Alfred Chicken logo

Take control of the fowl on the prowl in Mindscape's latest cluck-tastic egg-stravaganza. Let's find out whether Alfie's a prime Bernard Matthews bird or a sparrow's ankle.

What can you say, we've all had Ninja ants from another dimension, frogs with superhero-caped powers, fish that are secret agents and now a bloody chicken. Life in the ever-surreal computer industry gets stranger still.

It's got to the stage now where this reviewer is no longer surprised when the nutter sits next to him on the bus asking if you've seen his camel, because you probably have. You just nod and exclaim "donkey", without so much as a shrug of the shoulders.

What some would describe as hallucinations are passed off as normal day-to-day occurrences. A six foot squirrel? No worries. A crocodile in a morning suit? Doesn't rise a second glance. But a chicken called Alfred who enters a by-election?

Why is it called Alfred? TO me that seems an odd name for a chicken. Never mind the fact that this chicken had political aspirations - why Alfred? Chickens are called Clucky or Chucky not Alf. At the end of the day however, if we spent all day pondering over such dilemmas then nothing would get done and we'd all end up with friend brains, so without further ado let's get into the plot.

The plot's very simple. The Meka-Chickens have whisked off with Billy Egg and his brothers. The sole purpose of their fiendish egg-napping is to carry out their devilish cloning experiment.

Only one man - well, chicken - can save the eggs, and that's Alf. As the only feathered friend with a bionic beak, Alf has to battle through 11 levels of platform mayhem.

As Alf pecks his way through the various levels he is rewarded for his bravery. For instance, releasing all the balloons on each level takes the feathered one to Mr Pekle's space lab where he is given extra points.

Also, if Alfred keeps a beady eye out and collects a hundred of the may bonuses which lie around, Mr Pekle rewards him with an extra life.

Not only does the tandoori'd one have bonuses to aid him, there are a series of devises to give him a hand. Springs, for example, propel Alf to a higher part of the stage - when he uses these you could call him a spring chicken (ooh, rotten egg joke - Ed).

There are also buttons to peck which access other parts of the level, and ice blocks which can be pecked for similar outcomes. Unfortunately for Alfred, there are also quite a selection of enemies within the employ of the Meka-Chickens and most of them are pretty nasty. These include underwater whales, a Jack-in-the-bomb who fires bombs out his mouth, a bitchy ladybird which can't be trusted and a whole host of others.

Looking on the plus side, Alfred has a fair few power-ups of his own to collect. Keep your eyes open for a can o' worms which gives Alf a spinning, monster-killing worm, and wrapped-up presents which make the breasted one invincible for a while.

Of course we can't forget Alfie's own bionic beak which, when put into peck mode or use in a nose-dive, is very effective against the foes.

As platformers go, Alfred Chicken ranks quite highly. He's definitely in the size-one-free-range ranking. The graphics are slick, well-animated and cartoony rather than cutesy.

There's also a fair splattering of humour clucking around. For example, when Alfred meets an untimely roasting at the hand of the Meka-Chickens he explodes into feathers which then proceed to float to the ground.

Alfred Chicken has a great deal to offer gamers whether platform fans or not. It's for better than most of the average chicken-run-of-the-mill stuff that gets pumped of us daily. No-one can excuse the silly name, but don't be put off - it's a well-polished egg-stremely addictive title that'll have you crowing and clucking until dawn. It's a rooster.

Alfred Chicken
  1. Score
  2. Number of balloons to collect
  3. Bonus time remaining
  4. Number of diamonds remaining
  5. Number of Alfreds remaining

Alfred Chicken logo

Now, there is a storyline behind this plucky platformer, but like most games of this ilk, it is all rather irrelevant - all you need to know is what gets you points, what to collect, what to kill and what to avoid if you do not want to be killed.

The fact that you are a chicken called Alfred who is on a mission to save Billy, his brothers and your female feathered friend Floella from Meka-chickens who want to use them in cloning experiments is interesting but does not explain the cheese, baby, wood, glass, book and sci-fi themes of the different worlds.

Clucking great
Like all platform games, this one sees you jumping around (or should I say flapping) trying to collect items, in this case diamonds, for Floella, to score extra points.

Why this chicken has such an uninspiring name as Alfred (apologies to all Alfs out there) I do not know, but the developers or marketing people must have had their reasons. Anyway, being a chicken, Alfred has quite a few unique moves. When his enemies - grimacing mice, sly snails which try to disguise themselves, or spinning ladybirds - sneak up on him, jumping up and then pulling down on the joystick ensures that Alf is in full fast-moving pecking motion and when he hits his target, it will be destroyed. Forget to pull down, however, and he is left as a cloud of floating feathers and it is back to the beginning of the level.

