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Pandemonium!, known as Magical Hoppers in Japan, is a 1996 platforming video game developed by Toys For Bob and published by Crystal Dynamics for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Microsoft Windows, N-Gage, and iPhone OS. Pandemonium features Fargus, a joker, and Nikki, who unwittingly casts a spell that destroys the town. The goal of the game is to reach the Wishing Engine, where they can wish the town back to normal.
For each level, the player can choose which character to be. Each has a special move – Fargus can deliver a special spinning attack, and Nikki can double jump. The game consists of a great variety of unique gameplay objects, such as watermelons, clouds, spider webs and logs.
Pandemonium employs “2.5D gameplay”. While the game renders polygons in a typical 3-D fashion, gameplay is 2-D. The area of gameplay can be described as a two-dimensional surface twisting and bending in a three-dimensional world. Occasionally, this surface will overlap itself.
For example, the main tower of the second level is a cylinder with a spiral-shaped floor.
Along the way, the player can gather treasure. Collecting 300 treasure grants the player an extra life. The player can also activate a bonus level by collecting enough of the treasure in one level. (The amount of treasure collected is based on the initial amount of treasure in the level and is not affected by the Double Treasure Timer.)If the player gathers 80% to 94% of the treasure on a level, they activate “Speed Greed”, a bonus level in which one must collect treasure while simultaneously keeping ahead of a pursuing vortex.
If the player gathers at least 95% of the treasure on a level, they activate “Full Tilt”, a pinball-based bonus level. In this, the player directs the character around a giant pinball machine in order to gather treasure and activate special areas of the board. Upon reaching the end of this bonus stage, the player can achieve as many as three extra lives as well.
In each bonus level, one automatically has three “tries”, which are separate from lives.
There are three unique projectile power-ups that the player can collect. Each shoots a beam of limited range in the forward direction, affecting the first enemy it hits. The red orbs give fireball power, which harms the enemy; this will destroy most enemies in one hit, but stronger enemies may take many more.
The blue power freezes enemies, and upon touching a frozen enemy, it will shatter. The green power is a shrink ray, and the enemy can then be destroyed by stepping on its shrunken form. Shrunken enemies grow back after a limited amount of time, and likewise frozen enemies will thaw after a similar amount of time. Some red orbs also regenerate after being collected; these can be distinguished by swirling energy surrounding them. None of these powers affects bosses. A player loses all powers when hit, unless they have picked up an invincibility power-up.
At several points in the game, after passing a certain area the player will turn into a unique animal; passing another area will revert the player back to a normal character. The player becomes a frog, a rhinoceros, a turtle, and a dragon throughout the course of the game. The frog can jump extremely high, the rhinoceros can kill enemies by charging at them, the turtle can become invulnerable by hiding in its shell, and the dragon can breathe fire and fly. The challenges of the level reflect the abilities of each animal until the character reverts to normal later in the level.
Like in Zelda games, the player has a limited number of hearts, representing health. Rare bonuses allow the player to add to the initial two heart containers, so that the player can store more than two hearts at once. Loss of all hearts results in the loss of a life and the return to the last checkpoint. Loss of all lives ends the game.
The aforementioned heart containers are highly beneficial for the player and are difficult to find, typically being hidden in a secret area of the level. A total of six heart containers exist throughout the game’s eighteen levels.
There are many cheat codes for the various versions of the game, including extra lives, invincibility and level select.
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