Kao The Kangaroo is a 3D platformer from Titus Interactive, which was actually released in the USA in 2001 but has just got re-released as a budget title in the UK. Kao isn't your ordinary marsupial. He is a fun loving, yellow kangaroo, and is fully equipped with a pair of boxing gloves. He can also perform a number of different moves including a 1-2 combination punch and a tail kick. It's a good job as he has been kidnapped by a hunter and it's your job to lead him through a wide range of levels, back to his home in Australia, collecting coins and avoiding a cast of obstacles and enemies.
There are 30 levels in total, plus a selection of hidden bonus levels, spread out across a wide variety of different landscapes. You will travel through the Australian plains, deep in space, through Rome and Egypt, and many more destinations. This wide variety of locations makes the game very fun and lets you play the levels again and again without getting too bored. What also makes Kao different from other platform games is the variety of transport. Although you will travel a lot of your journey by foot, Kao can also hang-glide, snowboard, travel in a space ship and test out a motorboat. This is one of the funnest elements of the game and makes it appealing to fans of other genres too.
Kao is faced with a number of enemies in the game. These include pigs with lollipops, sailors, ostriches, aliens, pirates and many more. Included are a small handful of boss levels which, when you've learned the tactics of each boss, prove to be no problem at all.
You can collect a number of power-ups to help you on your journey which help to improve Kao's general speed and performance. The game is nothing new. It's a regular platform game, but the variety of levels and high standard of graphics add to its appeal.
Graphically, Kao The Kangaroo is very well done. The levels are fully 3D and set in lush environments. The worlds are fairly well decorated and well themed. The landscape is very bright and colourful, as are the numerous characters within. The graphics are fun and typical of 3D platform games.
There is a large soundtrack of songs, each accompanying the many different levels in the game. The tracks are well composed and nice to listen to, and fit with the themes of the levels well. The music ranges from African style to electronic to typical computer game music. The music is pleasant but the rest of the sound is fairly average.
There are few sound effects in the game although you will hear Kao punch and tail whip the enemies. He also shouts out when he falls off and dies, although judging by the level difficulty, you shouldn't hear this sound effect all too often.
If you've played 3D platform games before, Kao The Kangaroo should take no time at all to get used to. You use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate Kao. Press forward to move Kao forward, backwards to... yeah, you know the rest. The controls are simple to get used to and should prove no difficulty to gamers. One thing you will notice when playing the game though is the sudden change of camera angles. This can get annoying and seems unnecessary at times. However, there is cause for this at times, as it gives you a better view as to what's ahead.
The levels are fairly short and it is almost impossible to get lost. They follow a set route and it is only the enemies, plus a few large leaps and jumps, which stand in your way as obstacles. Kao walks at a relatively slow pace and this can get frustrating if he's got a long way to travel. Luckily there is a speed power-up which allows Kao to hop fast and generally make up for lost time. Speed isn't a huge problem but it definitely could be improved, especially as there is a sequel in the works. Most of the levels are very simple. Experts at this genre may find it a little too easy. However, the levels do increase in difficulty as the game progresses. The levels offer quite a few different features. There is a lot of jumping and climbing involved, but players must also overcome collapsing bridges and twisting ski slopes. This variety makes the easiness just about forgivable.
Kao The Kangaroo is not a particularly original game - a basic 3D platform title. However, the graphics are nicely done and the wide variety of levels and transport on offer are good enough reasons alone for you to grab your copy of the game. It should potentially appeal to all ages, although younger gamers may get more of a kick out of it.
Overall, Kao is a fun and addictive game, and if you're a fan of similar platform titles or you're not too fussy or critical when it comes to games in general, Kao is definitely worth checking out.
Kao The Kangaroo is also available for the Dreamcast and Gameboy Advance.