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Chickin Chase

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Released: 1987

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Firebird

Submitted by: Andrew Masters

Chickin Chase was not a great, but it was certainly a unique game. You play a father chicken who has his run of the chicken coop. Your job is to generate as many chicks as possible by mating with the mother hen (who needs to be caught, and lives behind the curtain next to the bell in the middle of the screen). You can enjoy mating with the mother hen for a long time in one go, but understandably this makes your father chicken rather tired… he will then move really slowly and jerkily, and even seems to be acting drunk (you really have to see this to believe it!).

You can eat grain for food, and thus regain energy and stamina for future running about and mating.

Once the mother hen has been mated with, she will climb up and lay her eggs in the nests above. From time to time the chicks hatch, and will then make their precarious slow way down to the curtain in the middle of the screen (the bell animates and rings each time a chick goes behind the curtain, and the score is boosted up). The game is very nicely animated with a kind of bip-bop ditty playing constantly in the background, and sounds for different things (mating and so on). Think of the music and effects in Booty and it is the same.

There are four entrances where all kinds of animals enter from (such as weasels, hedgehogs and squirrels). They will try and steal the eggs and even just eat the chicks (which will make the mother hen angry, and she will then peck you, and even hit you with a rolling pin!). You can peck all the animals, and they will then go back through the entrances, or at least will retreat to the floor (in the case of more serious predators).

This was a French game and is typically unusual and weird. The real skill is in mating enough with the mother hen, protecting the chicks, and getting enough food. Mate too much and you will be tired and unable to protect the small army of chicks that will inevitably follow. You also need to feed yourself and hover near the entrances whenever you can, so you can peck the predators when they enter (they will then leave quickly). Lose too many chicks and it is game over.

Great memories.