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Tour de 64   

Chameleon Twist 2

Chameleon on the rocks with a twist

After having some fun with the first Chameleon Twist despite its issues and simple gameplay, I was excited to try the sequel. With the hopes that it would improve upon at least some of the problems with the original, I slid the cartridge into my Nintendo 64 and flipped the power switch.

Upon booting up the game, I was greeted by a message prompting me to insert a Controller Pak. I guess they didn't spring for the internal save chip for this sequel, so hopefully they didn't cheap out in other areas. This time around, the Training selection is clearly visible on the menu, so I make sure to start there to see if anything is new about the game. The chameleon changes into a workout uniform and three training stages are presented. There is also an optional training stage available at the beginning of each stage, though most of the maneuvers used in them aren't required until later in the game. As I would come to discover, these stages are actually some of the more challenging ones the game has to offer, as strange as it may seem.

Playing the training stages introduced me to the game's couple new moves. The main one is that the chameleon can now spring a parasol from his backpack when in the air, allowing him to float across gaps or glide with the wind. When grabbing onto a pole with his tongue, the chameleon can now swing around it vertically in addition to horizontally. The tongue will also now stick to any given wall instead of requiring poles, and once pulled up to it, he can perform a wall jump. One thing removed from the first game is the ability to rotate the camera; however, this isn't too big of a deal since stages are less cramped and the camera does a fairly good job of focusing on the correct course of action, plus zoom functions still remain.

Surprisingly enough, the story in this sequel makes even less sense than before. The chameleon is playing on a seesaw with a fellow chameleon when all of a sudden, his friend jumps off. The friend then looks up to find something falling from the sky, which turns out to be the very same rabbit from the first game. He lands on the other end of the seesaw and launches the chameleon high up into the sky. Once there, he lands on a floating platform and finds himself morphed into the bipedal reptile shown on the box. The scene doesn't even give any motivation as to why the chameleon must trek through this new world, but I must admit, it's the first time I've seen a first-person seesaw in a game.

The stage designs take a slightly different approach from the original game. This time, stages are more open, making them feel less cramped. There is more of a focus on platforming now, and less enemies are found throughout each stage; considering that the enjoyable act of licking up enemies and spitting them at other things is one of the game's basic mechanics, this is a little disappointing. Fortunately, the levels put the chameleon's other abilities to better use, though this presents a new problem: There are times where it feels like the game's mechanics are not fast enough to keep pace with some of the moving platforms found in the later stages, which can lead to a bit of frustration.

Fortunately, the worlds are a little more creative this time around. In one stage, a balloon is ridden across a large gap, and many birds land on it to make it sink. The birds must be licked up to make it rise again, and it must be floating at the proper height to reach some of the powerups along the way. In another, vertical platforms must be shot with spat enemies to make them fall and become horizontal platforms that can be hopped across. A bridge made of playing cards will crumble as the chameleon scurries across. Each stage has its own share of these unique little experiences that make them all feel fresh.

The presentation is a little cleaner than the first game, but still pretty similar. The simplistic graphics use few polygons, but the textures are clear. Animation is fairly choppy, and although there are still many sprite enemies, there are a few more polygonal enemies than just bosses. The framerate is mostly smooth, and although I did experience a few moments of slowdown in some larger areas, they weren't at parts where it mattered much. The sound effects are largely reused from the first game, but that's okay because they're still fitting enough.

Chameleon Twist 2 is definitely a better game than its predecessor, even though it contains some of the same trappings and brings with it a couple of new issues. If the two games were treated as one, they would make for one quirky platformer of decent length that has a few clever ideas and mechanics that make it enjoyable and worthwhile. On its own, it's short-lived, but still has its moments. Fans of platformers who have already completed Nintendo's offerings should give it a look.


 

Comments

Jason Ross Senior Editor

09/27/2011 at 11:04 PM

I like the ideas here, with the birds acting as weights, and using the tongue as a tether of some sort to grapple off of walls. I want a new Chameleon Twist game! New Chameleon Twist game!

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

10/10/2011 at 08:57 PM

There isn't going to be a new one because the company that made the games no longer exists. Why don't you just get this game? It's still playable.

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

10/10/2011 at 08:57 PM

There isn't going to be a new one because the company that made the games no longer exists. Why don't you just get this game? It's still playable.

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