Rare's latest GameCube title is about a young monster trainer and her adventures. Here's our hands-on impressions of Kameo.
Rare has developed yet another game exclusively for a Nintendo console, in this case, Kameo: Elements of Power for the Nintendo GameCube. Kameo is a young girl, gifted with the ability to capture and train wild beasts. These creatures make up the majority of Kameo's abilities--she is able to command a number of her creatures into battle, as well as assume one of their forms at will. Along with the companions she finds along the way, Kameo must search for six Elemental children across a number of lands. Kameo is a very attractive game, with colorful, lively inhabitants and lush landscapes. Each of the 60 creatures has its own distinct appearance, which matches its abilities and eventual evolutionary form. Capturing a creature is accomplished by aiming a bubble-flinging weapon, and then you use the analog stick to goad the struggling bubble into the center of a spinning vortex of flowing lights and shifting colors. The controls are simple to use and intuitive. The A button is the action button, which normally jumps, or executes whatever ability the creature you are controlling, while the Y and X kidney and B buttons select the monsters that you can summon or become.
The three playable levels were very short and only provided brief glimpses into what the final game should be like. The first demo area took place in a small woodland cove inhabited by a large assortment of what can best be described as baby monsters. Capturing them and checking them out makes up most of the first level. The second area placed Kameo on an isle and charged to protect it; she must utilize the abilities of three creatures to destroy three troublesome trolls. The landmass is littered with steaming geysers and encircled by an attractive shoreline that gave it the look of a tropical paradise. The trolls, however, were anything but pleasant, being large, ferocious, and well armed. The three creatures you could transform into each had a specialized ability that could be put to good use on this stage. One was a leaping type of mammal that appeared something like a prairie dog with flamingolike legs that could send you launching high into the air. Another creature most resembled a wombat, with stretchy skin between arms and legs that allowed for efficient gliding. Lastly, you were able to morph into a large, hulking flame-type beast, whose best skill was a mean set of forearm swipes. The tactic we felt implied by this combination was to use the leaper to get altitude, then morph in midair to the glider creature to scout the island. Upon finding our quarry, we morphed into the hulking brute for a surprise attack that guaranteed a quick victory. The last area sent us to a boss battle with a huge Venus flytrap monster with tentacles and projectile acid sludge. Using Kameo's height as scale, the monster could have been no less than four stories tall. Fighting this beast entailed using an amphibious creature's form to swim close to the plant, which grew from the center of a lake, then turning into a vulturelike creature that could drop a bomb down its gullet. After this, a fire-breathing creature could be used to burn away the plant-beast's tentacles one by one. The way that the scripted encounters account for the combinations of creatures available adds a significant level of strategy that will surely please those familiar with the easier, less active monster-taming games on the market.
We'll report more on this intriguing Rare title as development approaches completion. Kameo: Elements of Power will be available later this year.
- Downloadable Game