Mind Games

Looks like platform games are what I really like when it comes to console games. I’ve enjoyed stuff like Ape Escape (only played the first one), Castlevania (Symphony of the Night and Lament of Innocence), Lego Star Wars (I and II), and my favorites, the Ratchet and Clank series (all three, but I don’t know anything about the solo Ratchet one). Jak and Daxter (I only played the first one) was okay, but a little short. And now, on Dan’s recommendation, I have played Psychonauts.

In Psychonauts you play Razputin, who infiltrates a psychic summer camp in order to receive psychic training unbeknownst to his parents, who hate psychics. I get paid a nickel each time I use the word “psychic”. He uncovers a sinister plot and ultimately becomes the only person at the camp who can stop the menace. To do so, he has to learn and master various mental abilities, such as levitation, pyrokinesis, telekinesis, and so forth. He’ll use these skills when he enters other peoples’ minds and has to deal with their internal mental landscapes, which include a battlefield, a rave party, and a paranoid’s nightmare. Since it’s a platform game, he’ll also have to use acrobatic skills such as jumping and climbing, so it’s fortunate he grew up in the circus.

The game has some great characters and funny dialogue. The puzzles make sense (and you have in-game ways to get hints on how to deal with them). The jumping isn’t too bad, but there are a few hairy parts. At the end the difficulty gets ramped up pretty crazy, but I was able to get through it without a lot of cursing.

The level designs are great. Within each person’s mind is a landscape tailored to their specific personality, based on whatever it is their particular hang-up is. Some of them don’t seem to make thematic sense at first (bullfighting?), but as you work through them you start to see how it all falls into place.

The end of the game sets up Psychonauts 2, but I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day. From what I can tell, sales of this game were lackluster (we bought it used), and the official webpage hasn’t been touched in over a year.

Thanks to Dan for recommending this one. I’m open to more suggestions along these lines as well. I don’t see us getting any console other than the PS2 any time soon, so I’m limited to stuff that will play on that machine, but there should be a lot available I don’t know about.

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2 Responses to Mind Games

  1. blasterhappy says:

    As per your recommendation at Christmas I got the the first Ratchet and Clank and love it. Also got Star Wars Lego Trilogy and got half way through it and SOMEONE save over my game so I’m go back through again. My son is obsessed with this game. It is all he wants to play. Now if I can keep him from shooting and hitting me during two player…I heard the Jak and Daxter Racing was good “If your into the Battle Racing thing”) but have not picked it up yet.

  2. Topher says:

    The Milkman was one of my favorite characters…and Gogglor level with the lungfish was awesome too. A tad hard to explain. While not specifically a platformer, God of War is pretty darn good. Mostly moving from place to place slashing people, but there are some areas of vertical gameplay.