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Chuck Rock – Sega CD

Chuck Rock – Sega CD

chuck rock 1

Platform: Sega CD

Developer: Core Design

Publisher: Sony Imagesoft

Release Date (NA): 1994

Genre: Platformer

Nerd Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

From what I understand, Chuck Rock was a smash hit in 1994. Maybe not the Sega CD version, but on one of the other many platforms it was released, Genesis, Atari ST, Sega Master System, Super Nintendo, and Commodore to name a few. You might remember Core Design for their creation of the wildly successful Tomb Raider series (up until Core was bought out by Eidos in 2006). But what a lot of people don’t know is that Core Design created a number of games prior to breaking out with the first Tomb Raider including Hook, Rick Dangerous, Bubba n’ Stix, and the aforementioned Chuck Rock. Success on a micro-level would pave the way for Core to continue making games, and good thing they did or else we wouldn’t have Tomb Raider. But what did Core provide us with in their release of Chuck Rock?

The introduction to Chuck Rock on the Sega CD is a pretty interesting little cartoon layout of the story. One day, Garry Gritter, the neighboring bully and chiseled jaw heartthrob kidnaps Ophelia Rock. Chuck Rock must now put on his leaf loin-cloth to traverse wild chuck rock 1 introprehistoric terrain full of dinosaurs, mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, giant insects, carnivorous plants, and other perilous enemies in order to save the love of his life.

The eponymous Chuck Rock is your stereotypical caveman Neanderthal sporting shorts made out of greenery. He has a dumbed down square jaw and a bitchin’ Mohawk. He mopes around with his long dangling apish arms using his potbelly (likely fat from eating full slabs of raw meat) to attack enemies. Jumping on people’s heads to kill them is so 1992. In 1994 Chuck Rock uses his huge belly to destroy the inner soul of every dinobaddie and Jurassic Park 3 insect he encounters.

Chuck Rock is a platformer in every sense of the word. It is as generic a platformer as they come, but this definitely is not a bad thing. The platformer-genre was far and away the most popular genre of video games during this time period. The technology at the time didn’t allow for too much advanced leaps in the capabilities of the video game industry as a whole. Thus we were forced to drink the side-scrolling-platforming-punch along with the masses. I drank the punch but I survived because I eat rocks for breakfast in an Ivory bowl full of Saber-tooth tiger milk. At least I do know that I’ve joined the 65 people in America that still remember Chuck Rock. Do you remember it as a solid platforming game? Or do you remember it for its humor and slapstick?

chuck rock 12One of the beauties of Chuck Rock is the humor. It’s just a funny game, and it’s meant to be. The sound effects are pretty solid, especially the comical sound his belly makes when you press the B-button. His vocabulary is extremely limited which is all-too obvious when you hear him say “Unga Bunga” for the 50th time before you beat the first boss. Two of the other truly marvelous features in Chuck Rock are the music and the vibrant colors. The color palette on the Sega Genesis might be far below that of the Super Nintendo, but Core Designs made good use of the limited power at their disposal. The good thing is they didn’t require too many various colors as it is just green, brown, blue, and some others. But overall, it is done well.

The music is a Sega CD masterpiece. It’s still chip-tune and not CD quality audio, but the composers (Martin’s Music Workshop) put in some quality work here. The main menu screen has a nice metal guitar rock jam (while four prehistoric animals play in a 4-piece rock band to the tunes) akin to Rock n’ Roll Racing. But the real prize music can be found in the gameplay itself. It is just perfectly appropriate for an early-90s game that takes place in the Land of the Lost.

The gameplay itself is fairly solid as well. As with any game, it will take a little getting used to. Chuck can only attack from his belly (unless he is throwing something), so if an insect is flying at your head, you will have to duck. Timing your belly-attack is also a difficult chuck rock 1 level 5task in itself, but there’s nothing wrong with mashing the B-button over and over until someone walks right into your belly and dies. Traversing this ancient landscape proves to be quite a task. You will jump, you will duck, you will eat chicken legs, and you will die. One of the neat features in gameplay is the ability and full utilization of picking up large rocks and stacking them. This gives you some added steps between your current platform and the one above you. I personally like this feature and find it to be pretty inventive.

Chuck Rock suffers from the same issue many 8 and 16 bit games suffered from; lack of a save system. But, we are given the power of a password system, which is better than nothing at all. Overall, Chuck Rock is a pretty cool game in the Sega CD library. While not exclusive to the Sega CD and not a rare game, it is still pretty valuable due to its rare success on such a flawed and often-hated system. The graphics, sound effects, music, and gameplay are very solid and done very well. A personal highlight moment in the game for me is level 4 in the snow. My breath was taken away by the marvelous 16-bit graphics and detail. The music is somewhat Christmas-ish and very upbeat and enjoyable.

chuck rock 13Overall, Chuck Rock is a fun game and a great platformer during a time when platformers ruled the earth. Unfortunately there’s very little character-development behind Chuck, our main character, and he doesn’t really have too many qualities that make the gamer really fall in love with him the way we fell in love with Mario or Sonic or Ristar. Much like the caveman himself, the game is also lacking in many areas. While fun and enjoyable, it begins to grow somewhat tedious and tiresome as the game wears on. The lack of variety in Chuck’s attacking capabilities or his sluggish walking and jumping capabilities don’t really grow on you like you hoped they would. In the end, we’re left with a really brief ending of a picture and some text over it. It’s very disappointing considering you just logged in at least an hour of your day to play through this game. I STILL think this is a strong entry in a long list of platformers and is a must-own for any Sega CD fan. Chuck Rock also had a sequel called Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck which is worth a spin of the disc. Enjoy the game folks and drop me a line if you want to Unga Bunga.

Written by Nerdberry

Nerdberry

What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.

 
 

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  1. Pingback: Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck – Sega CD

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