Title: Kameo: Elements of Power Format: XBox 360 Release date: 2006 Obtained: 2006 Place of purchase: Gift Price: N/A Completed?: No
Kameo was one of the first games I got for my XBox 360 when I was given it as a Christmas present back in 2006. At the time, it was an amazing game with wonderfully colourful graphics that screamed ‘next generation’ at you and hit you over the head with their highly-defined awesomeness. Alas, coming back to play it in 2012 it did very little but annoy me. The big, big (big, big, big, in fact) problem I had with it was the camera. My God, the camera is awful. It’s almost as if the designers sat around a table in an office complete with a whiteboard which had the topic ‘How can we make the camera as dreadful as possible’ on it. After several hours of debate and diabolical-plan-hatching they tend took their heinous ideas and gave them to Timmy the work experience guy to program, thus ending up with an utter travesty.
So irritating was the camera, with its lack of centering ability, no enemy lock-on and a tendency to auto-switch to an inconvenient angle at the worst possible moment, that Kameo has become one of the very few games in recent years that has caused me to eject the disc from the console in utter disgust. In truth, I shouldn’t just blame the camera for that: the movement controls also lack precision; walking around is a very ‘floaty’ experience (even when you’re not meant to be floating) and the difficulty of aiming at enemies is unforgivable.
It’s all a bit of a shame, really, as the game has its good points. Other than the aforementioned graphics (which, to be fair, still look good), the game has enough of the humour that developers Rare are, or at least were, known for. The game’s main USP – that you can transform into various creatures with different abilities – is also well implemented. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever get around to finishing it because the camera and controls would just make it so annoying that I’d end up putting my head through the TV screen.
Title: Donkey Kong 64 Format: N64 Release date: 6th December 1999. Obtained: On release. Place of purchase: GAME (online). Price: Approx. £60. Completed?: Yes.
Three main things stick in my mind about Donkey Kong 64: 1) the damnably awful ‘rap’ song that started every time you plug the cartridge in; b) spending an absolutely age playing the in-built version of the original Donkey Kong arcade game just so I could get one of the game’s collectable golden bananas; and iii) the fact that my copy came with a free inflatable banana that I kept in my room for a long time before it deflated into oblivion.
DK64 was developed by Rare and was pretty similar to Banjo-Kazooie. Replace golden jigsaw pieces with golden bananas, and swap musical notes for, erm, differently coloured bananas, and you’ve pretty much got the same game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, and indeed I remember DK64 quite fondly. Sure, it was incredibly frustrating in places and the continual collection of lots of different items became a bit tedious after a while, but it was pretty fun.
Swapping around between the characters provided a fair bit of scope for variety, as they were all sufficiently different as to give some interesting challenges each. There were plenty of good ideas around, as well, albeit sometimes you did feel that they were just a bit stretched out and indeed, the game overstayed its welcome a bit.
Graphics-wise DK64 was pretty decent for an N64 title, more impressive given the scale of the levels. Having said that, the title was the first to require the use of the optional RAM expansion pack. Thankfully the initial release of the game came bundled with one, which saved me the bother of having to source one from elsewhere.
That rap, though, that rap was really, really bloody awful. Whoever thought it might be a good idea to have some polygonal apes doing a cheese-infested rap number that would have embarrassed the makers of Saturday morning cartoons deserves a slap around the face.