Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a video game developed and published in 1997 by Namco for the Sony PlayStation video game console. The game's story focuses on Klonoa, an anthropomorphic creature and his sidekick Huepow, a spirit encapsulated in a ring.
The game was critically praised, and sales in Japan reached fourth in the weekly charts. Sales in the United States, Canada and the PAL region were low. An original game, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was followed by Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil and five related games. A remake of the game was released for the Wii in 2008 in Japan and in 2009 in North America and Europe. A remaster of the game is included in the upcoming Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series bundle.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a side-scrolling Platform game viewed from a 2.5D perspective. The player moves the protagonist, Klonoa, along a path in a two-dimensional fashion, but the game's surroundings are rendered in three dimensions. This allows the path followed to curve and for the player to interact with objects outside of the path. The game is divided by levels called Visions, where the player progresses by following a path with defeatable computer-controlled enemies and puzzles that must be solved. At the end of some levels, the player must defeat a boss. The player defeats enemies by utilizing Klonoa's weapon, the Wind Ring, a ring that fires a burst of wind called the Wind Bullet. If the Wind Bullet hits an enemy, Klonoa lifts the enemy above his head. From this position, he can throw the enemy into another enemy to defeat them, or use the enemy to perform a double-jump allowing for new locations to be reached. If the player holds the jump button Klonoa floats in mid-air for a short duration by flapping his ears, which increases the jump length. Environmental factors such as small, localized tornadoes and springboards launch Klonoa up or forward, allowing the player to overcome obstacles.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is set in the fictional world of Phantomile. The world is composed of five main locations: Breezegale, the Wind Village; Jugpot, the Kingdom of Water; Forlock, the Tree Village; Coronia, Temple of the Sun and Cress, the Moon Kingdom.
Breezegale has a large windmill located at the center. The villagers can harness the power of the wind and shape and process stone using concentrated air. Behind the windmill is an abandoned mine named Gunston Mine. At the top of the mine is Bell Hill which features a ringing bell to announce the time.
The kingdom of Jugpot provides the world with a boundless water supply. The kingdom's castle, Shell Castle, has a water wheel attached to it.
Forlock is built around a large tree. The inhabitants are known for their woodworking skills and use things such as wood, nuts, and vines as means to travel between trees.
Coronia is an unpopulated shrine that floats in the sky. A creature raised by the priests, Nagapoko, resides in Coronia.
Cress is a mythical kingdom. A legend in Phantomile states that dream energy, a substance made up of forgotten dreams, is gathered there. This substance is said to be what gives Phantomile its shape and form.
The characters of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile are fantasy-like and speak in a structured fictional language. The player controls Klonoa, an inhabitant of Phantomile who carries a ring-bound spirit named Huepow. Klonoa lives in Breezegale and was raised by Grandpa, the current village elder. Breezegale's Gunston Mine was led by Balue, a large man with a love interest for the mythical singing diva Lephise. Characters outside of Breezegale are Granny, the elder of the Forlock, and King Seadoph, the king of Jugpot who protects the everlasting water supply to Phantomile. The primary antagonist is Ghadius, a dark spirit who aims to turn Phantomile into a world of nightmares. Ghadius is served by the rude and loud-mouthed Joka, a creature resembling a Jester.
The story begins with the legend of the land of Phantomile, a mysterious place that is fueled by the very dreams people have at night. As a result, no one can clearly remember the dreams they have had, even if they occurred recently. However, a young boy named Klonoa who lives in the town of Breezegale with his grandfather has been having dreams about a mysterious dark airship crashing into a nearby mountain, and can recall every detail of it.
One day, a mysterious ship does indeed crash into the mountain, and Klonoa and his friend, a ring spirit named Huepow, decide to investigate. After fighting several small, round creatures called Moos, they reach the top of the mountain, only to find two mysterious creatures. They learn that the leader's name is Ghadius, and his accomplice is a short sinister-looking clown called Joka, and together they are searching for a pendant that holds certain magical properties. They kidnap a woman named Lephise, and after returning to their village Along the way, they managed to find the pendant and left it with Grandpa, Klonoa and Huepow decide to chase after them. The pair, upon entering Forlock Village, discover that their path is blocked due to a lack of water.
