There's something about the mind of a platform game designer that's warped. After all, what sane person could possibly come up with a plot like Alfred Chicken. The Meka Chickens have come from outer space and eggnapped Billy and his brothers. They've even taken the fluffy Floella. You, under the guidance of Mr. Peckles the sunflower, must go and rescue them. Weird.
Of course, it's a platform game, and like so many other Amiga platformers, it taps its head in the direction of Mario/Sonic and anything else that has been remotely successful on console. Although platform games have come along in leaps and bounds, this game, however, adds nothing new to the genre. Sure, it's playable enough, but name a recent platform game that wasn't?
Each level has a different theme, as usual, but your aim is always the same - to rescue Billy and the gang. To get through the levels you must release the balloons that are connected to air supplies. When all the balloons have been let go, the last one carries you off screen to Mr Peckles' lab in the sky. Hold on, this is getting silly again!
If you think the plot is weird, then why not take a look at some of your opposition: snails that grow spikes, or have vertical firing cannons mounted on their backs, and whales with high-powered machine guns. There are even a few neurotic bombs to contend with! These, though, can never match up to the might of the Meka-Chickens. After every three levels, you are blasted into space and placed in your Meka Buster ship for a manic shoot out against the huge and badly drawn super enemy. This is probably the most active part of the game.
Alfred Chicken is, as I've said a playable platformer, but it does suffer from a couple of problems. The biggest has to be your mode of attack. Like all platform titles you kill the bad guys by jumping on them. However, you have to hit them head first, by leaping into the air, and then diving onto them. If you miss, they can just walk into you, killing you instantly. Needless to say, this can be very frustrating.
Also, Alfred doesn't move very quickly. Although he is beautifully animated and designed to the point where you just want top him up and cuddle him, he just can't get out of the way of the faster moving enemies. For example, if you jump and discover something is bearing down on you, you can rarely move him out of the way in time, so you are killed on contact and returned (annoyingly) to the point of the last-released balloon. Alfred Chicken had all the makings of a classic platform game, but sadly a few niggles have left the gameplay slightly irritating.
Who knows why Mindscape chose a chicken as a hero, but it obviously worked, with this game becoming one of their biggest sellers of '93. Alfred is a bit brighter than your average chicken - cut his head off and he won't run around spraying blood everywhere. So, when his mates are kidnapped by the evil, robotic Meka-Chickens, he sets out to rescue them and destroy all other enemies of chicken-kind.
The graphics are reminiscent of Robocod, but fortunately the game doesn't play the same way. Alfred is a totally bizarre character and unlike any other platform game star. To dispose of his enemies, he has to drop beak first on top of them, which as it happens, is quite a tricky maneuvre. To make things easier you can collect a pot of jam which, for some reason, outfits Alfred with a supply of bombs which he can lob at his enemies.
Like the A1200 version, the graphics are really excellent, with neat, colorful sprites and some very smart levels. But what really makes the game a winner is its overall quirkiness. Collect watering-cans to gain extra lives, open a can of worms to get a shield, and balance on pop cans to reach higher platforms. It is not all leaping and killing though, there are puzzles to be solved, bonus games to be played and secret rooms to be found. Altogether these elements make Alfred Chicken completely addictive and totally weird. One of the best platform games out on CD32 and, like Arabian Nights, it's an essential download.
Interesting, funny graphics, but overall is only a simple platform game. The CD32 version is fully playable on other AGA machines.
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