Planet of Cartmans II

Four years in the making, Junkman's huge 30-level "Planet of Cartmans 2" was finally released June 27, 2005. Taking place after the original title, this highly violent sequel reveals that Cartman did not actually die, and is instead plotting his evil revenge on the universe. Luckily, for the universe's sake, Stan Marsh, who supposedly died in the first game, is granted permission to return from the afterlife, on one condition: He brings down Cartman once and for all.

With three levels of dificulty, this massive action-platformer takes you through many different territories full of traps and puzzles, allowing you to play as several different characters throughout the game.

Direct Download - 1.31MB
Internet Archive Link

July 22, 2005

Planet of Cartmans 2 has been a highly-anticipated title in the South Park Gaming community since its creator Junkman first announced it some four years ago. Yes, the game has really been in production for that long, and made South Park Gaming history on a day that will live in glory: April 1, 2005. This, of course, was when Junkman released a fake Planet of Cartmans 2 game as an April Fools joke, and basically left half of the community in disappointment and outrage, and the other half in hysterics. However, there's another day that will live in glory: June 27, 2005. The day the REAL Planet of Cartmans 2 was finally released. It can also be noted that this day was Junkman's 21st birthday, which is a significant event in any western culture. So, the obvious questions: Was Planet of Cartmans 2 worth the four-year wait, and did Junkman give himself a good birthday present? The answer to both is an enthusiastic "HELL YES!"

During the production of POC2, I always defended Junkman whenever someone complained about the amount of time it was taking. Being a person who talks to Junkman a lot online (and also being a beta tester of the game), I followed the production of Planet of Cartmans 2 very closely. In a way, I was there alongside Junkman for many of the ups and downs, and I know how much effort was put into this game. There were indeed times when it looked like the game would never come out, and quite a few moments when Junkman completely lost the will to work on it. Of course, almost any game maker would be able to empaphise with him for the latter, especially considering how long he spent making it. Just to put things in perspective: About a year alone was spent working on the cutscenes, so this gives you the idea of the level of effort and persistance Junkman has put into Planet of Cartmans 2. It was, by no means, a rush-job at ANY point of the game, and anyone who has been through what Junkman went through making this would more than appreciate and marvel at the game's sheer amount of effort. No detail, no matter how tiny, has been overlooked, and it pays off in a big way.

The game starts off with a VERY impressive cutscene. Junkman's games have never been TOO big on cutscenes before, they really just served as a way to tie the levels together with a storyline. The same much applies here, although a LOT of effort has now been put into the cutscenes. What particularly impressed me was little details, mainly with character movement, that most South Park Gamers wouldn't even THINK to include. Tiny details like having characters shake their heads, or slightly move their hands, both look great, and really give the sense of realism. Junkman really should be applauded for his cutscenes, as they tie in well with the game and the show, explaining anything that conflicts with either South Park's logic or the original Planet of Cartmans game. Unfortunately, the script for the cutscenes are riddled with grammar errors - with more lines than not having something incorrect in them. While this has become expected from Junkman, given that English is not his main language, it does make the game seem really unprofessional and the dialogue really out-of-character at times. In the future, I'd really recommend Junkman have someone go over and check his cutscene scripts first. However, enough about the cutscenes, let's get onto the game itself!

Planet of Cartmans 2 takes place after the original one. It begins with Stan in the afterlife, learning of various events - one of which being that Kenny did NOT stop Cartman in the original game, and the fate of the world is at a worst stake than it's ever been. Giving Stan one last chance, the people who run the afterlife grant him life again, on the condition he can stop Cartman... So, the game begins again, with Stan on the Planet of Cartmans, blasting away numerous enemies in the forms of various different Cartmans, and avoiding the Cartmanite virus which threatens to turn him into one of them. He later teams up with Kenny to figure out what Cartman's evil plan is, then stop him from succeeding. Granted, this is just a VERY basic analgy of POC2 - but I'm trying to reveal as little as possible here to keep things fresh and new for people who haven't played the game yet. All I can say is: Expect plenty of surprises.

