Saturday, 22 December 2012

Specvent Calendar Day 21 - Chuckie Egg

Chuckie Egg (A&F, 1984)

Another game no-one will be surprised to find here, when it cam to Spectrum platformers you could keep your Miner Willys and Technician Teds, Henhouse Harry was the boy for me! Rather than keying on pinpoint pixel perfect jumping, Chuckie Egg was all about a deadly combination of accuracy and speed. And chickens. Collect all the eggs before the timer runs out while avoiding said avians and the next screen would appear (no, really? Ed.)

Actually, the time limit was pretty generous, and only on the last couple of levels were you in any danger of timing out, but the bonus for finishing a level was based on speed and was generous enough to make it a priority, especially with a bonus life for every 10K score. Chicken feed also helped keep the bonus high by freezing the timer for a few seconds, though if the chickens found it first they would of course consume it... a simple game then, well-suited to the Spectrum despite the occasional colour clash. Apart from an annoying tendency to send Harry to his death when trying to jump on a moving platform the gameplay is faultless, and it rewards a bit of inside knowledge, not only by memorising the platform layouts but simply realising that, rather than meticulously positioning Harry at the bottom of a ladder to climb it you can just run into it while holding the up key down - or even jump straight into it. 

The difficulty was pitched perfectly, with a couple of easy screens followed by a couple of challenging ones, then difficult ones, then hellish ones. Complete all 8 levels and you're back to the start, sans pedestrian avians but with the mother hen let out of her cage to chase you round the screen. Even I managed to get this far a few times, though never to Level 17, where the walkers reappear alongside their mama...

Highly praised in reviews at the time, it still plays as well today as then. Shame about the sequel...

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