got sucked into the wiki for this game and started having a little too much fun reading it... it claims kid chameleon is "the iliad" of the 16-bit era. I guess it would make sense that there were some players at the time enamored with its sense of scope, enough to look past the absolutely wretched level design. even with 103 levels and a variety of alternate routes through the game, each bite-sized challenge tastes far too sour to enjoy the variety. level design is often immature and confusing, with dead ends, blind jumps, hidden spikes, and invisible blocks scattered no matter where in the game you are. this is compounded by handling inspired by sonic's momentum without the carefully tuned parameters behind it; our protagonist casey awkwardly quickly accelerates and is slow to deccelerate as if the ground lacks fraction, and his ability to move in the air is incredibly touchy for a game replete with single-tile platforms to land on. it's hard to forgive a platformer that's this utterly shitty and never seems to end.
where the game does succeed is with its power-up system, more or less. to curb the aforementioned difficulty each mask/costume for our protagonist to wear can be esaily found strewn through each level, and each one gives a full reheal as well. between them all there's no real standout either: each one has some major positives, even if they're not immediately apparent. enemies generally will die from a bonk on the head but also can be easily dispatched with the samurai's katana or Jason Voorhees's throwable axes, and other masks like the knight or the hoverboard offer enhanced mobility options. all of this feels clunky (especially when it comes to the samurai's ducktales-esque downward stab or the extra-wide skeleton tank), but it at least makes wallowing through each level less of a chore. this is especially the case when the devs offer an actual bespoke challenge suited towards one of the masks rather than simply plopping interactables into the world.
the game is somewhat ugly for a '92 genesis title, particularly when the backdrop is a cave or something similarly dull. minor parallax effects when bodies of water are present in the background somewhat rectify this. the level themes themselves are also noticably drab, and you'll rarely remember that you're actually a radical kid running through a holographic world outside of the neat level transitions at the end of each level. the branching pathways and multitude of areas would have benefitted well from a world map, or absolutely anything beyond the silent splash screens introducing each locale. music is surprisingly good given that it's a GEMS title, as beside for a couple grating clown synths it's overall got a nice groove to it and doesn't attempt any out-of-place rock stylings. otherwise there's just little to differentiate it from other mid-tier genesis title of its era.
played around 25 levels I think? maybe a little less or a little more, I don't know exactly what route I took. I quit at madmaze mountain for those curious, near the halfway point of the game.

Reviewed on Sep 22, 2022


2 months ago

if the level design all tastes sour, i dont think there would be any variety to enjoy

2 months ago

fixed the link to the wiki... it looks like I copy-pasted the wrong thing and didn't notice bcs we were in the middle of having broken links across BL. there's some funny (and informative!) tidbits here and there if you get the chance to read it