Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk

Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

SNES vs. Genesis: Kid Chameleon

In a rather uncharacteristic move, Sega established a development team in the US known as Sega Technical Institute. On top of working on several Sonic games, the team also came up with several totally original titles of their own. One amongst that number was Kid Chameleon, a game about a virtual reality program that kidnaps anyone who can’t beat the game. Unfortunately for the kids who play it, that’s everyone who has ever played it so far. Enter Casey, a cool kid who think he’s got what it takes to the beat the final boss, Heady Metal, and free all the kids who have been kidnapped.

He’s nicknamed Kid Chameleon because of his ability to assume various personas by putting on different masks. One of those is a  samurai who wields a sword, another is an armed knight, and another is rhinoceros sort of creature. There are more besides those three and each serves a different purpose in getting Kid from end of the level to the other. This adds variety to the gameplay and ensures that few levels repeat the same structure.

Setting the masks aside, the gameplay is similar to Super Mario Bros. There are various enemies that move back and forth across the screen and most of them can be killed by jumping on their heads, although this is not the case for all of them. There are also breakable blocks that hide collectible crystals and Kid’s various masks. Some of the forms have melee or even ranged weapons, further differing it from other platformers. Each section is usually split into two levels, although it doesn’t have boss battles. Each form also has at least one diamond power, which uses the diamond collected in the various to levels to perform different effects.

Kid Chameleon is slightly easier than other Genesis platformers. You start with three lives and three continues and it’s possible to get more over the course of the game. I died a few times, but that mainly as a result of simply getting used to the game. Also, each form has its own health bar and that, when emptied, causes Kid Chameleon to revert back to his regular form, which has two hit points. Obtaining a new mask, even the same as the one Kid already has, result in his health bar being refilled. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some areas that can be really tricky, however.

On the technical front, the graphics aren’t too hot. I know I harped on Rocket Knight Adventure’s graphics a few days ago, but it looks much better than Kid Chameleon, which has a flat look to it. That doesn’t effect the gameplay of course, but I think it’s worth at least noting. In terms of music, I suppose it gets the job done, but there’s nothing there that I find to be particularly memorable.

Overall, it’s a fun game to play for a while, but I just don’t see putting it up with the best platformers on the SNES and Genesis.

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April 30, 2010 - Posted by | Console Wars, Games | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Unless you know exactly where the warps and costumes are, this is by far the hardest platformer for the system. Apart from the constant trial & error the main challenge is to keep going since you can’t save or continue with a password and the game is huge.

    Comment by Alex | May 20, 2010 | Reply


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