I love loving games that very few people remember. I feel unique enjoying a cult classic or something considered to be imperfect. But that is what gaming is all about, finding something that you enjoy regardless of what everyone else says about it. 2006 was a weird time for gaming. The Xbox 360 had released in late 2005 and the Wii and PlayStation 3 would not release until the end of 2006. The time between the release the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 set the tone for the entire console generation. This allowed Microsoft to make huge moves in the console space and really try some new and innovative things with online gaming. Their first big initiative was the Xbox Live Arcade. They attracted small developers to create arcade style games that would only be delivered digitally. Cloning Clyde was one of those games.
Xbox Live Arcade was one of the primary reasons that my Xbox 360 received a lot more love than any other console. Every week something new was being released for less than $20. As an avid gamer I was constantly hungry for some new experiences. Especially during the first 12 months of the Xbox 360’s life cycle Xbox Live Arcade games filled the void while I waited for the next big budget release. Cloning Clyde released without a lot of fanfare, but after trying the demo (each Xbox Live Arcade game was required to have a free trial) I wanted to play the next level.
This was a game that combined simple puzzles with exploration as a two dimensional side scroller. Each level had secrets to find and speed challenges to accomplish. I even collected all of the achievements for this game in just a few short hours. Some of the achievements required the player to collect all the collectibles and others were a bit more straight forward with regards to game completion. I remember having a rather difficult time with the loose platforming controls on some of the levels. But overall the game was rather forgiving and did not require a lot of precision movement to complete.
By now you may realize that I love a game with a lot of good character and unique traits, maybe even a dash of weird. Cloning Clyde had all of this and then some more. As the titular Clyde you were tasked with releasing all of your clones scattered throughout the game’s levels. In order to accomplish this you needed to sometimes combine DNA with other animals to gain abilities like flying short distances after combining with a chicken. After completing the game you unlocked a secret Chupacabra monster that had all of the abilities from each of the animals. The puzzles often forced the player to switch perspectives between the different clones in order to active platforms at the right time or reach hidden areas. There were a lot of fun mechanics that created a memorable experience wrapped up in a weird package.
The pinnacle of the Cloning Clyde experience came from the online multiplayer. This was not a competitive game, but it was fun. It required you to use the skills learned in the single player (DNA combining and clone switching) in order to gather the most point scoring gems while battling an enemy. After a few rounds of figuring out the controls and strategy I was hooked. As soon as the game started I knew exactly what to do and I would execute with few errors and win the match before my opponent knew what was happening. Before long I found myself matched up against the same player over and over again. I stopped and checked the online leaderboards and found myself ranked within the top ten worldwide. I was shocked because I never viewed myself as a competitive online gamer, but apparently I was really good at Cloning Clyde. On the launch day of Cloning Clyde I played the online multiplayer until 3:00 or 4:00am in the morning. I ended the night ranked number 1 in the world.
The next day I would fall to second place and remain at third or fourth place for the next few years. I believe that I am still ranked within the top ten today. A few years back I would regularly receive messages from other players looking to boost the game or asking for help with some of the achievements. Nowadays I do not think many people are playing Cloning Clyde. I still love the game and remember fondly my time spent battling for the top spot in the world.
Tomorrow we discuss another online Xbox 360 title: Chromehounds.
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks