An attempt to mimic Mario – in a few ways at least – Kid Chameleon offers something much different to Sonic’s speedy antics on the Mega Drive.
It’s a solid platformer, and for fans of the genre it’s worth investigating.
You play as Kid Chameleon, who must enter a virtual reality arcade machine and defeat an evil entity who is trapping kids within the game itself.
There are several worlds, with each one containing two to three levels.
The game starts off, as so many platformers often do, with an ordinary looking forest level – but even these aren’t as dull as you’d expect, thanks to the title’s main gimmick.
You can collect suits throughout stages by hitting the various P blocks (most of the time they just hold gems), and grabbing masks which transform you into various forms.
These include a sword wielding samurai, a knight who can charge and destroy walls, a Jason Vorhees clone who can fling axes, and – most amusingly – a tank driving skeleton.
Fortunately the costumes aren’t the only entertaining thing here, with the enemies themselves an interesting bunch.
They all pose different threats, including crawling hands who restrict your movement, lava-men who leave a trails of fire behind them, and tiny green slime beasts.
The only surprising thing about the cast of foes is the lack of bosses at the end of each world. They would have been worth seeing if the smaller foes in the game are anything to go by.
It’s a shame then, that the level design itself isn’t up to the same standards of the cast of enemies and power-ups.
Too often the game expects you to somehow understand its strange design quirks, such as the fact you can walk through some walls as they’re in the foreground – even though they look nearly exactly the same as all the other walls.
Other times it can be plain cruel, like in a Under Skull Mountain level, which slides you down ramps straight into pits of spikes. It does this twice as well – talk about unfair.
The game only gets harder as you progress as well, and there’s a lot to get through.
With no save system very few people will see the end, or even want to – despite the game’s admirable qualities.
Despite its problems, Kid Chameleon doesn’t hold up too badly today though.
Its simple graphics can look a little dull if the world you’re in isn’t set in an enthralling setting, but there are enough inspired moments to hold your attention.
It doesn’t stand out in a crowded genre, but it doesn’t disappear out of view from it either.