The chameleons are back- and now they even look like chameleons!
The intro sequence to this game reveals two things. The first is that the central character now looks more like a chameleon - as opposed to the first game's bulbousheaded alien-type creature. The second is that your chameleon now has an extra trick up his sleeve - or, more accurately, in his backpack. To supplement his tongue-twisting skills, the reptilian hero now has a parasol which he can use to float through the air.
The storyline behind Chameleon Twist 2 is fairly simple. Your chameleon is hurled to a strange world when the white rabbit from the first game drops out of the sky onto a seesaw and now you must find your way back to reality through six lands of themed weirdness.
Each land contains various obstacles or puzzles which require you to utilise your tongue, your parasol and your reactions to overcome. These range from fairly easy on the first few levels to far more taxing problems on the later ones.
On your travels through the six colourful lands of the white rabbit you encounter all manner of strange and usually hostile inhabitants, all themed to fit the land. Thus in Toy Land you are attacked by manic toys while in Ice Land everything from snowball-wielding penguins to manic hockey pucks accost you.
On your travels you find coins - of which there are 20 per level - and also one carrot per land. These carrots allow you to access various different subgames, from gymnastics to bowling.
As in the original game your tongue is both a tool and a weapon. It can be used to reach objects that are far away and to swing round posts or drag yourself across large gaps. It can also be used to swallow some enemies and then fire them from your mouth like projectiles.
The sucking and firing technique is what the end-of-level bosses require to defeat them. All six are fairly similar in that you find yourself in a small arena where the boss attacks and you must suck up objects and fire them at him to kill him. Sometimes the objects are released by the boss himself, sometimes they're simply lying around the arena.
Where Chameleon Twist 2 falls down is on the difficulty level. Like the first game, it's simply too easy to finish. We completed the game within the first day, although to be fair we hadn't collected every coin and carrot.
That's not to say that the game is very easy. While the first three levels are pretty much a walkover, the latter three have some tricky (and often seemingly impossible) puzzles to overcome. However, the game offers infinite continues and because you reappear at the point where you died this allows you to keep trying puzzles again and again very quickly until you overcome them. If the game had put you back at the start of a level when you ran out of lives and used a continue, this would have increased the difficulty level and hence the game's longevity enormously. Of course, it would also have increased the frustration level enormously too, as you'd have been forced to repeat some very tricky puzzles.
Though Chameleon Twist 2 might be a disappointment to most older games players who should finish it fairly quickly, it should make a very good game for younger N64 gamers as the first three levels are easy to get into. The infinite continues mean that they can persevere at the tougher puzzles on the later levels for as long as they like to until they get them. Just don't count on getting months upon months of replay value from it.
2nd rating opinion
Companies should be asked a simple question before they release a 3-D platform game. Is it better than Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazooie? If the answer is 'no', they should go back and try again until the answer is 'yes'. Sunsoft should have tried again.