Genre: Platformer Developer: Core Design Publisher: Virgin Games Players: 1 Released: 1994
I bought this game over a decade ago. I really don’t know why, but it was probably because I was around eleven years-old and liked platformers. I remember I enjoyed the usage of different animals throughout the game, which I’ll talk more about later. I also remember that I lent it to a girl in my class (!!!), and she liked it a lot! But what is MY opinion today when I’m an adult citizen? Read on to find out!
After defeating the evil Gary Gritter, Chuck Rock became rich as the owner of “Chuck Motors.” When he had a son with his wife Ophelia, his life was complete. He was probably happily unaware that the ultimate life experience called the “Sega Mega Drive” would be invented in a few thousand years. Not everyone shared his happiness though. Brick Jagger, owner of the Stone Age equivalent of Fiat called “Datstone,” was sick and tired of making sucky cars, so his men kidnapped Chuck and forced Ophelia to sign his company over to Brick Jagger. As if that wasn’t enough, they also wanted a ransom for Chuck. Uhh, won’t they get that already by taking the company? Anyway, since Gary Gritter is already dead, Chuck Junior decided to save his dad, and off you go.
The game is the typical 1993 platformer. To walk from place A to place B, kill enemies with your club and face a boss at the last part of each level. Instead of throwing rocks, jump-kicking, and bumping with your stomach like his father did, Junior ONLY uses a club to defeat enemies. The control for doing that is kind of awkward. He drags it behind himself, so pressing B will always make the swing start from the back and go round for 360 degrees. If you miss a swing, the enemy has the full frame of animation time to hit you, so the small delay to the next swing can be quite irritating. But swinging from the back is pretty useful at bosses, where you can land two hits for each swing. They can even get stuck in your swinging if you are lucky. Furthermore, the jump control is very good and responsive.
To regain health, you pick up bottles filled with breast milk. There is also a lot of candy, which serves a bad example for children out there. They are worthless anyway and only add extra points. Extra points don’t give extra lives in this game, but in the three bonus rounds you may get a credit (three lives after game over). I can win the apple tree (hit apples in a tree and have an animal eat them) and stone carving (think “Oh, my god/car” from Final Fight CD), but in the button-mashing boat race, I fail all the time nowadays. A decade ago, I could win, but after that I have had some intensive Elitserien ’96 gaming, causing the destruction of my controllers, so now I’m not really into the button-masher genre anymore.
The graphics in this game are truly disappointing. First and foremost, look at the grainy colours. I can’t understand that a game from 1993 looks like this, when Sonic 2 and Streets of Rage 2 were out and looked much better. The animation almost makes up for it though. Most of the characters – and there are quite many – have a few frames and look quite lively. But I must ask the designers, who were kind of ripping off the Flintstones theme with its humour, why are there so few dinosaurs and many zoo animals? You get to ride a moose, ostrich, tortoise, tiger, and a huge bird. Among the dinosaurs, there are just a triceratops, brachiosaurus and maybe something else. Riding the animals feels like a poor excuse to extend the standard gameplay, hence it doesn’t add much really. The stone age theme is also lacking in the level design department, with awfully uninspired levels like “Climbing up/down the tree” and “Fruit Mountain.”
The music in this game is quite anonymous. Not really good or bad, but just standard, generic platform music without any thought behind it to fit with the levels. A few melodies here and there might leave you humming. There are also only around ten tracks. The sound effects are nothing special either, I just hate hearing the annoying death scream of Junior.
All in all, this game is as I suspected best fit for children, if anyone at all. I enjoyed and played it more when I was eleven, and I appreciated the humour more, but then again my demands were lower during that time. Today, before writing this review, I could beat on about the fourth try, and I didn’t really have fun (it is easy to learn from mistakes and get past annoying things when you have two extra credits). It looks and sounds too average to stand out from the great load of platformers for this system. According to the Swedish magazine Sega Force, the 8-bit versions were superior because the levels added in the Mega Drive version are more like filler material. There is also a CD version available, with an enhanced soundtrack (could be useful), cartoon cut scenes, and more difficulty levels. Check out the other versions and forget this one if you’re at all interested in becoming a stone age baby. If you just want a platformer, I recommend Chiki Chiki Boys.
SCORE: 5 out of 10