bulby33's Kameo: Elements of Power (Xbox 360) review

Kameo is a good 360 launch game, but not a great game overall.

With the launch of the Xbox 360 in November of 2005, Microsoft took charge in the next generation early to get the all-important head start in the console race. There weren't any amazing games that launched with the system like Wii's Twilight Princess, or the SNES' Super Mario World, but there was a lot of games that were pretty decent, and Kameo: Element of Power is one of those games. If you like past Rare games like Banjo Kazooie, or Jet Force Gemini for the Nintendo 64, then you probably like this game, but it is different than past Rare games. You'll notice right from the beginning that it will very much feel like a classic Rare game with the same type of noises and visually similar to the company's classics. The big thing that Microsoft wanted with its new system was the enhanced graphics from the previous generation. This jump was drastic, and when you switch over you system into HD, you will be amazed. But with all of this promise of enhanced graphics come with great gameplay? Kameo: Elements of Power is supposed to be this game, but does it hit the mark? 

You play as a female protagonist named Kameo (surprisingly enough), infiltrating a very evil looking castle in order to save her family at the beginning of the game. Right off the first hop you can really tell the graphical difference between the original Xbox, and the Xbox 360. Fireballs are falling from the sky, which is dark and cloudy with lightning going off after every couple of seconds. Kameo is not supposed to be visiting this castle, as you may already have figured, but the beginning castle is just the tutorial of what the rest of the game will offer. You can transform into 3 different creatures, depending on what face button they're located on. For example, one of the creatures is a Plant named Pummel Weed, and if you have him equipped to the B button, pressing said button will morph Kameo into the creature selected, and in this case, she would transform into Pummel Weed. Using the face buttons for transforming into creatures can get a little annoying especially when you have to use the Left and Right Triggers to attack, and it can especially annoying when you have to press them together to do a different kind of attack. 

But anyways, after Kameo arrives at her destination inside of the evil infested castle, her evil Sister releases Kameo of her special abilities, and the premise of the rest of the game is to get them back. Getting them back is never easy. Kameo will have to fight evil demons in order to gain each of the creature's power. Fighting these devilish monsters get harder and harder as the game progresses. You are also unable to use the powers you gain back from previous fights, you will always have to fight with the vulnerable Kameo herself. It is especially annoying when her kick move is done by pressing both LT and RT together, and it sometimes doesn't register both presses of the buttons. You will meet many funny characters along the way, and like previous Rare games, the whole game is hilarious with great dialog, and awesome voice acting. The Enchanted Castle floats in the sky in the middle of the over world, where everyone is safe, but it's surrounded by a magical barrier, and if it falls, so will the castle. Kameo has to protect this barrier with her life, and goblins like to attack more than she would probably like. Sometimes it's at the sea, or sometimes it's just a tank trying to take it down, but no matter what the situation is, you have to take it them down before they do. 

If you have played a Zelda game before, then you're pretty much at home where Kameo is concerned. The game will have you trek through 4 different dungeon all having a different theme, like Zelda, catch my drift? The 4 themes of all of the dungeons include a Forest area, a Beach theme, an Ice dungeon, and even a goblin controlled Airship. The mention of only 4 dungeons (5 if you include the 1st castle at the start of the game) might turn people off because of the shortness of the game, and to tell the truth, the game does end up being pretty short. There are some side quests here and there, but overall, it's lacking in the length department. You do find a number of different types of creatures though, and there ends up being 10 in total with every creature having a unique ability that you will need to use for the puzzles in the game. Some are somewhat useless like Rubble for example (a ball of rocks that shoots rocks at opponents, but does minimal damage), but some are very useful like Ash (can use fire to stop enemies in their tracks). Some can be pretty useless against enemies, but can be really effective in puzzle situations. Boss fights are also pretty epic too, but some can get very frustrating at times. The second boss for example needs to have balls reflected up a ramp in order to reach him, but reflecting the balls is done with a creature that turns into ball to attack enemies, and if you're off by like a 5 degree angle, the ball will miss the target. Annoying to say the least. 

An enemies health is represented by a number above their body, and when you hit them with an attack, the number will quickly go down. Most enemies wont have a giant amount of health, but they will gradually increase over the length of the game. Kameo can also find fruits that can increase her creatures attacks to have more devastating special moves that will deal more damage. The whole game isn't very difficult, and getting stuck is never an option, because Kameo carries around a book named Ortho that will always tell you what to do if you get stuck. It good for beginner players, but for more experienced players it's like a cheat. But, most of time you can figure figure out what to do, and if you eventually need to use Ortho, it'll end up being obvious what to do. You also use the book to upgrade the creatures you find throughout the game. 

Visually, Kameo looks awesome. It's not going to take your breath away like Gears of War, but you will still be wowed by them. All of the environments are silky smooth and have a nice glare reflecting off of them with rich and luxurious colours found all around the game. The characters are pretty good looking, it's not supposed to be realistic, so many other characters will look very cartoonish. The frame rate also never really hitches, but it's not totally smooth, it can hiccup here and there. Since the 360 is so powerful, Kameo is able to have a ridiculous amount of enemies on the screen. Sometimes when you're riding your horse, you can end up going through a massive line of goblins and there will be hardly any slowdown. The sound is also pretty good, though, it's not amazing. The voice acting, like mentioned above, is great, and the soundtrack also sounds pretty epic. The old Rare sounds from previous generations are also back, and they still sound satisfying enough. Enemies and other characters will have some pretty cartoony voices with grunts and screams can sound kind of cute. 

Overall, Kameo: Elements of Power is a decent game. It's not going to blow you away in any area of the game, but not many launch games are supposed to. Kameo tries to do a lot of things differently like using the trigger buttons for attacking, but it really doesn't end up being very good, especially when you have to press them together. The game is beautiful with rich colours, and silky smooth environments, and the sound is pretty good too, but the game is short and doesn't take very long to finish. With a good area, comes a bad area. That's the story with Kameo. It can be great in some areas, but not in others. Kameo is a great first try by Rare for the Xbox 360, and if it was near the beginning of the 360's lifecycle, I'd suggest it. But since it's 3 years into the 360's life, I suggest to just pass on it if you haven't yet played it.
2 Comments Refresh
Posted by AxeMeTender

There was  a review there?   I had to hilight it to get it to show up.  Damn this black on black print!  I hate the giant bomb colour scheme.

Posted by Bulby33

Yeah I know. I copy my reviews from my other website and it comes up black for some stupid reason.

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