Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament, or the abbreviation we'll be using, DCT, is one of those rare sequels that, on top of attempting to be better than it's predecessor, actually succeeds in doing so. It's superior to Empire of Dreams (and its abbreviation, EoD) in almost every way because it improved on the formula that EoD already created, while adding a myriad of new things to spice up gameplay. Today, we'll be discussing what makes this game a great game downright, as well as how it's improved on EoD.
With that said, let's begin! Stages
Stages are a major part of any game, and DCT is no exception. With a total of 45 stages to play (the most of any Klonoa game!) and 5 additional stages to unlock, it helps make the game last longer than usual. They're not just puzzle stages, either; there are auto scrolling stages, pseudo-3D board stages, and boss/race stages to add diversity to the already greatly designed puzzles. Which aren't easy, mind you.
Caption: Western Jungle's board level.
Speaking of which, let's talk about characters.Character Design and Diversity
Every character has their own designs and stories that truly make them stand out as, well, characters. Each design is unique and different to one another and makes everyone more memorable, and there's not one design that's similar to another.
Caption: Suiryu is a great example of a design that sticks out in a great way.
This partially extends to Klonoa's main enemies as well, Moos. DCT has five different ones, each that correspond to their own environment/stage. They are:
The Tree Moo,
the Conductor Moo,
the Mummy Moo,
the Pirate Moo,
and the Gear Moo.
This helps to not only keep characters memorable, but the stages that they're from as well.Environments and Music
Keeping newly introduced environments fresh and different are key at keeping the player interested, and DCT does this impeccably. No two environments are the same, and their music greatly helps push this. The music is also pretty darn good in its own right.
We start at the Western Jungle, a lush jungle area full of trees... and Moos.
Afterwards, we move on to the Northern Express, a giant steam train you're trying to get to the front of.
When that's completed, you then head to the Eastern Desert and the Southern Resort.
Finally, you finish it off with Garlen's Castle, the hidden world in the center of the map.
All of these stages are great for their environments, music, enemies, and puzzles. I also can't think of many other games where I can go from a jungle to a desert in a couple seconds. Story
The story of DCT seems fairly simple at first...Klonoa gets invited to a tournament where he wants to become the greatest hero around. He needs to compete with others if he wants to achieve this, though. Everything appears to be fine, but something suspicious seems to be going on behind the scenes... Something Klonoa finds out soon enough.
The story does, again, seem fairly simple, but that's a good thing; it allows you to focus more on the gameplay and music, even if the actual plot is a little bit lax. This also makes the game more accessible to new players, and it's not incredibly complex. Sometimes, simpler can be better.Final Thoughts
Dream Champ Tournament is an amazing Klonoa game full of color, diversity, and a memorable cast of characters. It took what EoD had, and improved it immensely with more stages, level variety, puzzle elements, music, and so many other things. It's a great GBA game on it's own, highly recommended, and is the clear winner of this Klonoa handheld matchup.
Thanks for reading this much. Best of luck to Team Empire.