ZX Spectrum Chuckman
Another 'classic' game from the slightly odd software house, Custom Cables International (who were also responsible for the unofficial Star Wars computer game 3D Star Wars.
I remember picking this maze like arcade game up for my ZX Spectrum when it was re-released by Mastertronic at £1.99.
I tell you what, for £1.99 it wasn't bad.
It's hard to get into and fast moving, but if you persevere with it a good (if slightly basic) little arcade game is hidden away in there...
The aim of the game is pretty simple: guide your hero around a maze along the yellow paths to diffuse the numerous time bombs. So finding the bombs is your first problem, but as usual there are plenty of pitfalls to hinder your progress
From time to time there are earthquakes (eh?) which leave a nice gaping hole in the path - which will kill you if you fall in. These have to be repaired or if you can find a way you can 'go around' them.
There are also stomping boots wandering about the maze which are out to... stomp you. Avoid these at all costs as instant death occurs if you touch them. The mazes were usually quite fiendish too so there were plenty of dead-ends to leave you able to see the bomb, but not reach it. A puzzle game to make you a little tetchy.
Dotted around the maze are wheelbarrows (to fill in any holes), toolkits (to diffuse the bombs - do not touch a bomb without carrying one of these!), rollerskates (which scare away the stomping boots - weird!) and food (to top up your energy levels).
As you move around the maze your energy slowly decreases, and firing up the map drains it even quicker. Eating food along the way is essential as when your energy level hits zero your wee guy is kaputski.
The scrolling is quite smooth and the game cracks along at a fair old pace. Once you get the hang of it the simplicity of it means a fair amount of fun as you try and find the next bomb before it explodes. There are also the usual skill levels and high score table - and a huge scrolling message every time you lose the game, which is a little bizarre. Not bad overall and a fun puzzle game.
The test of time:
It's simple, but it is pure puzzle and arcade action. The graphics are very simple (and were back in the day), but the scrolling works well, the action is fast and the controls are responsive. Oh, and try leaving chuckman alone for a little while and watch what he does - another little neat touch.
We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware but if not then download this one for a ZX Spectrum emulator. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Please see our other ZX Spectrum retro game reviews and programmer interviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.
GENRE: Arcade Game / Puzzle Game
RELEASE DATE: 1983
RELEASED BY: Customer Cables International then re-released by Mastertronic
DEVELOPER(S): K Baker
PRICE: £5.00 then £1.99 on re-release
Classic scrolling arcade action:
Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games