|Platform(s)||Arcade, FM-7, Family Computer, MSX, NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801, X1, SG-1000|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, Multiplayer (alternating turns)|
Chack'n Pop[a] is an platform arcade game developed and released by Taito in 1984. In the game, the player controls a small yellow creature, Chack'n, with the objective being to retrieve hearts from a cave, all while avoiding the enemies contained within them. Chack'n also has the ability to deploy bombs, which can kill said enemies, which can bring bonuses depending on if the all or none of the enemies have been killed.
It is considered to be a spiritual predecessor of Bubble Bobble due to the shared characters and similar game structure. Home ports were released for the SG-1000, MSX, Family Computer, Sharp X1, NEC PC-6001 and NEC PC-8801. The arcade version would later be included via emulation in Taito Legends Power-Up, Taito Memories Pocket, Taito Memories Gekan, and Taito Legends 2. The Family Computer version would later be re-released on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS via Virtual Console.
Chack'n Pop is an platform arcade game. The player controls Chack'n, a small yellow creature with extendable legs, through a series of single-screen mazes. He is capable of walking on floors or ceilings but not walls. He can climb steps and traverse high walls by extending his legs until he is tall enough to pass onto the next step. He is also capable of throwing hand grenades to his left or right which, after a short period, explode into a cloud of smoke. Separate fire buttons control rolling to the left or right. Chack'n is killed if caught by the explosion cloud. He is delayed in this process by a series of solid walls. In order to get past the walls, he must free hearts from cages using his hand grenades.
A further obstruction comes in the form of Monstas hatching from eggs. All or none of the Monstas in a level can be destroyed for a bonus at the end of the level. Each screen is played against a time limit, marked by a Mighta pushing a boulder along the top of the screen. The Monstas and Mightas would later appear as common enemies in Bubble Bobble.
The arcade version was released around April 1984 in Japan, despite the copyright notice of the game saying 1983.
Taito would later develop ports of the game for the MSX, Family Computer, Sharp X1, NEC PC-6001 and NEC PC-8801. Sega later developed and published a version of the game for the SG-1000. An emulated version of the arcade version would later be included in Taito Legends Power-Up, Taito Memories Pocket, Taito Memories Gekan, and Taito Legends 2. The Family Computer version would later be re-released on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS via the Virtual Console service. The Family Computer version is included on the MyArcade Don Doko Don Pocket Player unit, along with the Family Computer version of Don Doko Don, as well as Don Doko Don 2.
Reception and legacy
Retrospective views on Chack'n Pop have been mostly negative. A mini review of the game on a retrospective of The NewZealand Story found in an issue of Retro Gamer claimed the game "wasn't a great platformer" due to how complex it is. PC Zone said the game "isn't much fun", despite the ideas it presented for the time, and the fact that it was Bubble Bobble's predecessor. Rhody Tobin of HonestGamers slammed the Family Computer version of the game for it's controls, gameplay, and presentation, and while admitting that the game is "vaguely interesting", ended that it is "best forgotten". A more positive review of the game came from Alex Kidman of Kotaku Australia, where he briefly reviewed the Family Computer version of the game, and while he recommended it for fans of Bubble Bobble, he noted that it is a very different game compared to Bubble Bobble.
Chack'n Pop is often considered to be one of the spiritual predecessors to Bubble Bobble, mostly due to the similar gameplay structure and shared characters. Chack'n and other characters from Chack'n Pop has appeared in various other Taito games as cameos, such as Bubble Bobble, Bubble Memories, and NY Captor.
- Tobin, Rhody (27 April 2013). "Chack'n Pop (NES) review". HonestGamers. Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
- "Ultimate Guide to The New Zealand Story". Retro Gamer. 115: 58 – via Internet Archive.
- "MAME Frame". PC Zone. 188: 123. December 2007 – via Internet Archive.
- Kidman, Alex (27 January 2020). "How Far Back In A Games History Should You Go?". Kotaku Australia. Archived from the original on 13 March 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト 国内•海外編 (1971-2005) (in Japanese). Amusement News Agency. p. 42. ISBN 978-4990251215.
- Fletcher, JC (8 July 2008). "VC Tuesday: Taito Shrine". Engadget. Archived from the original on 25 September 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- Bivens, Danny (20 November 2013). "Japan eShop Round-Up (11/20/2013) - Feature". Nintendo World Report. Archived from the original on 15 February 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- "Limited Edition Don Doko Don™ Pocket Player Launching on January 15, 2020 - Pre-Orders Now Available". Gamasutra. 19 December 2019. Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
- "Chack'n Pop - Overview". Allgame. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- Tursi, Lee (15 December 2019). "Fairyland Story, The". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on 16 December 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
- Harris, John (9 April 2019). "Exploring the secret depths of Bubble Bobble 's design". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 3 June 2020. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
- "Bubble Trouble". Retro Gamer. 8: 41 – via Internet Archive.
- "The Unconverted". Retro Gamer. 82: 77 – via Internet Archive.
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- Daw, Mike (19 June 2018). "The joys of living in a Bubble (Bobble)". GamesIndustry.biz. Archived from the original on 25 September 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.