Reviewed by Andrew Pagan
Possibly the quietest game to be released for Nintendo 64 this year,
Chameleon Twist slipped into American retailers last week. Unfortunately,
this Japan System Supply developed 3D platformer wasn't advertised at
all -- which is a shame because it's a surprising and refreshing addition
to Nintendo 64's library.
The story behind Chameleon Twist is simple. Davy, a super-tongued
chameleon, follows a rabbit through a magic pot and in doing so somehow
manages to transform himself into an alien and ends up in another land.
He must then find a way back out again, traveling through odd worlds with
only his quick wit and his long, over-sized tongue to aid him.
Graphics 6 out of 10
Much like Bomberman 64 (a game in itself that not everyone around the
office enjoys), the game has a bland, boring look about it. The first level,
especially, features tiring colors and very uninteresting textures. Luckily,
while the look of Chameleon's worlds never really improves, the level
design -- and gameplay therein, shows noticeable progress as Davy
advances through the game. Even the 3D polygonal characters are made
up of minimal polys and make Miyamoto's simple enemies look lavishly
detailed in comparison, but in the long run all the graphic short-comings
take a back seat to the gameplay department.
Music and Sound 4 out of 10
It should be noted that the music and sound effects aren't pretty. When
we first turned the cartridge on I was immediately greeted with a number
of requests to turn the volume down by fellow friends. The music tries to
be "cute", but is more effectively annoying than it is anything else. Sound
effects are average, with a few token beeps and bops thrown in for jumping
and enemy sounds.
Probably the amount of challenge as that found in Bomberman 64. You
play for 7 hours or so, then you finally beat the game. The difficulty in
this game is average. Don't worry, that's kinda good, mixed with loads
of fun. It's good enough to keep you on your toes.
Game Play-Fun 8 out of 10
Gameplay is relatively simple, but extremely intuitive. Utilizing an
over-head camera view similar to that found in Bomberman 64, players
must travel through odd, sometimes bland worlds, using Davy's tongue
to eat enemies and advance through the game. The crazy tongue can be
controlled via the analog stick for precise latching. Besides curling
around enemies and sucking them into Davy's mouth where they can
be spit back out like bullets at other enemies, Davy's tongue also
comes standard with a number of other life saving abilities, including: a
tongue-pole vault, which basically propels Davy above ground (like a
hand-stand) via his tongue, which acts as a spring for Davy to reach
high ledges that would be unattainable with regular jumps. Davy can
also simply let his tongue fly out of his mouth, latch onto an object
and then suck himself to it. This works great when the chameleon finds
himself stuck on a ledge -- the only option being a pole sticking out
of the ground on the opposite side of a stage. But the fun doesn't end
there, either Davy can also grab onto an object and then twirl himself
around it with his tongue. Imagine for a second that players get stuck
on one side of a room and the only way to the exit door, which lies at
the opposite side, is by use of a pole in the middle of the area. Davy
can latch onto the pole with his tongue and swing 180 degrees over
to the other side. It's ingenious.
Gameplay is not without its problems, however. Every now and again
the camera angle will interfere with the a player's view of the action,
turning what should be an easy procedure into a lesson in frustration.
For example, nearly everyone who had a go with the game found themselves
missing precision jumps because the angle of the action was misleading.
Also, I noticed a slight frame rate drop in certain situations, but it was
so rare that I feel it doesn't deserve more than a mention.
Replayability 8 out of 10
Sure, exploring each world over would be nice, you might run into some
secret. And maybe instead of trying to actually pass the game without
looking for anything, go to each enemy and see their moves and powers.
Yeah, you could play it over, 'bout every 4 days, just try not to get bored
so fast after playing it over and over.
Game Value 8 out of 10
If you bought Bomberman 64, then these will just be add-on levels,
sorta. If not, then yeah, it would be worth it, if your the cooky, kinda
guy who likes cartoons. This game is very entertaining and exiting,
although easy, so, sure, it would be worth the price.
Overall 7 out of 10
All in all Chameleon Twist surprised me. I was expecting a boring,
uninspired 3D platformer that tried to copy Bomberman 64, but what
I got was a fun, cleverly designed puzzle/platformer with intuitive
gameplay design that's ideal for beginners. I believe that anybody who
enjoyed Bomberman 64 will like Chameleon Twist (which is arguably
the better game). Even more, I have no problem recommending this title
to platformer fanatics as it certainly captures all the elements of a
fun 3D platformer with a hint of puzzle. The only real problem is the
difficulty: The game is way too easy for most gamers. So if you prefer
graphics over gameplay, or you want a challenging game, you will probably
want to wait until next year when Nintendo and Rare's grand line-up arrives.