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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox
PUBLISHER:
Microsoft
DEVELOPER:
Rare
GENRE: RPG
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
November 22, 2005
ESRB RATING:
Teen


 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on January 27, 2003

Updated Preview: Rare's new game has a weird kid picking up creatures and training them to fight in battles other creatures. All this and more in poKameon!


Rare has always been one those developers that aren't the slightest bit predictable. For example, for the longest time, Rare rarely (pardon the pun) ever made anything that was offensive, nor did they make anything that wouldn't be wholeheartedly accepted as suitable entertainment for children. Then, near the end of the N64's life cycle, Rare began pumping out games that not only pushed the envelope, but also jumped on it, cut it into tiny pieces, and lit it on fire. Anybody who played Conker's Bad Fur Day knows exactly what I'm talking about, as Conker included coerce language, gross amounts of violence and blood, and one particular scene where a bee makes love to a flower. Doesn't sound like a game for the kids now does it?

Possibly the biggest curveball that Rare Studios has ever thrown though is it's recent announcement of a Microsoft buyout. Such news came as a shock for longtime Nintendo fans, who had played Nintendo-exclusive Rare games for so many years, only to watch their exclusives be yanked away from them violently by the monstrous power of Microsoft's almighty dollar. Because of this rather intelligent (albeit pricey) business move by Microsoft, many of Rare's games have been shifted from coming out exclusively for the Gamecube to coming out exclusively for the Xbox. Kameo: Elements of Power is one of these games.

Kameo's premise is slightly original, although many people will think it to be not much different from the majority of RPG's these days. The game revolves around a weird looking girl named Kameo who has mystical powers of various types. Using these mystical powers, Kameo must save six Elemental children. While she's doing this though, she also must nurture and raise animals, which can later be used in the game's battle game play bits. Acquiring these animals is no piece of cake however, as Kameo has to use a round-discus looking thing within the game to capture animals. The way this tool works is that first you aim it at the animal you are trying to capture, and then firing it, and hopefully latching on to the animal. Once you've fired the weapon and caught the animal, a vortex looking thing pops up on the game's screen, and an analog-controlled bubble within it. By maneuvering that bubble into certain places within the vortex, you reel in the animal you are trying to capture. Unfortunately, in demo builds of Kameo, only 4 of the promised 60 animals were available. If the first four animals are any indication however, we're in for quite a treat. Among the four available now sport weird names like Koo and Cling, and have abilities that vary from flying to spitting out fireballs. Let's just hope Rare can fit all 60 of the promised animals in the game before it's release.

The most impressive aspect of Kameo though at this point is the game's graphics. Kameo's environments are very detailed but still hold up good in the draw-in distance department. The game also displays some breathtaking character animations that are as extravagant as they are flawless. Also showcased is a good array of special visual effects that make for great eye candy. Among the visual effects seen within the game's E3 demo included breathtaking water effects, and some particularly amazing heat distortion effects complemented by equally drool-worthy motion blur.

The game's controls at this juncture seem to be very simplistic in nature, yet in practice work quite well. Taking a cue from the Zelda games for the N64, the game uses little more than the D-pad and the standard four buttons to allow Kameo to swim, run, jump, and glide with relative ease. The game also utilizes staple controls of the genre, including Z-button lock-on and the like.

Final Thoughts
The playable demos for Kameo have been very brief and usually only leave you with a small taste of the much larger game that is to become Kameo: Elements of Power. However, if the early demos are any indication, and Rare studios keeps going on its present track, then gamers will have quite the game on there hands come December.


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