A 'multi-genre' title is normally an excuse to pad out one decent idea (which didn't quite qualify for 'full game' status) with a load of half-baked sub games in the hope that quantity will triumph over quality.
Now, it's a rare breed of game indeed that actually manages to blend several different playable sub-sections into one complete and coherent end product. Enter Keio's Flying Squadron 2.
Based on the old Manga CD shoot-'em-up of the same name, Keio 2 is bizarre platform/shoot-'em-u hybrid that holds integrity both as a shooter and as a platformer. The shooting sections are essentially the same as in the original Keio - colourful and bizarre - while the all new platform bits are - wait for it - even more colourful and bizarre! But the question remains is it really worth forty notes?
Keio 2 features a number of bizarre 'single level' scenarios that add further variation to the gameplay. These include underwater 'swimming' stages, rollercoaster bits (similar in style to the genre standard 'minecart' level), boss battles, puzzle sections and even a chase level where Keio must run away from a horde of killer raccoons who chant "call me crazy!" whenever they get close. Mental!
The first boss Keio comes across starts out as a Sumo wrestler then changes into a huge painted egg creature with stalk eyes spinning on a green pencil top. Bonkers!
Or the giant tractor-cum-bald-bloke baddy who attempts to pour a bucket of paint on Keio and lets out a deadly cartoon wail whenever he gets hit. Ker-azy!
While Rayman and Bug! remain my platform faves on the Sega Saturn, KFS 2 outshines much of the rest of its competition. Quality games of this type are difficult to come across these days and, while the difficulty level here is obviously pitched towards younger players, there's enough trickery and Japanese kitsch to keep older ones amused. Fun, while it lasts.
As surreal platform/shoot-'em-ups go, Keio 2 stands out from the crowd simply because there is no crowd. While independently, the two sections are nothing special, when mixed together in a fast-paced action game, the variety of gameplay and the constant bombardment of bizarre imags makes for an engrossing and entertaining experience. In these days of texture-mapped polygons and motion-captured sprites, it's possible to forget the pleasures of simple 2D gameplay, and on this count at least, Keio 2 delivers.
Unfortunately, Keio 2 is about as challenging as a jigsaw puzzle, and most gamers will easily have it whipped in an afternoon. Shame.
Vibrant colours, nice FMV, weirdness abound!
OK, but nothing special.
The tunes from the Mega-CD are back! Very Japanese.
Enjoyable 2D action...
...for about three hours. There are secrets to be found though.
Fun, but let down by lack of challenge. One for younger gamers, perhaps?