Genre: Platformer Developer: Core Designs Publisher: Virgin Games Players: 1 Released: 1993
I started out not really liking the Chuck Rock series as a whole. I originally borrowed the Super NES version of Chuck Rock from a friend when I was a kid, and I never really liked it and didn’t play it much at all. I also never really cared for B.C. Racers either and the whole series kind of became “out of sight, out of mind” for me. In the recent months I got a hold of the series’ Sega CD outings and decided to give them another try, and despite them being an acquired taste, I actually started to enjoy them and appreciate them for what they were.
Neither Chuck Rock nor Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck really did anything that great to stand out from the hordes of other platform games being released at the time, and when I played their cartridge offerings I really wasn’t that excited about them. Even at my time of writing this review I probably wouldn’t have spent much more time with them. When I got to the Sega CD versions, I actually enjoyed them enough to play both of them to completion.
Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck takes place where the first one took off. Chuck Sr. opens the first auto manufacturer and gets rich but trouble is in the midst. The Evil Brick Jagger isn’t as good as Chuck at manufacturing automobiles so he kidnaps Chuck and holds him for ransom and takes over his plant. Chuck Jr. decides sets out with his trusty club to rescue his father because after all, “he is a chip off the old block!”
The game plays a bit different than the first one. Chuck Jr., who seems to be a bit more intelligent that his father even at a young age, attacks with a club instead of simply bumping enemies with his beer gut like his dumb father did, making it much harder to attack enemies in the first game. Jr. can balance on his club to avoid enemies by pressing A. He can also bat rocks around to create platforms to reach high up areas. Junior can also ride on a variety of animal friends now too, all of which help in different ways.
The game’s difficulty jumps up a few notches this time around. It’s not an overly hard game, but it took me several plays before I could complete it. There’s thankfully enough here to keep a veteran gamer busy at least for a while through the game’s fifteen or so stages and half dozen bosses. Thankfully the bosses are pretty varied and feel original, and none of them become too challenging either, but sadly, I was actually surprised to find the last boss to be one of the easiest bosses in the entire game. There are three bonus stages in the game, and each one is unique and are really fun to play. You really need to master them because they reward you with a valuable continue, and you only start with one at the beginning of the game.
As I stated earlier, the gameplay alone wasn’t enough to hold my attention throughout the entire game. Several times during the middle stages I wanted to turn it off out of boredom, but thankfully the later stages gave the game a kick. One of the biggest reasons I liked this version is specifically because of the added CD extras. The entire intro is a complete tongue in cheek Flintstones-style cartoon spoof with a narrator, and it’s totally worth watching and is good for several laughs. The in-game animations are also really well done. Chuck Jr. looks really nice, and many of the enemies have more animations and facial expressions than I could count.
I also love the sound effects of the game. They’re quite honestly hilarious, and I never got tired of them. My absolute favorite would have to be the little bugs that growl at you when you approach them. I could listen to the sound effects all day. The music is all redbook now too and a massive upgrade from the cartridge original. The score has a laid back, bluesy techno sound to it, and it’s really good, I’m talking about worthy of putting the soundtrack into your iPod good. My favorites being the “Stone Age Suburbs” and “Butterfly Grove” stage themes.
There are a lot of things to not like about Chuck Rock II, especially the generic platforming elements, but the Sega CD’s added extras are enough of a boost to make this game a lot of fun to play. If you own the cartridge already, then I wouldn’t go out of your way to buy this one. However, if you are thinking about buying this game and have a Sega CD, then get this version first because the intro is top notch. Just don’t expect much from the single screen ending, because that was one of the game’s letdowns.
SCORE: 7 out of 10