Thanks to a Jugpot guard, Klonoa and Huepow discover that a problem exists within Jugput and travelled to there to solve the mystery to why the trees in Forlock had withered, preventing access to the way to Chieftess Granny. When they arrived, the two heroes discovered the water was flowing backwards, preventing water from reaching Forlock therefore killing off the majority of the forest. When Klonoa and Huepow reached a nearby castle, they heard a call for help from a fish-like creature named Karal, who was locked inside a cage. After freeing him, Karal told Klonoa and Huepow about two bad men, Ghadius and Joka, had wrecked havoc upon the castle nearby and that something was wrong with his mother, Pamela. The little fish asked the two heroes a favor of returning Pamela back to normal, and they happily accepted. Karal then took Klonoa and Huepow inside Shell Castle, where his mother was.
Once inside, Klonoa and Huepow were confronted by a corrupted King Seadoph, the ruler of Jugpot, who knew about the two heroes from Ghadius. Determined to get rid of them, Seadoph called upon his servant, Pamela (who was also corrupted by Ghadius as well) to assist him in destroying Klonoa, and a fight commenced. Despite their efforts, both Evil Seadoph and Pamela were defeated and returned to their normal selves. King Seadoph gained consciousness, and after a short explanation, he became aware of his actions when he was under Ghadius's control. He then realized that the Forlock chieftess Granny may be in danger for having knowledge of ancient lore, including the Moon Kingdom.
King Seadoph stated he'll quickly restore the flow of water to turn the trees in Forlock back to health, and called upon Karal to take Klonoa and Huepow to Forlock. The little fish thanked Klonoa for returning his mother back to normal, and he took Klonoa and Huepow to Forlock Forest.
After the events of Jugpot, Karal carried Klonoa and Huepow back to Forlock where the water restored the towering, withered trees back to health, allowing the two heroes to continue their way to Granny. With the help of some of the Forlok residents, Klonoa and Huepow were able to reach the top of Forlock, where Joka was threatening to hurt Granny if she didn't talk what she knew about the Moon Kingdom. When Klonoa and Huepow arrived, the evil clown sent out his monster, Gelg Bolm, to get rid of them all. The two heroes defeated the monster, and saved Granny, who told them about the Moon Kingdom including the mystery behind the Moon Pendant. However, Joka had overheard everything from a distance, including about Klonoa's Grandpa having the moon pendant, and made himself known to Klonoa and Huepow before making his way to Breezegale.
Realizing that Grandpa was in grave danger, Granny showed Klonoa and Huepow a shortcut to Breezegale where the two heroes quickly made haste to reach the Wind Village before Joka does. When Klonoa managed to reach Breezegale and saw Grandpa safe and sound, Joka and a Pilot Moo appeared in a pair of hovercrafts, with Joka firing a beam down on Klonoa's house with Grandpa inside, taking the Moon Pendant and leaving the elder mortally injured. After Klonoa defeated one of Joka's monsters, Baladium, the boy quickly returned to his grandfather only to find him dying slowly in his arms. Before he died, Grandpa told Klonoa that his destiny was to bring the Moon Pendant back.
Soon after, Jugpot's Pamela arrived to aid Klonoa after hearing everything that happened from King Seadoph and Granny. She transports them to the Temple of the Sun, Coronia, where they learn that Ghadius and Joka had invaded the temple. The villains defeated the high priest Moire with little effort and continued up to the altar, planning to use the crystal at its summit to bring forth the Moon Kingdom.
Klonoa and Huepow managed to reach the altar to find Ghadius and Joka waiting for them. Ghadius disregarded their presence, stating that their interference didn't matter and referring to them as no more than 'brats', while also berating Joka for failing him. Ghadius reveals that his plan was "nothing more than simple revenge". He once again demonstrates his hatred of those who rely on good dreams, claiming he will drown them in a world of nightmares. By using Lephise, and the 'egg of destruction' (Nahatomb) that lies within the Moon Kingdom, his plans shall come to fruition once the Moon Kingdom reveals its true form to the world. Ghadius then vanished, and Joka challenged the Klonoa and Huepow for one last time.
