North American Dreamcast cover art
October 28, 2010
November 22, 2011
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
|Distribution||GD-ROM, GBA cartridge, Digital Download|
ChuChu Rocket! (チューチューロケット! ChūChū Roketto!?) is a puzzle video game for Dreamcast developed by Sonic Team. The game was the first popular game with online mode support for any major video game console. At one point, the game was given away free as a demonstration of its online abilities to European Dreamcast owners only, who could order a copy by connecting to the Dreamarena online service with the Dreamcast browser. In October 2010, the game was ported to iOS platforms, followed by an Android version in November 2011.
The object of the game is to guide one or more mice ("ChuChus") around a board into one or more goals while avoiding cats ("KapuKapus") roaming the board. The mice and cats all move in predictable paths by always turning right when hitting a wall head on, by following corners or by turning around when in a dead end.
ChuChu Rocket!'s multiplayer mode revolves around up to four players placing arrows on the level at once, trying to direct mice into their own rockets and cats into other players' rockets (any cat that reaches a rocket removes a percentage of the mice within). Each player can only have three arrows on-screen at a time and cannot place them on other players' arrows or their own arrows. Arrows would disappear over time, or could be removed by a player placing his fourth arrow (which would eliminate the first arrow placed, thus leaving three). Although a simple concept, this quickly becomes frenetic with the relentless speed of the mice and four players fighting over them.
Periodically, special colored mice would appear. A gold mouse would add 50 mice to the player's rocket, while a pink mouse would trigger a random event. These events could benefit the player who collected it (for example, by routing all the mice on screen to their rocket, or dropping cats directly into all the opponents' rockets), benefit all players (such as removing all the cats for a short time and flooding the board with mice), hurt all players (such as briefly dropping lots of cats onto the board) or even change the dynamic of the game by swapping the positions of the players' rockets.
While billed primarily as a multiplayer game, the single-player puzzle mode of ChuChu Rocket! had a strong online following. In this mode, players are presented with levels with mice and cats on it and are tasked with placing arrows in order to get all the mice into the rockets and keep all the cats out without further guidance after setting the level in motion. A level editor allows players to create their own puzzle levels to share with others, and thousands of levels were uploaded to Sega's online service during the game's lifetime.
A less-featured Stage Challenge mode challenges players to get mice into rockets, guide a cat to eat all the mice, put cats into a computer-guarded rocket, and other tasks, all within a specified time limit. One or two players can work together to solve the 25 available levels.
A Game Boy Advance release of ChuChu Rocket! featured the same gameplay as the original Dreamcast release, complete with single-cartridge multiplayer gameplay across multiple GBAs. The original 100 puzzle levels were included, as well as 2,500 user-submitted levels from the online service. This version's level editor is capable of creating levels for 4Player Battle, Team Battle, Stage Challenge and Puzzle mode. Numerous new features and effects were added to the GBA version as well, some taking advantage of each player having their own screen. Several user puzzle names were censored from the US version, for example "The Final Solution" became "The solution", "pac chu-chu" became "pack of chu-chu's", and "Gang Bang" became "Gang".
An unofficial Atari ST release of ChuChu Rocket!, released as freeware by Reservoir Gods in 2001, featured the same single-player gameplay as the original Dreamcast release and up to 4 players on the same machine in 4Player Battle & 2 vs. 2 modes. All the original Dreamcast music was remade by MSG using SID Sound Designer. Two versions exist - one for STe/Atari TT030/Atari Falcon requiring 2Mb or more of memory & a 'ChuChuLite' version for 1Mb Atari ST computers. This game received MyAtari Magazine Game of the Year award 2002.
A version of the game for Apple iOS was announced on September 9, 2010. The game features Wi-Fi multiplayer for up to four players and was released on October 28, 2010. It does not include the stage builder, but does include over 500 puzzles, with the majority of them being custom puzzles released on SegaNet that were in the GBA version.
A clone called ShokoRocket is also available for users of Android. It provides original levels and an editor, and recently added multiplayer support (locally). An official port of ChuChu Rocket! was released in late 2011 and is available from the Android Market.
There is also an opensource port called Mures, which is available for Linux and other platforms and has multiplayer and network support.
- A version of ChuChu Rocket! was featured in the EyeToy minigame compilation, Sega Superstars for PlayStation 2. Players use their hands to raise and lower bridges to guide the ChuChus to the rocket.
- In Phantasy Star Online Episodes I&II for the Nintendo Gamecube, there were two quests that offered a mini version of ChuChu Rocket! for the GBA.
- In addition, the game featured several ChuChu Rocket! related items, such as the ChuChu Fever armor and ChuChu and KapuKapu mags.
- In Sonic Battle for Game Boy Advance, Tails' "mine" attack creates an explosive blue chuchu that chases opponents.
- ChuChus Chuih (blue), ChuPea (red), ChuBei (yellow), and ChuBach (green) are playable racers in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. They are in the same rocket. Their All-Star move is unleashing a KapuKapu.
- In Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, the KapuKapu can be found in an egg; it will help the player by attacking foes. Another egg can be found that leads the player to play a mini version of ChuChu Rocket! on the GBA.
- In Sega Superstars Tennis, there are several missions in an unlockable stage in the "Planet Superstars" mode (obtained by finishing all Jet Set Radio missions) and an unlockable minigame (after finishing the ChuChu Rocket! missions). The missions usually tell the player to guide all of the ChuChus to their rocket(s) while avoiding KapuKapus within the time limit.
- These are played on a slightly modified version of the Space Channel 5 court.
The Dreamcast version has an aggregate score of 86% on GameRankings. One of the most common complaints about the game was the lag time on the online play. The online interface was also criticized, though reviewers noted that it was Sega's first online game. IGN complained that the lobby system was poorly conceived. GameSpot said that the network mode "could have been the crowning moment" of the game. Gamespy reported problems with getting the settings to connect to the Internet correctly. In Japan, Famitsu magazine scored the Dreamcast version of the game a 34 out of 40.
The Game Boy Advance version's graphics as 2D sprites substituted the 3D-Cel shaded miniature models were sacrificed due to the lesser power of the GBA and were also criticized, but noted the gameplay was essentially the same as the Dreamcast version. The GBA version has an aggregate score of 83% on GameRankings.
- BenT. "PlanetDreamcast: Games - Reviews - Chu Chu Rocket". March 14, 2000. Gamespy.
- "Sega of Europe Confirms Chu Chu Date - Dreamcast News at GameSpot". GameSpot. May 20, 2000.
- "Chu Chu Rocket finally made it to the ST and Falcon.". Dead Hackers Society. November 11, 2001.
- "Puppet Rush at hairygames.com"
- "ChuChu Rocket! Reviews" (Dreamcast). GameRankings
- Nutt, Christian. "ChuChu Rocket! for Dreamcast Review - Dreamcast ChuChu Rocket! Review". GameSpot. December 13, 1999.
- "IGN: Chu Chu Rocket Review". IGN. March 7, 2000.
- ドリームキャスト - チューチューロケット!. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.37. 30 June 2006.
- "ChuChu Rocket! Reviews" (Game Boy Advance). GameRankings