reviews\ May 2, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Kao The Kangaroo Round 2 - GC - Review

Kao is that cute little kangaroo from the Dreamcast. There wasn’t anything really unique about the game, but it was a fun and entertaining platformer just the same. Now Kao has made his debut across the board on the console market, in Kao Round 2.

Barnaba, the villain from the original game, has captured Kao and his friends to serve him as slaves. Kao is set free with the help of a parrot, but comes back to help his friends. And that’s how the story goes, pretty much. Kao ends up in an area called the Dark Docks that serves as the hub to all the worlds. In each world, Kao will free his friends and collect items such as powerups and coins.

This is a straightforward platform game, with tons of items to collect. Kao will race through each level, collecting things along the way. There are all kinds of items to pick up, mainly powerups, coins or crystals. The coins are needed to defeat Barnaba at the end of the game, and the crystals open up bonus levels. The powerups are varied, but they all look very similar and are hard to tell apart as Kao races by. Just try to run through everything! One type of powerups are stars, which are used to upgrade Kao’s skills.

The platform moves are typical for this genre, but are presented in a varied enough manner to maintain interest. Trampolines, clouds, ropes and other items shake up the action a little. There are also levels with different weapons and vehicles. Some of the vehicles include a snowboard, boat, and rocketships.

The camera uses many different angles, but most can be manipulated with the control stick. However, there are a few places where this can’t be done, and the angle is awkward. Kao sometimes runs into the screen, sometimes sideways, and sometimes he runs out of the screen, usually when running from enemies in racing sequences, as in when he runs from an enormous bear.

Action is the name of the game, and Kao definitely delivers on that front. This game returns to the basics of platforming, which means Kao spends the majority of the time racing from one section of the game to another without stopping. Lively is the best word to describe the gameplay, and gamers will not be bored. While intense and varied, the gameplay isn’t very difficult, and the infinite lives take the frustration even out the tricky spots. There are lots of checkpoints about, and gameplay will resume at the most recent checkpoint when Kao bites the dust.

Kao has all sorts of moves, such as jumping, butt-stomping, tail-whipping, and rolling. These are handled logically and easily through combinations of button controls. Even I can execute these moves!

The game is very colorful and bright, and is appealing. Young players will especially appreciate the way the characters and backgrounds look. The sound is average, and pretty generic.

Kao the Kangaroo Round 2 is a fun and lively game, with only a few drawbacks. While all of the elements have been seen time and again, they are presented well in this package. The main problem is the ease of play coupled with the shortness of the game, which means the game can be defeated in just a couple of days of playing. However, this is a great game for younger players, and is offered at a budget price, which really makes it an excellent choice for families. Older gamers will probably be disappointed with the longevity of the game, though, and may be better off renting it for a weekend romp.

Review Scoring Details for Kao the Kangaroo Round 2

Gameplay: 7.5
The gameplay is exciting and fun. All the levels are varied and interesting and there isn’t any time to stop, Kao just has to go go go!

Graphics: 8.0
The colors and animations are very good, and will especially appeal to kids.

Sound: 6.0
Nothing special here.

Difficulty: Easy
The gameplay is easy, and doesn’t offer much of a challenge to serious gamers.

Concept: 6.0 
Nothing new here, unless you call going back to the basics new. The presentation is good, though.

Overall: 7.5
This game is fun to play. Snootier reviewers may give it a pass as it doesn’t offer much in the way of innovation or challenges, but it still delivers action-packed excitement. However, it’s pretty short and there’s not a whole lot of incentive to replay it after finishing. Best for families with children.


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