Here's another relic from that brief golden age when the Atari ST and 8-bits were fading into the sunset, consoles were but a grey cloud on the horizon and all the best games were developed with the Amiga foremost in mind. And dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Well, it wasn't quite that long ago, but it's the Jurassic age that forms the backdrop to this classic, described by Amiga Power as "Super Mario Brothers meets the Flintstones." You guide the Neanderthal caveman Chuck as he attempts to rescue his implausibly lovely wife from sinister kidnapper Gary Gritter. In practice this involves negotiating a series of dinosaur-filled platform worlds that are broken up into shortish scrolling levels and punctuated by the occasional boss-stage.

Standard fare then, but two factors raise Chuck Rock above the mediocrity of the crowd:

1) The quality of the presentation. Core really did wring the most from the A500's limited palette to create some superb cartoon graphics, unfortunately the CD 32 version isn't any different from the floppy version except for the two button handling. The "sprites" are large and full of character - you can't help but smile when you see Chuck's grumpy knuckles-dragging-along-ground gait, or a self-important looking reptile waddling up and down. The scenery is equally attractive, featuring tropical swamps, caves etc, with amusing touches like middens of dinosaur excrement and smashed eggs.

2) The degree of interactivity with the surroundings. Littered about each level are large rocks that can be picked up and used for a multitude of purposes. You can throw them at enemies, pile them on top of each other to reach high platforms, use them as stepping stones to cross swamps, to shield Chuck from falling stones and in catapults that throw him upwards.

Chuck can also kill baddies with a high kick or a bizarre
wobbling motion of his ample belly. Not every creature is there to hinder your progress; pterodactyls can be persuaded (by kicking) to lift you to inaccessible areas, and you can hitch a ride across rivers on the backs of friendly monsters.

This variety of actions gives Chuck Rock depth and foreshadows the trend towards total freedom seen in modern games. 

NB. Chuck Rock can now be *legally* downloaded in ADF format from
Back to the roots.


Innovative as the gameplay is, it gets a little repetitive after a while (a charge than can be levelled at most platformers), and the design of the later levels is noticeably less inspired than at the beginning. All the same, damn good fun for half an hour or so.