Kid Chameleon is a Sega Genesis game released in 1992. It is the most insanely difficult sidescrolling game I have ever played. There are uncountably many levels, most of which are teleported in and out of during a normal level and are collectively referred to as "Elsewhere."

The premise of the game is that a local arcade has a new videogame that is an entire room. It uses holograms to create strange and wonderful new realities for the player. Unfortunately, the game's boss glitches out and decides to start eating kids. That's where you come in... as the KID CHAMELEON.

Everyone learned in 4th grade that chameleons can change color to suit their environment when they want to hide. In this game, the player can put on different helmets to transform into new characters with different abilities. The different helmets include...

  • Kid Chameleon - This is how you look when the game starts. You play as a kid in a plain white shirt, bluejeans, and sunglasses. Avoid being this if at all possible; he is lamer than he looks. His only power is being able to do a nifty flip onto blocks or ledges when his head gets close enough to it. Jump up next to it and press B twice quickly. Two hit points.
  • The Knight - His helmet is a blocky, metal, and has a purple feather coming out of it. Powers include climbing walls and triggering/breaking blocks by jumping on them from above. Five hit points.
  • The Ninja - A samurai helmet. He has a sword and can attack from either the side or from above with it. He can use it to trigger or break blocks from above as well. He can also jump the highest of any non-flying tranformation. Three hit points.
  • The demon football player - A football helmet with horns. He is one of my least favorite tranformations. All he really has is a dash attack, which can trigger/break blocks from the side. Three hit points.
  • Jason - A hockey mask. OK, this one is actually pretty cool. You tranform into a homocidal maniac wearing a hockey mask and can throw unlimited numbers of axes. Three hit points.
  • Skull tank - A skull wearing a WWI spiked helmet. This is one of the rarer and weirder tranformations. You become a skull sticking out of a miniature tank which can shoot skull bullets. Oh, and you can jump somehow. He is not used very much because the sprite is so big and unwieldly that he cannot fit through narrow spaces. Three hit points.
  • The fly - a small fly head. This is the most amusing transformation. You become the Kid Chameleon shrunken to about one half size who has a fly head instead of a human one. He can stick to walls and fit through very small places. Three hit points.
  • Green guy with the laser gun - A futuristic green helmet. This character's main ability is shooting out a wide green beam that reveals hidden blocks. He's pretty forgettable really. Three hit points.
  • Hoverboarding guy - A skateboarding helmet. This one is pretty cool, but hard to control. You materialize a hoverboard which constantly moves in whatever direction you are pointing. Press C to flip upside down and reverse gravity, allowing the Kid to stand on ceilings. I've only encountered his helmet in one level. Three hit points.
  • The flying breakdancer-looking guy - A pink and purple helmet with a visor and wings coming off of it. OK, this is the best in the entire game. Jump, then rapidly tap C to turn into a pink and purple tornado which can fly. Three hit points.

Press start+A during any tranformation to use the special crystal powers. These vary from tranformation to transformation, as well as when you have more or less than 50 crystals.

As for gameplay, well, yeah, this is a really fun game to play. Unfortunately there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of different combinations of levels that the player can beat in order to get to the end boss. I've only done it once, and I was probably cheating anyway.

Besides, the sheer multiplicity of paths to the final level, some of the levels are absurdly hard to beat. For example, in Blood Swamp, a giant mechanical wall of drills and meat grinding gears scroll out of the left side of the screen while the player tries to run through the level as fast as possible. Levels such as this are only beaten through a combination of brute force memorization and luck. (i.e. not getting caught bouncing between two trampoline blocks)

Though difficult and labrynthine, this game is just plain fun to play. It definitely has the potential to fill a rainy afternoon, so go download the ROM. It's a ten-year-old game, so don't feel guilty about it. Well, I probably wouldn't feel bad about pirating it if it were released yesterday, but that's a whole 'nother node...

Update: In Blue Lake Woods II, get the ninja helmet and stand on the left block at the beginning of the level. Jump straight up to reveal a hidden cannon block. Trigger it and jump straight up three more times to do the same. Jump over the hole and past the brick wall which used to exist. Run to the end of the level. Jump on the P blocks above the flag and jump to the last one. Hold down+right+B+C to warp to the last level. :)

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