Little Big Adventure 2 (which went by the only slightly better name of Twinsen’s Odyssey in the US) was a follow-up to the previous alien action-adventure I’ve already talked about. But this time it’s in 3D. If there’s any lesson to take away from this, it’s that fixed camera angles do not work in 3D, outside of horror games. I recently revisited it and it’s arguably a decent sequel, but with that huge camera-based caveat.
This sequel sees a slightly more mature Twinsen bringing his heavily pregnant wife Zoe back indoors after a storm hits. His pet Dinofly (think giant, round and crudely animated pterodactyl) has also crash-landed, and needs a cure to get it back up to full strength. Before long, the weather is clear. Clear enough for an alien invasion. It’s once again up to the young hero to save the day.
A lot about this is familiar. Throwing balls at enemies and solving puzzles. However, it felt larger than its isometric big brother and that’s largely due to the 3D worlds. I say “worlds” because you’re not stuck in the realm of Twinsun the entire time. You meet a whole host of alien lifeforms, including hot-dog people called Francos. Indoor areas do have the usual dungeons, but Twinsen has a couple of new tricks. On paper they sound mundane, but as mid-1990s PC games go they’re very useful. He can do little bunny hops to better dodge enemy attacks (useful since the bulk of them use guns) and jumping can now be done mid-sprint.
But the camera sucks. Time has definitely not been kind to it. 3D technology was in its infancy and camera controls were still wonky in 1997. While the camera does shift to a point every time Twinsen exits the side of the screen or wanders too far, pressing the enter key will warp the camera back to just behind Twinsen – which is also the only proper way to rotate it. All this makes platforming a lot harder to judge than it needs to be. It’s heavily outdated and I know my enter key agrees with me on that. At least you can save any time.
While Adeline Software never got the chance to make a third Little Big Adventure, this put a nice bow on the series. It’s a big swansong, with a lot of heart, and plenty of imagination. It did come out the same year as the wonderful The Curse of Monkey Island, among many other greats from that year, but it deserves to be remembered too, camera issues and all.