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Spidersoft (Game Boy)
|Platform(s)||Amiga, Atari ST, Archimedes, Commodore 64, Game Gear, Mega Drive, Master System, SNES, Game Boy, Mega-CD, CD32|
1991 (First release)
Chuck Rock is a 1991 slapstick side-scrolling platform video game developed and published by Core Design for the Atari ST and Amiga computers. A Commodore 64 port followed in 1992 and an Amiga CD32 version in 1994. The game was subsequently published by Krisalis Software for the Acorn Archimedes. Virgin Interactive published the game for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, and the Game Gear. Sony Imagesoft published the game for the Sega Mega-CD, Super NES, and Game Boy.
The character of Chuck Rock was an early mascot for Core Design before the introduction of Lara Croft in the 1996 game Tomb Raider, and the character of Chuck Rock himself and his family even featured in some UK comic books of the 1990s.
Chuck Rock spawned two video game sequels.
The setting of the game is a fictional prehistorical Stone Age-era world that is shared by both neanderthals, woolly mammoth, saber-tooth tigers, dinosaurs, and various assorted wild primeval monsters such as prehistoric mammals, giant insects, human-eating plants, and other exotica; thus, the setting is similar to that of films such as One Million Years B.C., or television shows such as The Flintstones or Dinosaurs.
The eponymous Chuck Rock is an overweight, square-jawed caveman characterized by loutish and lewd behaviour perhaps influenced by the lad culture of the 1990s. Chuck has a limited vocabulary (his favourite phrase being "Unga Bunga" and not much else), has a balding head cut into a punk-style mohawk, eats whole dinosaur-steaks raw in one bite, and has a penchant for picking up rocks and throwing them at things, hence his name. Chuck is a guitarist and singer (or shouter) in a rock band along with some other cavemen, his attractive wife Ophelia Rock, and a long-haired dinosaur bass player; and whilst on stage he wears a long wig to hide his balding head.
One day, Ophelia Rock is kidnapped by jealous local bully Garry Gritter (a pun on the name of contemporary pop star Gary Glitter) and carried off to Gritter's hang-out in the creepy dinosaur graveyard. Chuck must go to her rescue, searching for her in primeval jungles, swamps, lakes, an ice-capped mountain top, caves, and even the insides of a gigantic dinosaur.
Chuck Rock is an multi-directional-scrolling action-adventure puzzle platformer where the player, as the titular caveman, rescues her love interest, Ophelia, who is held hostage in a jungle by Gary Gritter. While Chuck watches TV, Gritter knocks her unconscious while she does laundry, carrying her away. The game lasts five levels (Jungle, Cave, Water, Ice and Graveyard) each with three-to-five scenes and a concluding boss battle, and provides the player three lives and one continue. Parallax scrolling is present in all versions except the Atari ST. The enemies include dinosaurs (such as small ones that pop out of eggs) and spiders, and Chuck attacks them by thrusting his beer belly, kicking while above ground, and chucking rocks and boulders. Additionally, rocks can shield Chuck from hazards that fall from the top, and boulders can be used as platforms, which is occasionally necessary to obtain certain bonus items. Some animals aid in Chuck's journey, such as flying lizards that he eats, a brontosaurus that he rides, and a crocodile that serves as a seesaw for him to bounce over a wall.
|Computer and Video Games||83/100|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||31/40 (SMD)|
|Mean Machines Sega||91% (SMD)|
|Play Time||77% (SMD)|
|Sega Master Force||91%|
Reported Computer and Video Games (CVG), Chuck Rock was one of the most popular home computer games upon release. Writing for Mean Machines, Julian called Chuck Rock the best platform game of 1992, Rich the best since James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod (1991). Steve of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) called it one of the best action-adventure video games since Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) for its new elements to the genre.
Play Time writer Ray named Chuck Rock one of the funniest mascots to compete to Sonic. Writers of EGM praised its successful combination of humorous elements and "heavy gameplay", Steve arguing Kato and Ken (1990) was the only other game he played that had it. The graphics were frequently acclaimed, called excellent, exceptional, and superb. Ray and the EGM writers spotlighted the humorous animations, Martin noting Chuck's standing animation and Ray the enemies, who he described as "lovely drawn". Julian of Mean Machines described the environments as beautifully-drawn. Ray labeled the graphics a primary motivator for playing the game. EGM's Ed claimed the Sega Genesis could have used more upbeat titles like Chuck Rock.
