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Kameo: Elements of Power

THIS ONE'S BEEN in development for so long, we've forgotten exactly how long because our fizzled memories don't stretch that far back. Considering that Kameo was originally in development for GameCube, we were beginning to think Rare had been stringing us along all the time, and it was just a ploy to take the heat off the company's other secret games it's obviously working on.

Last we heard, the promising epic adventure game had been "postponed" on Xbox and now we know why - it's going to be an Xbox 360 Christmas title. Whether that means it'll be available at launch or a few weeks later remains to be seen, but we were only told "Holiday 2005" by Microsoft's American producers.

Zoom

The scene was set for the grand unveiling by firing up the Xbox version and positioning little Kameo in front of a castle. While we stared at the Xbox version, the guys from Rare teed up exactly the same scene from the game as you'll see it on Xbox 360. When they were ready, we were told to look around...

What we then saw was nothing short of a spectacular leap in graphics between the versions. It even made the faces of the Japanese journalists (notoriously hard to please when it came to Xbox) light up, which is a very good thing.

What we saw was running on an HDTV (High Definition TV) and it looked super-sharp and crystal clear. The level of detail was frightening, and the effects we saw were truly a step in the next-generation direction. In a brief presentation on Xbox 360 before the demo commenced, Microsoft told us that it will lead the charge for getting HDTV into as many homes as possible. And when you see the difference as far as Xbox 360 games go, you will want one. Trouble is, they're about one zillion pounds at the moment. So it'll be interesting to see how it pans out over the coming years.

Then Rare took the demo to an entirely new level. We saw a section of the game that was cut from the Xbox version due to hardware limitations; it's now been put back, with extra bells and whistles added. The huge open field level (think Hyrule field from the N64 Zelda games) basically acts as a hub, with the game's other levels branching off it. It's in this field that things got really interesting.

As Kameo sat on a horse enjoying the pleasant surroundings, a staggering 3,000 trolls rushed over a hill, straight towards her. She then rushed through the pack knocking trolls out of the way like they were dominoes - think Lord of the Rings. Seeing over 3,000 characters on screen at the same, all knocking seven bells out of each other almost made us faint. But when another pack of 3,000 trolls came over a different hill, it was almost too much to take in. You don't get to see over 6,000 characters running, fighting, shouting and screaming on the same screen every day. And before the cynics start, this was all in-game - the Rare chaps were playing it right before our teary eyes.

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