Monday 19 August 2019

Kid Chameleon (Sega Mega Drive / Genesis review)

Developer: Sega Technical Institute
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1992

Kid Chameleon is an action-platformer that's exclusive to Sega's 16-bit console.

Children are being abducted inside a new virtual reality game called Wild Side and it's your job to rescue them and defeat the boss Heady Metal. There's 103 levels and the objective in each is to reach the flag within the time limit. Kid's main attack is to bounce on enemies, but he can also transform into various characters including a fly that can stick to walls, and a tank that fires skull bombs. The game's main strength is its astonishing amount of variety, predominantly in the excellent level design which constantly mixes things up. Likewise, each stage packs a solid challenge, but is just the right length to stop you from getting too frustrated. There are so many ways to beat each level thanks to the multitude of characters and it makes the environment feel like an alluring playground rather than a scripted 'point A to point B' affair. I also like how you don't have to follow the exact route to the flag, and instead the game has plenty of secrets and hidden areas. The adventure is huge with 103 levels to beat, although a major oversight is the lack of a save or password feature to continue your game. It does stumble at times too, such as when completion of a level requires a specific character power-up that's hidden inside an invisible block. In general, the controls are responsive, but personally I found the jumping mechanics to be a bit slippery which certainly doesn't help when dealing with pixel perfect leaps. The bosses pack a good punch though and it's fun running around the smaller environments to see which character power-ups are available and how you can strategically use them in battle.

Kid Chameleon is a terrific action-platformer with outstanding level design, neat character power-ups and a ton of content that will keep you occupied for a long time. It does pack a serious challenge (and could have used a password system), but the bite-sized approach helps to alleviate some of the exasperation you'll undoubtedly encounter!

Random trivia: In Japan, the game was released as Chameleon Kid.

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