Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Chameleon Twist (N64 review)

Developer: Japan System Supply
Publisher: Sunsoft
Released: 1997

Chameleon Twist is a platformer by Japan System Supply who also worked on the unreleased Virtual Boy game Bound High!

It has six worlds that take place in the Jungle Land, Ant Land, Bomb Land, Desert Castle, Kids Land and Ghost Castle. The B button allows you to unroll your tongue towards enemies and once captured you can throw them back at other opponents or switches. Its direction can be altered while it's extending so you can loop it to pick up several things at once or even grab onto poles to swing yourself to otherwise inaccessible areas. Pressing Z makes you stand on your tongue and if you time it right with the A button you can launch yourself into the air to reach higher platforms. These are all nice mechanics and while it does take a few minutes to become accustomed to them they work really well. The levels usually consist of destroying a room full of enemies and finding your way to the next area. Bomb Land is the most interesting as you need to blow things up to create pathways. The worst is Kids Land as you need to swing around posts and land on moving platforms to reach the next area. It's here that the camera causes issues as it can't be freely moved around. Instead you can only slide it left or right or zoom in and out and it's tricky lining up a jump. Once you get to the end of a level you'll face a boss; they're nothing special and have simple attack patterns that can quickly be memorised. There's unlimited lives and if you die you start right back in the same area you were just on. This is good if you want to see everything but the game is already short and it encourages you to be reckless. The music is awful and features generic gameshow tunes with some dreadful jazz tracks.

Chameleon Twist is a unique platformer with lots of charm and interesting mechanics. It does have some flaws and it's probably starting to show its age but there's still an enjoyable game here once you get used to the controls.

Random trivia: A sequel called Chameleon Twist 2 was released on the Nintendo 64 a year later.

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