MIDI driver.

Kid Klown in Crazy Chase 2: Love Love Hani Soudatsusen may not be the most popular, the most technically advanced, or dare I say it, among the best of the best for the console. What it does have is giddy charm coming out the wazoo, and that's more than I can say for some series these days whose rigid and frigid presentation illustrate just how much we, the gaming community, need characters like Kid Klown to brighten up our game libraries.

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