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Alfred Chicken Review

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Developer: Twilight Publisher: Mindscape
Release Date: 1993 Also On: Amiga CD32, Amiga, Game Boy, SNES

Here’s a company that never really released anything worthwhile for the NES. The Chessmaster was great, if you like chess, but most of their titles were lackluster at best. Alfred Chicken, however, is an exception. Developed by a little-known company named Twilight, it easily stands as one of the more original and entertaining platformers for the system

Graphically, Alfred Chicken makes full usage of the NES’ capabilities. Lots of variety, a great usage of color interspersed with the right amount of detail without causing flicker; overall very good. Alfred Chicken has this goofy feel to it, as was intended, and they certainly pulled it off in the look. Mr. Peckles the flower, Alfred, whales with propellors attached to them; this game has a ton of variety and its own feel. Good score in this category.

And musically, Alfred Chicken does it again. Fitting the goofy idea behind the game and the look of it, the programmers really milked the NES’ sound chip to create this one. The songs have as much variety as the graphics, with lots of goofy notes, this almost barnyard/pop sort of thing going on and so forth. Reallly fitting and it created a good atmosphere for the game. Catchy too. The sound effects work nicely as well: pecking, rocket sounds, good job overall again.

So what about the gameplay? Alfred Chicken is a platformer that takes the standard find things and fight bosses format, but gives it a lot of unique twists. Basically, Alfred has to stop the Meka-Chicken from taking over the world while saving his friends in the process. Alfred can jump, peck, dive bomb and throw bombs, as well as use a variety of power-ups. There are five levels with a few stages each overall. Alfred has to navigate through all of them, finding balloons (which double as check-points if you die) in order to get to the next stage or the boss. Once you take out the boss, you move on to a bonus round where you collect presents before entering Mr. Peckles’ (the living flower) space lab. That should give you a basic idea. You can see some of it for yourself here:

So, how is Alfred Chicken overall? Well, I must say, this is one of the more entertaining platformers I’ve played. It’s really easy to get into, the controls are very responsive and it has a unique feel to it that makes it stand out from the basic game released at this time. It starts out fairly simple and gets quite difficult by the end, so even experienced gamers will have some trouble completing it the first several times. The one thing I really liked is that you can only access the good ending for the game if you have collected all four of the watering cans for Mr. Peckles. They’re hidden somewhere in each level, and take quite awhile to locate. If you find all of them and complete the fifth level you get the good ending, otherwise the game lets you know you didn’t complete it. The only real problem I had with Alfred Chicken in this department is that it’s the kind of game where once beaten it’s easy to complete again. After you get the hang of it, it’s no trouble at all to run through it, unlike a game like Earthworm Jim, where even after beating it it’s still tough to play through. But other than that I was very impressed with Alfred Chicken.

Alfred Chicken is definitely creative. While the plot may be somewhat generic, the gameplay, graphics and music are a different story. There’s a lot going on here that really pushes the envelope, which is a bit surprising if you consider that it came out when the NES was almost totally dead on the market. It has a lot of class to it, something that was lacking in many NES games by this time. I give it fairly high marks in this category.

As for game length, when you first go through it, Alfred Chicken can take several days, if not a few weeks to complete. That is, if you care to actually get the good ending. If you just run through it, it can take under forty minutes or so to comlete, so it’s surprisingly something of a short game. Therefore, I have to score a little lower in this category. Games of this type need to be a bit longer in my opinion, it almost feels incomplete in a way. This is especially true after you’ve beaten it, because Alfred Chicken is a total breeze to get through afterwards. Therefore, though it’s fun to play, I’ll probably wait awhile before I play it again since I can easily remember the location of everything.

Overall, though, Alfred Chicken is definitely a title that NES fans should check out. It’s kind of hard to find in comparison to other titles, even from this time, but it’s not too much trouble to locate and well worth it. It’s a fun, unique little game with a lot of charm that will keep you coming back, but may sit in your shelf for awhile after you complete it before you give it another go.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 7.6
Written by Stan Review Guide