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Chu Chu Rocket! by Reservoir Gods (2001) [STE/Falcon]

Remember Alive's previous issue ?
I remember having advertised the Sega Dreamcast as a good buy since
it has gotten so cheap and has some really great games.
And Chu Chu Rocket! is one of them.
So what could be better than a conversion of this nice game for you
to play on your very own STE ?
A good conversion would be better.
And this is a good conversion.

So, since ST Survivor has already explained the game in every detail
i just want to give a second opinion about this game and about the
The game is obviously not anybody's taste. Some Dreamcast reviewers
loved it, some hated it. It was one of Sega's most urgent attempt to
finally get online-gaming going on the Dreamcast - you can play it
over the internet using the internal modem of the Dreamcast - and
like most other attempts, it unfortunately failed.
But that doesn't change the game itself. The 1 Player puzzle mode is
intriguing, very wisely designed levels, a simple principle and yet
lots and lots of options and very very indirect impact of your actions
on what happens on screen keep you puzzled (and puzzling) for hours.
The 1-2 player mode is perfect for two players that don't like to
compete. Solve puzzles together, but keep in mind that you may only
set 3 arrows at once, that there's a time-limit and that each level
features a goal - sometimes even in such a twised manner that you
ought to feed the cat and yet cannot get the tracks of the mice and
the cats to cross anywhere.
The game is definetly crowned by the 4-player-maze mode in which 4
players play at once, trying to snatch as many of the mice by
guiding them into their own rocket and luring them away from the
other player's rocket, yet trying to get rid of the pesky cat that
walks the same patterns as the mice do ... Fast, furious and sometimes
barely controllable fun is the result - heated up some more by having
special mice that activate certain game-modes for a while ...
And if you don't have 3 friends to play this game with, the computer
is even capable of taking over.

What would this ingenious concept be worth without a good
implementation ? Well, luckily, the Reservoir Gods did an
excellent implementation. It took them a certain amount of bugfixes,
but now it's really doing its job excellently.
The decision to go STE or Falcon was a wise one. The Blitter makes
programming sprites a lot easier on 68000-based machines and yes,
there are lots and lots of sprites on screen. Besides that, the
DMA-channels of the STE enabled the programmers to have the original
sound-effects of the game - if you have 2 MB or above.
Finally, of course the 2 advanced joystick-ports of the STE and Falcon
are badly needed for the 4-player-frenzy this game is famous for.
The framerate is pretty good even on the simple 1040 STE and at
least from my point of view it always stays at a level where the
movement on screen is slick enough for you to control.
The music consists of chiptunes that all start with the original
theme from the Dreamcast version but then turn into something
completely different - Well done, the music accompanies the game
just perfect.
And finally - the levels are original! Yes, there is actually no
difference if you play Chu Chu Rocket! on your STE or your
Dreamcast - besides minor differences in graphics and music,
they're just the same.
Speaking of graphics, they are quite good, too. Now to be honest,
they are not astonishing but good enough for a game like that. And
after all, who wants to get lost in too detailed graphics when there's
a horde of mice to guide away from your neighbour's rocket ? You can't
mix mice and cats, the background can clearly be identified as
background and that's much more important in a game like that than
miniature details that might spoil the overview.

So, like said in a famous commercial, "Atari owners win again" with
this great game. Chu Chu Rocket! by the Reservoir Gods is just the
best game that happened to the Atari community - especially the STE
people - ever since Dynabusters+. It is fun, fun, and nothing but
fun, you can solve the puzzles, play the missions or if you have at
least 1 human player, it`s even more fun playing in competitive mode.
This game also proves that it still pays out to invest time into
developing a game for the ST. It must have taken ages to design all
the levels, working on the AI for the 4-player mode, getting the
timing, the behaviour right and one hell of a lot of testing.
But the Reservoir Gods have succeeded. Everything about this
conversion is as good as it gets.

                                             The Paranoid/Paranoia
                                             of the Lunatic Asylum

Alive 4