Klonoa was the victor, and Joka regretfully died. However his death activated the crystal needed to summon the Moon Kingdom, which began spreading nightmare energy across Phantomile. With Pamela's help, they travel to the Moon Kingdom Cress to stop Ghadius's plan. While there, Klonoa discovered that Huepow was actually the kingdom's Prince but continued to help him. As Klonoa and Huepow reached Ghadius, the Dark Spirit stated his degree of respect for the heroes before attempting to justify the reasons behind his actions. Huepow states that if Nahatomb was revived, Ghadius would be destroyed along with the everything else. Undeterred, Ghadius engaged the protagonists in battle, claiming that he will "show them the error of their ways".
After a bizarre battle taking place in a gigantic, rotating wheel, Ghadius was finally defeated. Klonoa's friends and companions arrive at the altar to join in on Klonoa's victory over the Dark Spirit, but Ghadius, with his final breath, unleashed the beast named Nahatomb from the egg of destruction to destroy all of Phantomile. With the help of his friends he and Huepow met along the adventure, Klonoa managed to defeat Nahatomb with a powered Wind Bullet by Huepow. After the defeat of Nahatomb, Lephise was freed, and she announced that the nightmares in Phantomile had disappeared.
After the battle, Huepow and Klonoa returned to Breezegale to relax. As Klonoa began planning for the future, Huepow told Klonoa that it was time for him to go back to where he originally came from. He proceeded to confess that he was responsible for bringing Klonoa into the world of Phantomile and that the world that he lived in was all a dream and every single moment they shared together was all just fake memories so that Huepow could use Klonoa to save Phantomile. Klonoa refused to believe this, but Huepow stated that what he said was true and when Lephise sings the Song of Rebirth Klonoa will be pulled back to his world, to his Phantomile.
Before Huepow can explain further, Klonoa felt himself being dragged into a portal as Lephise began singing the Song of Rebirth. A tearful Huepow attempted to stop Klonoa's unwilling departure but was forced to watch as Klonoa is pulled back to his world completely. As the Song of Rebirth concludes, the world of Phantomile is renewed and a melancholy Huepow stares off into the sky.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was directed by Hideo Yoshizawa as his tenth project. The game originates to a project proposed by Yoshizawa. The concept had a serious story focused on robots with a motif of ancient ruins. The idea was eventually dropped, and a more comical story was adopted. However, two of the concepts arts that featured Klonoa fighting actual werewolves (which would later designed into Moos) and Huepow as a cannibalistic monster (which later redesigned into a harmless fairy) had suggested that the game was originally going to be an action horror game. Tsuyoshi Kobayashi, main planner, conceptualized the gameplay of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. He developed the idea of a fast-paced action game where the character could move and be attacked while making use of an enemy.
Klonoa and other characters were designed by Yoshihiko Arai. Arai's first design, "Shady", had a shadow-like appearance. However, he felt that the lack of color did not seem tasteful, and dropped the design. His next design was created with cat eyes and long ears, as Arai felt that a person's eyes and silhouette are the features noticed when they are first met. He added a large hat and necklace to give the character a childlike and energetic quality. The design was kept and used for Klonoa. A running aspect of his designs is the Pac-Man design on his cap.
Namco felt that the game would be appealing to a wide audience, thinking that the adventure-like aspects would be enjoyable for children and the emotional plot twists would be appreciated by adults. Yoshizawa designed the story using dreams as an important concept - "I was struck by the idea that when you wake up sometimes in the morning and you know you had a dream but you can't remember what it was, obviously the dream went somewhere, at least in my way of thinking. I thought, 'I wonder where these dreams go. What if all these dreams that are lost when people wake up but they can't remember are carried away and collected somewhere like some sort of energy?'" The characters and setting were implemented with things that Yoshizawa felt could appear in anyone's dreams, with stages appearing like pleasant dreams and others like nightmares. "We tried to imagine a dream world people could relate to from their own dreams and experiences."