Games-X called the gameplay exceptional and recommended it to fans of Rick Dangerous (1989). Paul Glancey of CVG called Chuck Rock Core Design's best platformer so far, if simple and unoriginal. The gameplay was praised as addictive, encouraging hours of play. The difficulty curve and potentially long play time was also praised. Julian, who usually hated combinations of platform and puzzle, wrote Chuck Rock successfully combined the genres, reasoning the puzzles were "logical and enjoyable" and did not interfere with the action.
Martin and Ray suggested minor gameplay tweaking; Ray criticized the platforms that Chuck can jump from below to while also being vulnerable to going through when jumping. Glancey also advised more diversions to the experience, such as "a few extra weapons".
The game's humorous sound effects was a frequent highlight. Glancey felt it and the cartoon graphics made Chuck Rock good source material for a cartoon show. Mean Machines highlighted the sound effects, especially those themed to the Stone Age a la The Flintstones (1960–1966). EGM and Mean Machines also admitted to grooving along to the music.
The Genesis port was well-received by critics of EGM for its transition of the graphics from one console to another, Mean Machines its faster performance, larger screen and smooth frame rate. James of Total!, reviewing the Game Boy version, was critical of the collision detection and slow movement of the player character, and found the environments dull.
A direct sequel came in 1993 in the form of Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck, which was also ported to several consoles like its predecessor. Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck was more aimed at a younger audience than its predecessor, and the player character was not actually Chuck Rock himself but his infant son, Chuck Junior. It was not as well received by fans. Nonetheless around the time of the game's release, Core commissioned a comic strip in the long-running UK children's magazine LookIn, centering on the day-to-day lives of Chuck, Ophelia and Junior. As a meta-referential joke, Chuck Jr owned a 'SteggaDrive' console, as a reference to the Mega Drive name. A year later the magazine was closed (after almost 25 years), and the final strip saw Chuck being swept away from his boat, presumed dead but washing up on a tribal island and being revered as a God - as an inexplicable comic touch, mourners at his 'funeral' included then-Prime-Minister John Major.
A spin-off to Chuck Rock came in the game BC Racers, released later in the same year as Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck. BC Racers was released on the Mega-CD, Sega 32X and 3DO, and the format was changed from that of a platformer to that of a racing game. The game was designed by Toby Gard, who later created Lara Croft. BC Racers retained the characters of Chuck Rock as well as his son Chuck Junior. Other prehistoric racers include Millstone Rockafella, Brick Jagger and Jimi Handtrix. The game was generally well received among the fans of the consoles in question, and BC Racers was named the Best Sega CD Driving/Racing Game of the Year in GameFan's 1994 "Megawards" (Vol 3, Iss. 1). BC Racers was released as freeware two years later for the PC.
Core promised an updated version of Chuck Rock for a next-generation console, but it never materialized.
- Steve; Ed; Martin; Sushi-X (March 1992). "Chuck Rock". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Vol. 5, no. 3. p. 26. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
- Julian; Rich (June 1992). "Megadrive Review: Chuck Rock". Mean Machines. No. 21. pp. 76–78. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
- "Chuck Rock". Sega Master Force. No. 2. September 1993. p. 10. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
- "Save Ophelia From Gary!". Chuck Rock. Virgin Games. 1992. p. 4.
- "Chuck Rock: Atari ST". Games-X. No. 4. May 1991. p. 22. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
- "Belly-Butt Your Way to Ophelia". Chuck Rock. Virgin Games. 1992. p. 7.
- "Game Over-Continue". Chuck Rock. Virgin Games. 1992. p. 8.
- Ray (November 1992). "Chuck Rock" (PDF). Play Time (in German). p. 94. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
- Brett Alan Weiss. "Chuck Rock Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
- Glancey, Paul; Leadbetter, Rich (May 1991). "Chuck Rock". Computer and Video Games. No. 114. pp. 48–49. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- James (February 1994). "Chuck Rock". Total!. No. 26. p. 70. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
- "Preview: Chuck Rock" (PDF). Computer and Video Games. No. 123. February 1992. p. 103. Retrieved 12 May 2023.