Kid Chameleon was part of a series of games that Sega published in order to create its own armada of recognized characters and marketable mascots that could stand up to Nintendo.
The early 1990s, marketing campaign could have been an excuse to make bad games, but actually it was a time of great creativity and excellence for Sega. Kid Chameleon was one of these games.
Sadly, many of the fun games, and the original characters that were created, were largely put by the wayside to make room for Sonic and his pals.
Kid Chameleon features impressive graphics, animation, music and sound effects. In the 1990s, Sega really showed off not only its own creativity, but the hardware potential of the Genesis (Mega Drive in the UK).
The storyline is perfect for the 1990s, with a young boy venturing into a strange, virtual reality-type universe in order to save his peers.
The game offers over 100 different levels, with quite a bit of choice involved in what levels you want to tackle.
The game does not offer any passwords and while you can earn extra lives, this is a game that you will have to explore and re-explore many times over to master it. It is not an unfair challenge, but it is one that requires patience and a willing to explore and experiment.
Your major weapon involves a cool line of special masks, which give you a special power or ability.
For example, one masks looks a bit like Jason from the Friday the 13th films and gives you the ability to throw axes. Other masks allow you to climb up ways and do many other amazing things.
The wide variety of different masks and multiple levels, with different paths to chose from makes this one of the most in-depth video games of the era and certainly with the most replay value.
Kid Chameleon does not really have any major faults to it, but fully exploring, much less beating, 100+ levels is no small task. It would have been nice if their had been a easy way to save your progress, after you hit the power switch.
I want to say that Kid Chameleon had several Easter Egg secrets that addressed the issue, but their is something to be said (with such a long and complex game) taking into account the fact that your target audience probably has to stop playing games in order to eat, sleep, using the WC, go to school, do homework and the like.
The Bottom Line
Kid Chameleon is probably one of the longest, most complex, creative and fun, cartridge-based video games released during the 16-bit era.