Graphically, Planet of Cartmans 2 is a bit conflicting. The South Park graphics aren't as good as they could have been, but they ARE all original Junkman graphics, and they do the job well. Not to mention the animation on them is terrific. However, a large amount of the background graphics are ripped (mostly from the Clickteam game-making libraries). While they DO look good, their slightly more realistic appearance conflicts with the simple style of the South Park character graphics, and leaves it looking a bit weird (not to mention some of the enemy graphics are incredibly bizarre to say the least). Also strange is that the realstic rock graphics from the first act in the POC2 demo has now been changed to a simple, cartoony style. If the rocks were one of the few unoriginal graphics in the game, I could understand Junkman's idea to change this, but with so many ripped graphics, it just seems silly to change the good-looking rock graphics to something so plain in comparisson to everything else the game overs visually. However, I'm in no way attacking Junkman for his ripped graphics here, that'd just be hypocritical of me. They do the job well, they look great, and Junkman has given credit where it's due, so there's no problem there. I just felt it needed to be pointed out.

Planet of Cartmans 2 REALLY shines in the sound department. Not so much with sound effects, which are, although good and suitable, fairly standard and expected of South Park Games nowadays. However, musically, POC2 is absolutely brilliant. All the music in the game was composed and sequenced by Junkman himself, and he's done a fantastic job. The music sounds great. It's dark, ambient and sets the mood so well, it really adds a whole new level to the game. Music has always been a strong point of all Junkman's games - and the fact that the soundtrack is 100% original basically adds whatever the ripped graphics took away from the game. There are even times when you just want to stop playing and listen to the background music. Kudos to Junkman here. Hopefully he'll release the soundtrack to POC2 very soon. wink.gif

Onto the gameplay itself, and what can I say but... Wow. Although the basic gameplay is much like its predecessor, it offers much more this time around. Yes, it IS essentially a violent, action platformer consisting mainly of killing a crapload of Cartmans, but there is so much variation within the levels now, and plenty of moments that require brains, skills and close attention. Junkman made his own platform engine from scratch here, and it works really great. You can do all the traditional platformer stuff - walk, jump, etc. and can also run by holding down shift. There are very few glitches in the gameplay, and my hat goes off to Junkman for creating this great original engine. There are plenty of weapons to use, each with pros and cons, and there's never a moment where it felt like the number of weapons was well above OR below what it should have been. Levels are incredibly well-designed, with each level offering a different challenge for a different reason, and the difficulty curve is perfect.

However, what really makes the gameplay is the additional things in levels, that give it the variation mentioned earlier. The vehicles you get to use, the machines you come in contact with. There are even several levels that consist solely of powering a high-speed vehicle through a large obstacle course - they are both fun to play and give the game a lot of variety. I was particularly impressed by the underwater levels - Junkman's underwater engine is SO well-made and professional, there are many moments during the sea-base act where I had to remind myself the game was home-made. However, if I were to go and list every aspect of the gameplay I was impressed by, this review would be about three times as long as it already is, plus I don't want to spoil things for the potential player of the game. All I'll say is that once you've done applauding Junkman for the cutscenes, please shower him with luxuries for the incredible gameplay. Who'd have ever thought a game that basically started as an excuse to kill a lot of Cartmans could have been so playable? smile.gif

Overall, Planet of Cartmans 2 may be one very large download, but it's more than worth it. The game offers so much more than any other South Park game has in the past, even with its occassional flaws. No, POC2 is NOT perfect... however, it IS the closest thing in South Park Gaming that's ever come to perfect. It has everything a good game needs... It provides a great atmosphere, it's smart, challenging, and incredibly fun to play - even if it can be a little frustating at times. You really can't help but be blown away when first playing this game... and even during multiple plays, too. If you haven't played it yet, download it now. It may be a big file for some, but it is WELL worth it, because Planet of Cartmans 2 is, without doubt, the greatest South Park Game to date. Period.

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