Alfred's beak also comes in handy for pecking buttons, bursting balloons, cracking through ice blocks and turning TV sets on and off so he gets to 'Mr Personality' (pity he has not got more of one himself). Waggling the joystick swiftly makes Alfred's wings flap feverishly as he slows down his descent.

Now that you now what makes this chicken tick, it is on with the gameplay. There are 11 levels with five worlds and the final Sci-fi level. The first few levels are easy and a touch boring. However, the activity increases as the levels progress, although there is still a lack of challenge in the air because no matter how many or how few diamonds you keenly collect or how many balloons you burst, you can still get to the Sci-fi level when you finish the one you are on. Even when you nip through one of the doorways in each of the worlds and enter a 'secret' room, there is nothing very secret or interesting going on.

Get stuffed
Alfred does have some nifty moves, but the lack of control spoils the fun. The good thing about this game are the big and bold background graphics, and that is about it. Being Alfed Chicken really is not much fun. It is just lots of bouncing and jumping around without really getting anywhere.

The levels are small and require very few brain cells to get through them, and the details, control and feel of the game leave you wishing you had not bothered picking up the box in the first place. Released just in time for Christmas, Alfred is not so much a chicken but more of a turkey.

Alfred Chicken logo

Mario, Sonic, Zool und James Pond - eine Company, die auf sich hält, muß heutzutage einfach ihr eigenes Plattform-Maskottchen haben! Also hat sich Mindscape jetzt einen knuddeligen Action-Gockel zugelegt...

Es ist aber auch zum Federnraufen: Kaum herrscht mal Friede, Freude und Hühnenfutter im Plattformland, da entführen die bösen Meka Chickens Billy und seine Brüder! Wer ist Billy, wer sind seine Brüder? Das weiß selbst die Anleitung nicht so genau, für den tierischen Heldne sind die Jungs jedenfalls wichtig genug, um eine Geiselbefreiung zu wagen.

Zu diesem Zweck hüpft das tapfere Federvieh im folgenden durch elf (nochmals in Abschnitte unterteilte) Levels voller Fallen und Feinde, sammelt Diamanten, Luftballons oder Bonusextras ein und legt sich ab und an mit besonders dicken Endgegnern an.

Soweit unterscheidet sich Alfred kaum von der Genre-Konkurrenz, allerdings tritt er seinen Feldzug für Recht, Ordnung und Plattform-Spaß fast unbewaffnet an. Zunächst werden hinderliche Eisblöcke also nur mit dem Schnabel zerpickt bzw. Feinde im Sturzflug attackiert; erst durch Aufsammeln von Marmeladen-Munition oder Schutzschilden wird das pazifistische Geflügel zum wahren Kampfhahn.

Daneben finden sich noch Sprungfedern und Raketenlifts für Flüge in höhere Regionen, außerdem müssen des öfteren per Schalter Steine an- bzw. ausgeknipst werden, um den Weg frei zu machen.

Durch die kleinen Rätseleinlagen, die Schwimm- und Flugübungen und den ausgewogenen Schwierigkeitsgrad ohne unfaire Stellen ist also für schön abwechslungsreiches Gameplay gesorgt, wie sieht es bei der Technik aus? Auch hier alles in Butter: Die bunten Spielzeug-, K|ase- oder SF-Landschaften scrollen soft in alle Himmelsrichtungen, die Gegner (Schnecken, Stachelkugeln, Elektrowale etc.) stehen dem drollig animierten Hauptdarsteller kaum nach, wenn es um süßes Aussehen geht.

Musik- und Soundkulisse können sich hören lassen, die Steuerung offenbart keine Mängel, und Nachladepausen sind gottlob Mangelware.

Für einen Hit reicht es trotzdem nicht, dazu hätten die Programmierer mehr Tempo und neue Ideen ins Spiel bringen müssen. Das soll jedoch Plattformfans mit A500/600 nicht von der Bekanntschaft mit Alfred Chicken abhalten, lediglich Besitzern eines A1200 oder CD32 sei (noch) etwas Zurückhaltung empfohlen - ihnen serviert man das Hendl nämlich schon bald in extrabunten Spezialmenüs! (rl)

Alfred Chicken: Vote Alfred Chicken

Was tut ein frischgebackener Digi-Held nicht alles, um aus der Masse der Kollegen hervorzustechen? Nun, Alfred hat sich zur Wahl gestellt! Ehrlich, als letztens im britischen Parlament ein Stuhl neu zu besetzen war, meldete Mindscape die Alfred Chicken-Partei zur Kandidatur an - und errang beim Urnengang tatsächlich 18 Stimmen! Für einen Platz in der Regierung war es zuwenig, für einen erfolgreichen Werbegag mehr als genug: Alfred Chicken machte dicke Schlagzeilen in allen bekannten Tageszeitungen und Nachrichtensendern Englands!

Alfred Chicken logo

Finger-lickin' good or just another platform turkey? You decide.

