According to Quaker Oats legend, Cap'n Crunch cereal gets its unique flavor and crunchiness from a special element known as Crunchium. Very rare and found only deep beneath the surface of the earth, Crunchium is not featured on most standard periodic tables. Nevertheless, there are some wily thieves who know all about the importance of this special element and they have stolen the world's supply. Realizing that cereal production will plummet without this special ingredient, Cap'n Crunch confronts the thieves and challenges them to a contest to win back the world's supply of Crunchium.
Instead of entering the contest himself, the Cap'n enlists a cute, furry, young Crunchling creature to compete on behalf of cereal lovers everywhere. Before the contest begins, however, the young Crunchling must be properly raised. Players need to feed their new Crunchling to keep him healthy and pet him to keep him happy. Training sessions involve different forms of running and jumping practice to hone skills that will be crucial in the final contest against the Crunchium theives.
The Macintosh installation of Cap'n Crunch Crunchling Adventure allows players to raise several Crunchlings to well-fed, healthy adults but does not allow players to put their virtual pets through any of the training or enter them in the duel against the Crunchium thieves. The Windows installation of the game features all of the creature development as well as the training exercises and duels against the thieves. The CD-ROM also features audio tracks that accompany the game and can be played on most standard CD players.
Commercialized marketing tie-in games usually do not get a mention in gaming magazines, and for good reason: they are typically awful. Cap'n Crunch's Crunchling Adventure, however, is an exceptionally well-designed game that is a lot more fun than many commercial titles.
As you would expect from a CD-ROM game bundled with 2 boxes of Cap'n Crunch cereal, this is a simple kid-oriented game. The premise is that the Crunchium Mines at the center of the earth have been taken over by Crunchium Thieves. The Cap'n negotiates with the Thieves into letting the fate of the mines be determined by an athletic challenge between a Crunchling and a Thief. The Cap'n brings you in to help raise and train a Crunchling to compete in this important contest.
Gameplay-wise, Crunchling Adventure is really 3 mini-games in one. There is a "home" that isn't much more than a decision screen, where you can pet your Crunchling (to make him happy) and you can feed him any of 3 Cap'n Crunch cereals (they've omitted All Berries for some reason). From this home, you can take your Crunchling out to different worlds to work on his 3 skills: speed, jumping, and strength. Each of these is a separate mini-game, where you try and get the best score.
Interestingly, the more times you play each game, the better your Crunchlings' skills are the next time you play. I thought that once I had gotten the hang of the 3 mini-games, it would be repeating the same steps over and over until the end of the game. Fortunately, I was wrong. After you get your basic skills mastered, your Crunchling grows to a bigger size. The games change difficulty once you change, adding a few obstacles and increasing the overall speed. This happens twice, and once you're an adult, you can Challenge the Crunchling Thieves to win the game.
When you decide to go for it, the game will randomly select one of the three mini-games, and pit you against the Thief. I found these to be extremely easy, although they would probably prove challenging to the target audience of young gamers. The graphics are well-drawn in funny cartoon style, although the framing animations are a little blocky in places.
Overall, Crunchling Adventure is a neat, respectable tie-in product that doesn't feel too commercialized. It's fun, simple, and best of all, it's free (provided that you like Cap'n Crunch cereal). Too bad it was discontinued only after a few months, and non-US gamers never had a chance to try it out at all-- until now, of course :)
People who downloaded Crunchling Adventure have also downloaded:
Cyberlaw, Damage Incorporated, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Cybermercs, Death Rally, Cube, Amazon Trail 3rd Edition: Rainforest Adventures, CyberMage: Darklight Awakening
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