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by Titus

s1-01.jpg (9870 bytes)The main thing I learned while playing Kao was this: I suck at judging games at first glance. I got this and Prehistorik Man at the same time, and I actually expected Kao to be better. Oh cruel irony, I know ye well.

s2-01.jpg (10040 bytes)So you’re Kao, the Kangaroo who says "ouch" when he gets hurt. You’re walking along minding your own business when a hunter starts chasing you. You get caught. The game starts (riveting plot, no?). As I’ve said before, I don’t have too much of an issue with a bad plot in a platformer, but I would like to know what makes Kao special, how he got his boxing gloves (he’s not wearing them in the intro but suddenly acquires them once the game starts), why when he is caught he’s suddenly a world away from where he got caught, and what happens to the hunter. All unanswered. All I’m asking for is just a little inspiration to trudge on with the game. This would be easy to overcome if the gameplay were good…

s3-01.jpg (8645 bytes)But it’s not (come on, if you see a "…" after something you know its going to end up being the opposite). My main complaint: it’s far too difficult. Any game where you need several attempts to hit, not destroy, just hit a regular plant monster has some serious issues; especially if you consider that the game is intended for children. I cannot tell you how frustrating this is, and there have been many a level where I would just try to run through the monsters without engagement. That is possible thanks to the fact that once you’re hit you can’t take more damage from an enemy until you’ve been away from it for a bit. This was probably intended to reduce the inane difficulty a tad, but it just makes for some cheap gameplay. Oh, and wouldn’t one think that in a platformer the platform hopping parts would be fun fun for everyone? Hell no. As if regular jumping wasn’t hard enough, if there’s an enemy on the next ledge on the horizon, you’re screwed. Since Kao has the tendency to move back a squinch after getting a beating you’ll likely fall to your doom. And there are so many dooms that you’ll experience. Here’s a tip: write down the password received after each level.

s4-01.jpg (8275 bytes)The only time I actually enjoyed the game were the transport levels, where you use some form of transportation or another (like in the first one you snowboard) to get to the next world. The only other bright spot I can see as far as gameplay is concerned is the checkpoint system. Instead of going to the last computer selected checkpoint you crossed after you die, you can set one of your own up wherever you want. Other games really should take note of this.

s5-01.jpg (10725 bytes)The graphics are pretty good, and Kao can really get cruising. It looks about like a mid to mid-late Genesis game. Multiple layers of scrolling give the game the feeling of depth. The enemies are decently animated. Still, the graphics can get to be a bit too dark.

s6-01.jpg (8580 bytes)As far as sound is concerned it’d be great… (remember what I told you earlier) if it had a completely different set of sound effects. Kao’s "ouch" started to grate my nerves by level two. The music is forgettable. Really. I have no clue what the music went like now. I guess that could be considered a good thing for this game, seeing as it doesn’t insult the senses too much.

s7-01.jpg (9300 bytes)Kao the Kangaroo is just a lackluster game. Bad gameplay, bad sound, and decent graphics equals bad game. Titus can do wonders in this genre. Prehistorik Man is proof of that. Better luck next time, guys.

David Logan   (02/06/2002)


Ups: Great checkpoint system.

Downs: Bad gameplay system.

Platform: Game Boy Advance