Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
So you’re looking for a nice game to waste the next few days on but the influx of first/third person shooters flooding the shelves in the last few months has left you strapped for cash and left you looking for a break from the shooter genre. Well it’s time to take a look at an older title which might have completely missed your radar, especially if you’re a relatively new next-gen console owner.
As of late Rareware (a.k.a. Rare) has taken a turn for the worst, this is no secret. With recent games like Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts significantly underperforming and Viva Pinata failing to fulfil the needs of many gamers, Rare has instead opted to appeal to a [much] younger audience with their releases, resigning to but a mere shadow of its former self. The producer of irrefutably spectacular titles such as GoldenEye 007 (1997), Banjo Kazooie (1998), Perfect Dark (2000), and Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001) – all ranked within the N64’s top 10 - has suffered a slow decline ever since the end of the N64 era but do not despair, for there were a few diamonds in the rough.
Kameo: Elements of Power began development in 2001 and was originally designed for the GameCube, however as chance had it, the game was not released until 2005 when it instead found its way onto the Xbox 360’s launch line-up.
The adventure game follows Kameo (pictured above) whom, bestowed upon with the power to transform into elemental warriors by her mother (and Elf Queen) Theena, must combat her jealous sister Kalus who unleashes the Troll King Thorn, kidnaps her family and subjects them to torture. Whilst the story is not particularly original and is somewhat un-captivating, the gameplay offered is probably one of the more enjoyable T-rated experiences in next-gen titles to date.
As Kameo you must traverse the world, travelling from location to location in order to retrieve ‘Elemental Warriors’ which have been captured and will ultimately be required to defeat the Troll King Thorn and your sister Theena. Whilst it is an open world of sorts, you will find yourself forced to follow a relatively set path on your quest, although extra exploration will reveal minor rewards. As you find and rescue each of the 10 Elemental Warriors you will gain the ability to transform into that warrior, equipped with its own unique set of skills and abilities ranging from the ability to swim underwater and shoot water jets to spewing fire and launching ice spears. This is where Kameo: Elements of Power excels, the transition between elemental warriors is simple and intuitively achieved through a well mapped control system in which you can assign different warriors to your X, Y, and B buttons to allow instant transformations, whilst holding down any one of those buttons will allow you to quickly select a new warrior to bind to the button. Each town on your adventure also contains a number of collectables including ‘Elemental Fruit’ (which you can use to obtain new skills for your existing elemental warriors), as well as a number of mini-quests (and I mean mini) which have you aiding citizens with various problems around town.
Rare has done an exceptional job in forcing the player to utilise all elemental warrior transformations collected in order to reach the next stage of the game. You must determine which elemental is most suited to the situation or task at hand which can get especially tricky as you progress and your selection of Elemental Warriors increases. Rare takes this further by introducing various enemies whose weaknesses may only be exposed by abilities of a specific elemental warrior (or in quick succession by multiple elementals), adding an extra level of problem-solving and strategic play to the game.
Despite being originally designed for the Nintendo GameCube, Kameo: Elements of Power sports beautiful next-gen graphics which manage to rival even more recent titles. The suitably cartoonish visuals which have become a hallmark of Rare’s games add to this to create a visually stunning adventure enjoyable for players of all ages. Being a 3 year-old title you’ll be able to pick up this gem pre-owned or new at dirt cheap prices, so if you’ve overlooked this title get out there - it would be $10 well spent.
Game Traits applied to Kameo: Elements of Power (X360) by Volv