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North American Genesis cover art
May 1, 1991
Flicky (フリッキー) is a platform game developed by Sega and originally released in arcades in 1984. The game was also released at the time for the SG-1000, the MSX, and Japanese computers Sharp X1, Fujitsu FM-7 and NEC PC-8801. It was later ported to the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis in 1991. Flicky was designed by Yoji Ishii, who was head of Sega R&D until August 1999, when he formed Artoon, his own company. The main character, Flicky, made cameos in many later Sega video games, including the Sonic the Hedgehog series, in which the "Flickies" are derived from the bird. Flicky was re-released in 2002's Sonic Mega Collection compilation, and again in 2009's Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection.
In the game, the player controls Flicky, a flightless bird who has to save the Chirps (Piopio in Japan) from house cats. The player has to collect all of the Chirps and guide them through the exit. The player has to avoid the cat, Tiger (Nyannyan), and the green iguana, Iggy (Choro). They can also be killed by throwing items at them. Tiger tries to catch Flicky by jumping on platforms or running, while Iggy owns the ability to climb walls and crawl fast along the floors. He debuts in round 10.
Players start with two lives and can gain more lives by acquiring certain scores; however there is a maximum of seven lives they can attain. If the player touches the enemy, the player will lose a life. When all the lives are gone, the game will end.
There are 48 proper levels ("rounds") in the game. Completing these yields a "Congratulations" message, followed by the possibility of playing through the game again at a faster speed. These levels are numbered 49, 50 and so on, and levels which previously did not contain the Iggy now do contain it. Furthermore, some throwable items are replaced with different ones. Once the game has been completed a second time (passing level 96 = fast version of 48), the game repeats again, but there is no speed increase (i.e. level 97 is identical to level 49), and the game simply carries on in this fashion until after the 256th level the game starts over at the very first level and continues from there.
Appearances in other games
The Flicky birds in the Sonic the Hedgehog games are derived from the bird in the Flicky arcade game. This is most obvious in Sonic 3D Blast, where the birds, who not only resemble but are explicitly named Flickies, follow Sonic around after being found in the same way the Chirps would follow Flicky in this game. Other mechanics were also similar, such as losing Flickies that happen to touch an enemy or hazard, or losing them all if Sonic died (though unlike Flicky, Sonic could, depending on the circumstances, survive a hit). The point system (extra points awarded for rescuing Flickies/Chirps together instead of one at a time) had the same principle, as well.
In Tails Adventure, the island that Tails is on seems to be inhabited by Flickies. Also, in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Tails' super transformation has four super Flickies surrounding him, who attack any enemies that are surrounding Tails, including bosses.
In Sonic Adventure, there are five birds of the Flicky species, they are of a different variety than the other small animals collected for use in the Chao Gardens, although two are found inside robots in E-102 Gamma's story line (one inside Gamma itself and one inside of E-101 MKII) and one follows Amy Rose in her story line, and two more come to meet her rescued Flicky. These Flickies can not be collected and taken to the Chao Gardens.
Flicky also has made cameo appearances in other Sega games. The bird appears in two Tetris-like arcade puzzle games, Flash Point and Bloxeed, as well as in the bonus rounds of the arcade version of Teddy Boy, which was made by the same staff. Gunstar Super Heroes has a stage based on Flicky in which the player rescues chicks. Shenmue II for the Dreamcast and Xbox features an in-game poster advertising Flicky in the Pine Game Arcade. Flicky the Bird also made a cameo appearance during a Sonic: Lost World trailer.