As with everything eventually delivered by Rare, Kameo seems almost impossible. It seems almost impossible that the game began life as a Nintendo 64 project two generations ago, seems impossible that it passed though GameCube and Xbox on the way and seems impossible that it has been finally released. Only Duke Nukem can challenge Kameo (and perhaps its stablemate Perfect Dark Zero) when it comes to time spent in the abyss.
Perhaps the first thing to come to grips with when you decide whether or not you are going to buy Kameo is the type and age of player the game is aimed at. There are so many reviews and reviewers that miss the point entirely, seemingly expecting a cerebral experience guided by the userís intuition, suitable for only those granted access to every 3D third-person game from the last decade and a degree in advanced special awareness. Though these same reviewers will harp on about the glory days of Rareís Nintendo 64 action games as though every cartridge expanded not only gaming, but the entire world.
This is, of course, shite.
Go back and play a selection of Rare Nintendo 64 titles. Nothing stands the test of time. Those who disagree are simply wrong. The games at the time were astonishing, groundbreaking offerings, though today they are tepid at best, mainly due to the absolute robbery of all of the innovations they contained, by every single third-person game since released and Rareís inability to generate new software at a rate adequate to protect its investment. And before we move onto Kameo proper, another point needs to be underlined. As we mentioned, not everyone has played every game ever. Not everyone is a mid-twenties beard-stoking self-appointed critic with an obsession for linguistic masturbation. Most reviewers now critiquing Kameo were adolescents when they had an N64. It is for this reason the game has been so easily misunderstood by so many.
So weíre back to holding Kameo. We actually hold it in our hands. Itís at this point we have something of an internal office-wide conflict. SPOnG had something of a public spat with Rare. We were right, they were wrong, this goes without saying, though there are a few things to consider before you read this review. The first is that we loved Rareís Nintendo 64 work, with some of us barely scraping a third-class classics degree due to extended GoldenEye play. Then the above mentioned spat and fallout with both Microsoft and Rare. Then we patched things up. Then we took a sizable booking for adverting for Kameo, the fruits of which youíll see on these pages in the coming weeks. None of the outlined factors have any impact on the review.
The first thing youíll note about Kameo is the gameís reluctance to leave you wondering what to do. It is like an over-protective parent, terrified youíll go wrong and therefore over-interferes with your exploration. The game understandably overworked, with the various teams all adding to the tutorial and player-help elements of Kameo without anyone taking charge and stripping things down. A common complaint with Kameo, this aspect of the underpinning mechanic fades with play, though it undeniably mars the initial experience for the more attuned gamer. Again, the point of Kameo, so easily overlooked by the hundreds of rushed reviews which clearly havenít seen past the first few levels, is that itís not a game for the expert and the hardcore. Itís a game for early-mid teens, children and, dare we say it, women.