Kid Chameleon is a video game released for the Mega Drive/Genesis. The
premise of the game is that the main character "Kid Chameleon"
can use masks to change into different characters in order to use different
abilities. It is a platform game.
Two series of comics based on the game were featured in Sonic the Comic.
A new VR 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 themuntil 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 teleporters 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".
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 addicting 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.
Listed in order of appearance (roughly):
Kid Chameleon - If Kid runs out of hit points while wearing any other
mask, he reverts to this form. If Kid runs out of hit points in this
form, he dies. In this form he can grab onto ledges to pull himself
Iron Knight - The Iron Knight is the most durable character, able to
take more hits than any other character. He also has the ability to
scale vertical walls.
Red Stealth - A Samurai who can defeat enemies and break through some
floors with his sword.
Berzerker - This character can charge through walls.
Maniaxe - Modeled after Jason Voorhees, Maniaxe throws axes.
Juggernaut - A tank that shoots skulls.
MicroMax - A fly able to stick to walls and is half the size of the
other characters, able to fit in small places.
EyeClops - Can temporarily reveal hidden blocks and fire a harmful beam
for a low diamond cost.
SkyCutter - A hoverboarder able to ride on the ceiling.
Cyclone - A superhero who can fly by spinning like a tornado.
Other Attributes of the Game
Kid Chameleon is considered a platformer in the game industry and generally
plays like one. The player uses his character to hit blocks for rewards,
must jump on enemies' heads to defeat them and collected diamonds (like
Super Mario Bros.' coins or Sonic the Hedgehog's rings). But there were
a few things that set the game apart. Unlike Super Mario Bros., Sonic
the Hedgehog or other platformers, the diamonds players collected did
not automatically count towards an extra life or some other reward.
Instead, they were used like money to purchase support for the player.
Almost every character had a set of two such supports; one would cost
20 diamonds and the other would cost 50; players could collect up to
99, whereupon subsequent collected diamonds would disappear and be wasted.
Examples of these supports are a hailstorm of diamonds which killed
enemies on screen, a forcefield of protective diamonds encirlcing the
character or purchasing an extra life for 50 diamonds. Some characters
did not have a set of diamond powers, as they were called, and instead
had a single, cheap power available. For instance, Juggernaut could
purchase a three-way shot for 5 diamonds or EyeClops could purchase
a death ray that damaged all enemies it hit for 2 diamonds. The diamond
powers can be activated by pressing A and Start at the same time.
Another aspect of Kid Chameleon that set it apart was the various blocks
the characters could hit. Unlike some other games, which usually featured
only one or two types of blocks, this title featured 11, as follows:
Prize blocks offered rewards when hit, such as masks, sets of diamonds
or an extra life. They became rock blocks once the prize was extracted.
Rock blocks act as barriers or platforms to stand on; at times the player
would need to break through them and at other times, he or she would
need to be careful not to. This was especially the case with Iron Knight,
as his weight would automatically break through them if he jumped too
high and landed on them.
Iron blocks function just like rock blocks, but cannot be destroyed,
although Berzerker had the ability to push them.
Rubber blocks were stationary and could not be destroyed. The character
bounced atop these blocks.
Cannon blocks shot out a sharp projectile that could break rock blocks,
kill enemies or hurt the character (if he was in the way); these were
used at times to make a deadly trap for the player, in that if one was
accidentally touched, the player's character died.
Ice blocks made maneuverability hard and when broken, shot ice upward.
Vanishing blocks disappeared the moment they were touched; some levels
forced the player to move quickly and these added to the adrenaline
rush, as one mistake could spell the character's doom.
Shifting blocks moved upward when hit; they could also moved sideways
by hitting them with Berzerker. If a player hit a shifting block while
an enemy was standing between two of them, the enemy would be destroyed;
enemies could also be crushed with them using Berzerker's ability.
Drill blocks looked just like Iron blocks, but had a deadly drill that
came out when the character got too close; the game would often tempt
the player with a ledge of blocks, only to fool him or her into hurting
Mushroom blocks would disappear when hit, only to grow additional ones
above where it had been. These could be used to reach high, normally
Ghost blocks looked like shifting blocks, except that they were stationary
and phased in and out of existence. Sets of them would at times be grouped,
making perfect timing a must.
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 fuelled speculation that a third strip was imminent.
Fleetway did not produce anymore however and the story, like almost
every non-Sonic strip, remains unresolved.
If you let the opening scene play uninterrupted a few times, each time
the Kid hits the P block, he will cycle between high detail versions
of Red Stealth, Maniaxe, and Juggernaut.
At the end of Blue Lake Woods (level 2) there is a series of blocks
just above the flag. Jump to the last one and then press and hold down/right,
jump, and special together. You will be warped to Plethora, the last
Hidden messages can be spotted within the pictures in the introduction
screens to certain levels. Two message are known for sure.
"LED ZEP" - In the intro screen to the urban levels, at the
top of the tall building located at the far right are the words "LED
ZEP", possibly reference to the band Led Zeppelin.
"Kevin" - Found when entering the hill levels, engraved on
the base that the tree is standing on is "Kevin", using shapes
to resemble letters. Kevin could be the real name of the main character.
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