I’m sure most of the people who read this blog will have played Chuckie Egg, A&F Software’s enduring platform game (and if you’ve not, download a Spectrum emulator and give it a shot now and then come back… marvellous, isn’t it?). Despite it being most associated with the ZX Spectrum, for a long time I thought of it more as a BBC Micro game because that was the first version I encountered. But, just as I used to know the Guns ‘n’ Roses version of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ better than the Stones version before becoming “properly” acquainted with the original, I’ve recently become familiar with the Speccy version better to the extent where it feels the more “natural” version. Quite right too.
But enough about me and my associations, why have I brought Chuckie Egg up here? Surely that’s not a game I need to write any sort of article about being as it is extremely well-known (it’s one of the very few video games to have been mentioned on Have I Got News For You, trivia fans). This is correct, but what about the follow-up that never was? Forget Chuckie Egg 2 for a moment, there was another intended follow-on from the first game which was never published: step-forward Chuckie Apple!
Now, the 8-bit era has more than enough games that never were – The Megatree, Mire Mare (although rumours persist that a finished version exists somewhere locked in a hidden safe in Rare’s corporate headquarters guarded by panthers or something) and the original version of Scooby Doo to name but a few – but none of these had design notes that detailed how the game would look and play that we can cast our eyes over. Chuckie Apple does as you can see if you click this link here.
And now, using these design notes from original Egg programmer Nigel Alderton, a Windows-based version of Chuckie Apple has been written using 8-bit style graphics and sound. And how does it play? Well, it feels like a work in progress, a game still finding its feet. The general idea is sound enough and a pleasing mix of arcade and puzzle game styles but there’s not enough of a feeling of urgency or threat (the bees are easy to avoid) and it could do with some additional random bonuses or features. It’s worth a shot, though, and an interesting look into a game that, if it had been fully-developed and released, might have ranked alongside its illustrious predecessor in the affections of 8-bit gamers.
NB – Chuckie Apple also seems to have a few bugs when running on my PC, the sound is a bit wonky, I’m sure the bonus ticks down too slowly and it plays too slow if I press “fire” to start instead of “space”. Feel free to tell me if you have similar problems on your machines.