Monday, September 14, 2009

QuickBlog: Chu Chu Rocket!

7.0 - [Great]

Gameplay: 7
Visuals: 7
Music: 6
Sound: 6
Value: 7

Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sonic Team
Multiplayer: Offline co-op, offline versus
Console(s): Dreamcast
Reviewed on: Dreamcast
ESRB rating: E (No Descriptors)
BMR rating: E (No Descriptors)

Good Points:

Chaotic gameplay great for multiplayer - A fun-filled attitude - Great variety of modes - Puzzle creation adds some nice value - Catchy music

Not So Good Points:

Not blinking for long periods of time can be painful - Simple premise can only go so far

In case you missed it, the Dreamcast just turned 10 a couple weeks ago, on September 9th. It was a wonderful system put out there as a last hurrah by Sega, but unfortunately didn't achieve the success that it deserved. It had a tendancy to release fun, unique, and downright weird games, and Chu Chu Rocket fits in very nicely. This hectic puzzle game is one of Sonic Team's great creations, and is easily one of the best multiplayer games for the Dreamcast. So let's remember the high-pitched "beeeep!" sound that always accompanied the switching on of the gone-but-not-forgotten console and take a look at Chu Chu Rocket.

The idea is simple, but things can get extremely hectic. The ChuChus (they're not just ordinary mice; they're space mice!) must avoid the KapuKapus (they're not just ordinary cats; they're space cats!) and make it safely to their little space rockets. An overhead camera gives you a view of the action, and while it's your job to protect the defenseless ChuChus, you have no direct control over the escaping space mice or their conniving cat counterparts. Instead, you must resort to placing tiles down in the arena that will send them off in different directions, and hopefully out of harm's way. All of this happens in real time, and power-ups can suddenly change everything at a moments notice, which means you never know when a hoard of KapuKapus will come charging in or the entire game might speed up dramatically. This can easily get out of hand as you rapidly throw arrows down to the ChuChus, only to find that you sent them directly into an awaiting KapuKapu's gaping maw.

For a slower change of pace, there's a puzzle mode that gives you a limited amount of tiles to think your way through a more thoughtful rescue mission, which is nice to have when your eyes begin to dry up from staring at the frenetic action of the other modes. You can even take a crack at making your own levels, which can be a lot of fun. A challenge mode gives you a time limit and a specific goal to complete, many of which are difficult to complete and rewarding to master. Multiplayer is, naturally, a huge draw to ChuChu Rocket!, and barring the Puzzle mode, you can bring in friends to work together and wage war with one another. The game's visuals are sharp and full of stylized cartoon flair, with a soundtrack as quirky and addictive as the game itself. Despite the simple gameplay, ChuChu Rocket! is a crazy and smile-inducing game that always entertains time and time again.

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