From Sega Retro
Kid Chameleon, called Chameleon Kid (カメレオンキッド) in Japan, is a platform game released for the Sega Mega Drive in 1992. The premise of the game is that the main character, "Kid Chameleon", can use masks to change into different characters to use different abilities.
The game is also a part of Sega Mega Drive Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. It was released for the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on 22 May 2007, North America on 28 May 2007 and Europe on 1 June 2007. It was also released in addition to a series of other Sega games, including Shining Force and Comix Zone, in Sega Smash Pack 2.
A new virtual reality arcade game arrived in town and every kid played it. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until kids began to disappear. The game's boss, Heady Metal, had freed himself from his scripted AI and was using his new freedom to kidnap every kid who could not beat the game, which was all of them—until now! Kid Chameleon enters the game and must defeat every level, every boss and Heady Metal himself if he wants to save the others.
The player, as Kid Chameleon, progresses through a series of levels. Most levels contain a flag, which is the primary goal of each level, from which the player progresses to the next level. However, a number of telepads throughout the game can warp the player not only to different places in the same level, but also to different levels, and sometimes to an entirely different path through the game. At the end of the game, Kid fights and defeats the final boss, Heady Metal. Kid Chameleon contains nearly a hundred levels, of which only about half are on the "main path" (traversing levels only by flags), and also counts the two-dozen smaller unnamed levels, simply called "Elsewhere". Despite the game's considerable length, there was no password system or other method of saving the game. However, both Sega Genesis Collection and the Virtual Console service allow players to save their progress mid-game.
As Kid Chameleon moves through the game's levels, he gains access to masks that transform him into different characters. Each character has different special abilities and varying amounts of hit points. The sheer amount of variety in gameplay due to the various characters is part of what gave Kid Chameleon such an addictive style; few levels repeated the same structure and they usually had specific strategies and characters to be beaten. In addition to the offensive abilities of each form, the Kid could also defeat enemies by jumping on them, although he may take damage from some enemies by doing so.
The collectable (a known platform game staple) in Kid Chameleon is the diamond. These differ in color depending on the stage in which they're found, but function the same as currency. Kid can use powers at a cost of 20 or 50 diamonds (with the exception of Juggernaut and Eyeclops, having attacks costing 5 and 2 diamonds respectively), and they are activated by holding the run button (by default A) and pressing Start.
Kid Chameleon features 11 types of 'block' which adorn the levels. They are as follows:
All blocks, with the exception of the drills from the Drill Blocks, act as platforms, and can be stood upon.
There are three levels throughout the game (starting with Hills of the Warrior 1) that feature a giant, metal wall covered in drills and augers that sweeps across the screen at a steady pace. These levels require the player to navigate and exit the map as quickly as possible, as coming in contact with the wall instantly kills Kid. These levels have a unique music theme, which becomes useful in identifying the danger early on.
It is possible to avoid two of these levels entirely, depending on the 'route' taken through the level progression; the first one being unavoidable.
In early 1993, Kid Chameleon gained his own comic strip in the new Fleetway publication Sonic the Comic. The first strip ran from issues 7-12 and featured Casey entering the Wildside to rescue his friend Suzy, with a disembodied presence known as The Voice giving him advice and encouragement. Through each issue he changed into one of the different personas- Red Stealth, Eyeclops, Micromax, Berzerker and finally Iron Knight, before his Chameleon powers ran out and he had to take down a powerful enemy as his normal self. While he & Suzy escaped Wildside, the story ended with Casey discovering local school bully Brad was also trapped in Wildside. In issues 54-59 he returned again to rescue Brad, this time turning into Skycutter, Berzerker, Maniaxe and Cyclone. Here he discovered that The Voice had a more sinister agenda and was keeping children from all over the world prisoner in the Islecatraz gulag, using Brad as warden. Casey, as Cyclone, destroyed Islecatraz and freed everyone from Wildside, but when it became clear only one more person could escape, Brad sacrificed himself as penance for his sins so Casey could escape. The ending was ambiguous, with a showdown being threatened between Casey and The Voice, and fueled speculation that a third strip was imminent. Fleetway did not produce any more, however, and the story, like almost every non-Sonic strip, remains unresolved.
Level editing has been made possible with the release of K-E. K-E allows maps to be extracted from the ROM, modified, and imported back into the game for play. Up to 126 levels can be used in the game.
Game Design: Hoyt Ng, Broderick Macaraeg, William G. Dunn, Graeme Bayless