Challengers is a port of an old platform console game.
It wasn't that great to begin with - and it's still
not that great.
by Jason Ru
21, 2006 - Kao
is a kangaroo which would seem like the perfect character
for a plaformer. He can jump high and cover great
distances, he can use his tail for ass-whipping enemies
and because he's a boxing kangaroo, he can even throw
some powerful punches. But the game is marred by some
annoying, automatic camera angles that makes things
much more difficult than necessary. The game borrows
heavily from many popular platformers which makes
you feel as though you've played this game before.
It's like a lukewarm imitation of a Crash Bandicoot
story begins as Kao is locked in a cage aboard a pirate
ship. His friend the parrot, frees him and in turn,
Kao, is obliged to help rescue his other animal friends
that are being held captive by an evil hunter and
his army of henchmen. Kao's animal friends play a
role in the gameplay as well as the story as some
of them will assist Kao in certain levels, but more
often it's Kao doing the grunt work for many of these
fuzzy buddies. Some of the tasks are totally unrelated
to the matter of freeing the entrapped, cuddly mammalians.
You'll have to locate a lost friend, hack a path through
the forest and even help get some badgers out of a
garden. It's all just busy work that has little to
no bearing on the storyline.
don't just go ahead and open the cages of the trapped
animals, you have to set up an appointment to confront
the hunter first. This is accomplished by collecting
coins. You have to collect three thousand of them
before the final showdown can begin. Along the way
you will tangle with the hunter's various henchmen
and deal with the requisite platforming schtick such
as collapsing platforms, the slipper ice world, breakable
barrels and crates, a variation of the mine cart ride,
power-ups, and indecisive killer water that will end
your life if you touch it - and sometimes not. Koa's
move list is pretty decent and he controls very well
except when the camera angles interfere. More on that
later. Aside from his jumping and punching he's got
a good strong butt stomp and can also roll himself
into a ball and bowl over enemies. There are also
weapons such as the boomerang which he can throw at
enemies and use to flip switches and solve some puzzles.
Gadgets such as a copter helmet will help Kao fly
over some treacherous terrain and there are also vehicles
to drive and race with such as a motorboat, snowboard
and some Flintstone-inspired hot rod.
are power-ups and they will do things such as increase
your jumping ability so that you can leap higher into
the air and exert more force when you come crashing
down to the ground. Hearts are for health and even
though you have unlimited lives they are useful because
if you die, and you will many times thanks to the
faulty camera, you may wind up at a start point much
further back than necessary. There is a flag system
for checkpoints which will let you start at the place
that you last died but these flags are limited. The
gameplay is not difficult by any stretch but the camera
will cause you to miscalculate jumps, touch creatures
that spell certain death, and accidentally set off
a platformer, this game seems to have everything:
combat; mini-games; collectables; power-ups; racing;
weapons; gadgets, and tons of platforming variations.
The problem is that all of these elements just don't
gel. It seems like a lot of them were just slapped
on in an attempt to add more variety for the sake
of more variety. There just doesn't seem to be much
purpose to the things that you have to do. What's
my motivation for playing this game? It seems to constantly
shift and while that may be fine for the A.D.D. crowd,
I expect a little more structure and cohesion. I might
be able to overlook this if the game was blast from
the get-go but it's hampered in spots by the terrible
camera. This camera will automatically choose the
angle for you in some situations, often changing perspectives
with no warning. Sometimes you'll be taking a leap
and the camera will zoom out giving you such a wide
view of the environment that it dwarfs your character
making you lose sight of it. The camera also drifts
along with every move that Kao makes and the instant
change in perspectives during jumps and fights can
throw you off big time, forcing you to repeat sections
of a level over and over and over
found the multi-player modes to be quite good. There
are Deathmatch variations and races that can accommodate
up to four people. With no platforming action the
dreaded camera does mess with the controlling of your
character. As good as the multi-player modes are,
few gamers are going to buy this game for these modes.
a colorful and cute looking game but it's not amazing.
There are a lot of low-res textures and big, clunky,
boxy looking items that could have been more well
rounded. The characters are nice but the voiceacting
and the dialog seems aimed at very young children.
There isn't much music so you won't be missing anything
by turning the sound off.
is no doubt that the PSP needs platformers. For such
a well- supported system there are only a handful
available. Koa falls under the "better-than-nothing"
category if you're a real platform addict. Overall
it's not a bad game but it has the potential to be
so much better.
Challengers offers a variety of features to keep
single player story-based adventure mode features
6 different worlds and over 30 unique characters
and takes full advantage of console's outstanding
multiplayer modes are available, based both on death-match
and racing stages.
are 20 unique weapons and power-ups in death-match
game-play experience set in 9 different arenas.
stages based on motorboats, snowboard and other
vehicles offers another great challenge up to 4