Promotion, release and merchandise
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was publicly revealed at E3 1997 with a trailer video. Namco stated their target demographic as a younger audience, hoping the cartoon-like antics of Klonoa would appeal to children. The game was later presented at the 1997 Tokyo Game Show with game demos and an actor in a Klonoa costume. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was published by Namco in Japan on December 11, 1997. Namco-subsidiary Namco Hometek published Klonoa: Door to Phantomile in North America circa March 1998. The game was lastly published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in areas of the PAL region on June 5, 1998. These releases were separated by the languages of English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
- Main article: Kaze no Klonoa: Door to Phantomile Original Soundtrack
The soundtrack of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was published by NIPPON CROWN Co.,Ltd. on February 25, 1998. It consists of 68 tracks spanning two compact discs, and includes three sets of stickers. NIPPON CROWN Co.,Ltd. intended for the soundtrack to be a selection of the most recognizable pieces, as the full score exceeds one disc, but selector Kōichirō Shigeno was against excluding pieces. Shigeno traveled to the NIPPON CROWN Co.,Ltd. offices to compromise, and the soundtrack was eventually postponed to include the full score on two discs.
Two official guidebooks were released in February 1998. The first guidebook, produced by ASCII and published by Aspect Co., Ltd., includes an additional 18 pages of development information. The second guidebook was published by Shogakukan and includes staff interviews, artwork and a T-shirt. A manga was published by Enix on March 27, 1998. It was released as a part of 4koma Manga Theater, a Yonkoma series currently published by Square Enix. Illustrated by eight artists, the manga depicts Klonoa, Huepow, Balue and Lephise encountering creatures and antagonists such as Joka and Ghadius.
In 2005, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was included in the PlayStation 2 NamCollection, a five-game compilation of PlayStation 1 titles released by Namco to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. The collection was only released in Japan. In 2008, a remake of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was released for Japanese mobile phones.
- Main article: Klonoa (Wii Game)
- Main article: Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile sold 51,441 copies when the weekly Japanese charts were released on December 14th. This placed the game fourth for the week; one position lower than Shining Force III: Scenario 1 and one position higher than J-League Winning Eleven 3. The sales also made Klonoa: Door to Phantomile the week's second best-selling PlayStation video game and best-selling Namco video game. The game remained in the top 50 for 10 more weeks, when sales had reached a total of 159,284.
Ron Dulin of GameSpot rated Klonoa: Door to Phantomile 9.2/10 and gave it an Editor's Choice award. Dulin found the gameplay to lack repetition, and praised the game's pseudo-3D approach. He criticized occasional perspective problems, where he had difficulty judging the distance of moving platforms. Dulin praised the game's enemy and level design, and stated that the music is fitting but "occasionally annoying". His "only foreseeable problem" is the surreality and cuteness of the game's artistic design. Dulin stated that there are "only two real problems" - the game is "a bit too cute for its own good" and "a little short" - and concluded by calling it "one of the best side-scrollers in years". A reviewer from IGN rated Klonoa: Door to Phantomile 8.0/10 and gave it an "Editor's Choice" award. The reviewer criticized the game for being too cute and not having enough levels, but also criticized the bosses for being too difficult. IGN concluded by calling it "arguably the best (platformer) on the market".
Four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly each gave Klonoa: Door to Phantomile a rating of 9/10, and the game received an EGM Gold award. The game's visuals and sound were separately rated 9/10, and its ingenuity and replay were separately rated 8/10. The four praised Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, calling it a "fantastic game" and a "platform masterpiece". One reviewer criticized the camera perspective, stating that it occasionally blocks out areas needed to be seen, and another criticized a lack of difficulty. They concluded that the game's best feature is its "old-school style play", and its worst is that the "childish feel may turn off some".
Klonoa was awarded Best Character at the Tokyo Game Show by the Consumer Electronic Software Association. Editors of PSM, an independent PlayStation magazine, ranked Klonoa: Door to Phantomile the 19th best PlayStation game in 1998.
- Pressing L2 or R2 will blow off the leaves from the title screen.
- Official Klonoa: Door to Phantomile website
- Klonoa: Door to Phantomile Music Collection
- Klonoa: Door to Phantomile fansite (Archived)
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