For there to be a round two, a round one usually has to be passed, and way back in the days of the Dreamcast (you know, that console no one bought but everyone seems to love now), a plucky young Kangaroo named Kao blasted onto the scene and was quickly forgotten. However, the boxing marsupial was not down for the count and it seems he is ready to go another round. Of what, though, I have no idea.
The platform genre has become rather stagnant over the years, particularly on the GameCube. While Playstation 2 gamers enjoy Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter, and Xbox gamers to a lesser extent have Blinx, our main man Mario is our only platformer of quality lately. And while Mario 128 plays a game of console hopping, sub-par platforming games such as Spyro and Crash fill the platforming void. Kao's exploits unfortunately only seek to fill in the gaps.
Kao begins Round 2 locked up in the Hunter's ship, and after being saved by a parrot, it is revealed Kao must now save all the other animals that The Hunter has locked up in cages. Usually you would think this would mean venturing all over colourful locales and freeing cutesy animals. Not so, as the only thing standing between Kao and his mates is a gate and a drunken sailor who will only open up if you bribe him 3000 ducats. So Kao must now go about colourful locales and collect coins, with which he can bribe the sailor. This lack of imagination is a fair representation of Round 2.
In the graphics department Kao actually does not look too bad; colourful and non-offensive, it does its job. However, the main problem is the lack of variation between enemies and the miniscule level design. The animations are pleasing, Kao bounces along innocently with his tail wagging along behind him, and dwarves run at you with hammers raised, however, with so little to animate it is hard to be impressed. Effects are also on the short side, and the underwater levels look bland and muted due to some pretty bad blur and blue haze implementation.
Voice acting has never been a high point in video games; however, a kangaroo without an Australian accent does show a lack of effort, and all the other characters sound quiet and embarrassed. Sound effects are no better, with very little on offer and in game music consisting of repeating riffs, which grow tiresome quickly.
As with every other platforming game at the moment, you are required to take Kao around levels, making him jump over bad guys with the A button or punching them out with the B button. One problem here is that damage detection is awful and even when standing next to nasty, you can manage to miss them completely and lose a life as result. Holding down R you can use the look feature, which makes Kao hold his gloves to his eyes and impersonate a boxer, a cute touch, and other moves include obligatory bum bounces and boomerang throws, which you need to collect up through levels. As usual you need to run, hop and skip through levels, take out bosses at the end and occasionally collect items. As such, platforming taboos rear their ugly head, such as bad camera angles and difficulty to judge jumps, but with so little on offer these problems are not huge.
Playing Kao the Kangaroo is much like listening to a greatest hits compilation - overall it is a mix of good elements, although unfortunately everything in the game has been seen before. In fact, there is probably an easy drinking game to be found in Round 2, drink every time you see a platforming section lifted from another game. Mario 64 is constantly remembered, but even lesser titles like Crash and Spyro have sections lifted and planted in Kao. This is not necessarily a bad thing; however, it greatly dilutes the experience. On the other hand, there are some nice sections to break up the flow of the game. Simple boat racing sections, hitching a ride on a pelican, taking control of a cannon, all break up the standard platform gaming. Unfortunately they are all too easy to become anything bar a pleasant break.
Considering you only need 3000 ducats to open the last level, and there is no backtracking for missed coins as eventually you find a gold smelting factory so the collect-a-thon ends rather abruptly, Kao does not last long at all, despite the inclusion of various button bashing minigames which have to be unlocked by collecting purple gems. Unlike the Ty games there are no two-player modes to enjoy, and as such Kao will take little time to complete.
Tried and tested platforming sections that are hampered by the usual problems, bad camera angles and difficulty to gauge jumps, and also complimented with horrible collision detection. Only short minigame sections add any sort of new entertainment, but most are lifted from other games.
Non-offensive and has some neat touches, although the lack of variety and diminutive level design means everything becomes repetitive and recognisable too fast.
No Australian accents whatsoever, and sound effects that sound as if they were recorded with the volume down, means it is pretty easy to play this game on mute and miss absolutely nothing.
If this game lasts any longer than a day, reconsider being a gamer immediately. A couple of minigames have been included to extend playtime, but they fail. Far too short.
Kao is not so much a game and more a mix of other games, except completely watered down. Despite there being some nice sections which are fun, the fact the game is so easy, so predictable and is presented so poorly, results in Kao not only being a completely worthless purchase, but a worthless stab at the platform genre. For kids there are better children platformers out there, for everyone else, do not buy it.
I think it is better left that way to be honest.
More adult games please Nintendo! Unless of course you want ur older installed userbase to go the way of the Playstation!
In all actuallity it was fun, I like platform games and this is fun, just like every other platform game made at the moment. Fun, but not worth money.
I did take a while though, didn't I Adam. :-D
why was this even reviewed?
Really? I sent out all the copies! But one person never gave me their address details...so if you PM with yours then I'll send the spare copy over.
ES, it was reviewed as we got a review copy to ensure you never play this game..ever.
I'm going to do whatever it takes to get my hands on this game:D
Lol, this game is going to sell really well. */end sarcasm*
then i wont be taking this warning lightly.