Thursday, 8 September 2011

Alfred Chicken (Amiga)

I've played this one before, on an Amiga, but I never really got anywhere in it. And I can't remember why.

Hey, I've just had a sensible idea! I'll play every version released for every system at the same time. There can't be that many of them, surely.

Amiga 500
The game has an intro? I must have never been patient enough to leave the title screen on before. There's not much to it. A ufo flies down from space and decides to kidnap some chicken eggs. Sentient eggs with eyes and a mouth that shout for help.

The SNES version's intro has the eggnappers using more subtle methods to ensnare their ovoid prey. One of them is taken from his car, so who knows how old these poor creatures have to be before they can become chickens.

There's actually a PlayStation version of the game too, which I'd never heard of until now. That tells its intro tale with spinning newspapers, but the point's the same. Alfred alone must race into danger and save the day.

Amiga 500
Cheese world. So cheesy that even the plants have cheese on them. I guess I should give it points for trying something different.

Amiga 500
Cheese world looks more like plastic world. And that background just makes me want some chocolate.

I'm just going to go run through what the game looks like on the other systems, so if looking at 6 slightly different versions of the same level is somehow boring to you, then look away... now.

Amiga 1200
People who went out and bought shiny new upgraded Amiga 1200 computers were probably delighted to find that Alfred Chicken has a different background on their version of the game! And that seems to be pretty much the only change to my eyes. The CD32 version is the same as this, but with CD music.

Nintendo Game Boy
The Game Boy version is the same too! Same music, same gameplay, same graphics, Except very slightly zoomed out. Which makes sense because the Game Boy version is the original that the Amiga game are based on.

In all versions I have to dive onto enemies beak-first to kill them, by jumping over them and pulling down. Which works pretty well actually, no complaints so far.

Nintendo NES
Whoa, did they just reuse the Game Boy art for the NES version and not bother to scale it up? I can see the entire width of the level at once on this one. Which is good and bad I guess.

And then the PlayStation version plays in extreme close up. Definitely looks more cheesy though, I'll give it that. And it IS actually the same level and gameplay more or less, which isn't what I expected.

The music is entirely different though. They've scrapped the annoying yet catchy theme from the other versions and gone with something that's just plain annoying.

Nintendo SNES
And the SNES version's in a world of its own. With tiny springs, diminutive diamonds and entirely different levels. They probably should have called this Alfred Chicken 2, because except for the hero sprite, gameplay and the music it's apparently an entirely new game.

Amiga 500
Okay, back to the Amiga version. The gameplay so far is mostly about finding switches and releasing balloons. Switches toggle boxes which can block my path or form platforms, and balloons are apparently absolutely essential to the rescue mission because I have to find and release every single last one of them before it'll let me off the level.

Hey it's a secret passage in the wall!

I don't know if I'm that much of a fan of secret passages. On one hand it's nice to get a reward for exploration and free stuff is always nice, on the other hand... why am I being rewarded for jumping against walls just in case they let me through?

Alfred's Adventure (Game Boy Color)
The Game Boy Color version handles this secret a little differently, making the path obvious but making it trickier to reach. Also it's got a totally different bonus room afterwards, with springs and diamonds to collect.

Alfred Chicken (Amiga 500)
The secret door on the rest of the versions generally leads to secret room with a secret plant inside who gives me a secret jar of jam! Collecting the jam filled the screen with stuff to grab for points, so I thought that was it and moved on.

Later I found out that the jam gave me bouncing bullets to fire at enemies. MUCH later.

After wandering the level for a bit I finally find the last balloon!

Despite the wings, Alfred is usually earthbound, but collecting the last balloon flings him up into the sky so he can fly up and collect packages in a minigame. And once or twice I actually did get them all. I was given a 1-up for my trouble, which was very much appreciated.

Nintendo SNES
The plant's called Mr Pekles? I always thought it was a female plant.

The PlayStation has the most boring stage clear screen. It doesn't even have a plant! It does have a level select and and a save option though, which is a massive improvement.

Amiga 500
Baby? They're just picking words at random aren't they? And they haven't even cleared away all the cheese from last time!

Crap. I should have looked before I leaped. Though to be fair, the thing is spinning around the axle on an invisible chain, so I didn't even know it was there until it was too late.

It's the same level again on the PlayStation, with some added things like this lift. And a harmless green creature that dives out of the background to make me jump.

Amiga 1200
You'd think a level called 'Baby' would have less spikes lying around. And snails.

Even though the SNES version has entirely different levels, it still seems to be following the same level themes. And they've somehow made the toy soldier even creepier.

Nintendo NES
The NES version is still the same, though the zoomed out levels makes it easier to navigate. The result of pressing the switch block is immediately obvious here.

On the PlayStation however I can't see the switch blocks in the way, so it's less clear which way to set the switch.

Also, they took the switch away!

Now the switch is hidden down in a tunnel underwater. Next to some bones and the Holy Grail.

Amiga 1200
Fortunately Alfred doesn't have to mess around with holding his breath, he had the forethought to bring scuba gear.

Amiga 500
Level 3: Wood.

Another level of normal household objects totally dwarfing Alfred. I assumed he was going to worlds filled with giant blocks, but I guess he must just be really small.

I wonder how this looks on the NES...

Nintendo NES
Uh, what? A boss fight? Alfred in a space fighter?

This isn't right. The NES version has broken away from the pack and is doing its own thing!

Amiga 1200
Okay, back to the wood level.

That skull block over there looks a bit ominous, but I can't find any other way to get across.

Amiga 500
I knew it! The damn block just disintegrated beneath me.

Nintendo Game Boy
And then I fall helplessly into the insta-kill spikes below.

But maybe if I jumped at the EXACT INSTANT I hit the block...

Nintendo NES
Son of a bitch! Okay, this plan isn't working. But how the hell else am I supposed to get over there?

Amiga 1200
Oh, of course. I can jump up through the ceiling. I saw that huge metal screw and the thick diagonal block of wood and assumed they'd probably block my path, but nope.

If Alfred dives for long enough, he speeds up and transforms into a plane.

Even longer and he changes into a faster plane. This is definitely a game with no falling damage.

It's a shame he can't change into other things though. Like maybe a tank. Or a robot.

Amiga 1200
Hey, I've found a radio! And turning it on changes the music! Which really isn't helping me find how to reach the last two balloons at all.

This is probably the worst bit of the game for me so far, hunting around the level for the final few balloons. With all these doors and the switch blocks it's hard for me to remember where I've been and where I couldn't get to before.

We meet again, Mr Boss, and this time you've shown up at the right part of the game.

This guy doesn't move so fast, and it wouldn't be that bad if it really did only take 10 shots to kill him. But it feels more like it takes 30 or 40. And once I got him down to the last few hitpoints he started to speed up, and one hit is enough to send me back to the start of the fight.

Fortunately I managed to kill the bastard without colliding with him, and his head flew off to bother me another day.

And then I jump up here on the next level and instantly die to a gun turret.

Yeah, I think Alfred must really be tiny. Every stage has been consistently gigantic compared to him.

What the fuck?

A giant saw blade just travelled up the screen and instantly murdered poor Alfred in a cloud of feathers.

Oh I see, I've got to stand on the pop can to be safe from the saw.

The can broke! I tried to jump to safety but it was too late. I guess I have to jump over, hit the switch, then quickly jump back to the right to land on the banana blocks.

But I can't be bothered doing all that again. Suddenly I remember why I never got anywhere in it. I'm enjoying it for the most part, but then it suddenly decides to be an asshole for a bit with disappearing skull blocks, or saw blades that crawl up the screen, and it destroys my interest.

Next game.

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