Review: Chuckie Egg

Chuckie Egg
Note that Chuckie Egg is not in the tosec – it can be found at http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st-chuckie-egg_8928.html

As a bonus, here’s the cover art for Chuckie Egg 2. Fucking nightmare fuel.

ST Format Review

Before I start my review, here’e ST Format’s take on the game.

As you can see, it only merits half a page, and yet the review is full of praise for a simple concept done well. The score is lower than you might expect but perhaps reflects the fact that it’s not more ambitious, or perhaps that they didn’t get quite enough of a cash bribe.

My Review

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting a huge amount. I have tended to enjoy a good single-screen platformer before, such as the wonderful Bomb Jack and the less well-known Mouse Trap (budget shit but for some reason I enjoyed it). Like both of those it owes its existence to lesser 8-bit machines and displays their limitations. It’s not particularly inventive, it’s not technically that accomplished in moving a few tiny sprites around, and yet I liked it. Visually for some reason it brings to mind the later Quaver-selling domino-pusher, Pushover, which is no bad thing.

Like Mouse Trap it’s an old single-screen game and the physics have a lot in common, in that once falling or jumping your motion is set in stone with no means to alter it, albeit unlike most games Chuckie Egg will carry your momentum in the reverse direction if you crash into a wall, where most games will just kill your forward momentum instead. This can get quite annoying when jumping up a small flight of steps. Ladders are also an annoyance, requiring remarkable precision to join them and suicidal button-poking to get off, though I eventually figured out that holding the joystick diagonally could overcome this issue.

Enemy AI is simple, the enemy walking along a path and turning 180 at the end of it, with a random decision as it reaches a ladder to either carry on, or go up or down the ladder (though how an ostrich can climb a ladder is anyone’s guess). Music is grating chip tune drivel.

So with all this wrong with it, why do I like it then? Because the limitations make it run super-smooth and let you focus on the puzzles, which are maddening but bloody good fun. This game absolutely flies (sometimes a bit too quick – it can make timing jumps tricky) and serves as a better showcase for the ST’s capabilities than some far more complex games. It’s a game I intend to return to, and one in which I will record a wide selection of rudely-named high scores.

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