Imagine you're a programmer, and you're writing a cute platform game. Probably the first thing you'll want to do is decide on a character to centre it on. Someone to do all the running about and collecting things. So, go on then - choose a character. (Huh? Er Who, me? Lethargic Reader). You'll need to decide what he (okay, or she) will look like, how he'll be controlled, and a bit about his personality. You could do some sketches if you want. Give yourself about five minutes.
Right. Time's up.

Now, I'll bet any money that you've picked either (a) a sort of amorphous blob with big eyes (in which case you have little imagination and may play no further part in this experiment), or (b) an animal of some sort. Say, a gerbil. What you won't have chose, I'll wager, is a person.

But that's not what concerns me. After all, people all look pretty much the same in the genealogical sphere of things, and it's very hard to make a platform game stand out from the crowd if it's got a person in it. You've got to give him a football to kick about or something.

Animals, on the other hand, are distinctive. As long as you pick one that no-one's done before - that gerbil, for example - you'll have a game that people will remember simply because it's got a gerbil in it. And getting him to look like a gerbil couldn't be simpler. Some brown fur, a pair of beady little eyes, and he's made.

But the point is, if I'm anticipating you correctly, that he's unlikely to behave much like a gerbil. He may well walk around on his hind legs, for instance. He'll be wearing clothes - probably jeans, plimsolls and sunglasses, the way things are these days. He might even talk. What he won't do, however, is spend much of his time eating toilet rolls, or asleep in his nest. He won't spend ages and ages fruitlessly trying to dig a hole in the corner of the screen, or chewing at the bars above his head, even though he knows there's no chance of escape. There might be a few token sunflower seeds for him to collect, but that'll be about it. In fact, while he might look superficially like a gerbil, he'll actually act more like a person. A gerbil-shaped person.

And that's what's so refreshingly different about Alfred Chicken. Alfred not only looks like a chicken, be he also behaves like one. He struts about, rather than walking. He pecks at the ground to activate switches and things. He can jump quite high (something that chickens have to do to reach their perches in the evening).

He can't fly, but he can flap his wings a bit to slow his descent. He can do these really neat power-dives at baddies, ending up with the beak sticking in the ground and his legs up in the air. He looks all sort of small and inconsequential. And, best of all, he's got that brainless, completely out-of-it look about him that chickens have.

The best game character I've seen for ages

Tiresome publicity-seeking election stunts aside, Alfred's just about the best game character I've seen for ages, and if it wasn't for him I don't think I'd be nearly as keen on his game as I am.

Technically, though, Alfred Chicken (the game) is hardly cutting-edge stuff. You'll search in vain for parallax scrolling, gigantic end-of-level bosses, or more than about ten colours on the screen at once. Instead we're given flat, primitive graphics that lend the game a very peculiar, abstract feel - which is nice in a way, as it makes Alfred look even more lost and out of place, and you even more determined to help him out. Comical music also helps towards the surreal atmosphere.

There's never an awful lot to do, either. On each level (they're small, four-way scrolling jobs, and there aren't very many of them) you've got release a certain number of balloons by biting through the strings that attach them to the ground, and collect diamonds for bonus points, but that's about it.

The skill's all in jumping about avoiding baddies and trying to remember where you're meant to be going. There are a few puzzley-type bits involving switches and things, but not many.

Alfred himself is great, then, but his game's merely middling. I was never itching to see what came next (one level's pretty much like the next anyway, with only the scenery changing to provide a selection of hackneyed gaming environments), but I was quite happy playing it, watching Alfred wander quietly about, I even smiled gently each time Alfred got killed and exploded in a cloud of feathers. (Er, that's to say that he exploded, not me).

I could easily find a place for Alfred Chicken in my Amiga games collection, just not very near the front.


Alfred Chicken
A chicken lived on Hilltop farm,
Keeping all the hens from harm.
For years he'd pecked his life away,
The same routine after day.

Alfred Chicken
Then one day he heard a sound, Looked up and saw, miles from the ground,
An aeroplane, high in the sky
And said, "I might give that a try."

Alfred Chicken
With the pluck that impulse brings,
He clicked his heels and spread his wings.
A run, a jump, and up he went,
Airborne thrills his sole intent.

Alfred Chicken
Up and up the chicken soared,
His chicken mind quite over-awed.
But as he rose a thought occurred:
A chicken is a flightless bird.

Alfred Chicken
Down and down our hero fell,
And down crashed all his hopes as well.
He flapped his wings and vainly clawed,
At the air that past him roared.

Alfred Chicken
And so, before too long, he found,
his beak embedded in the ground.
"Oh well," he sighed, "if that's too hard,
I'll stick to scratching round the yard."

Alfred Chicken logo


There's something about the mind of a platform game designer that's warped. After all, what sane person could possibly come up with a plot like Alfred Chicken. The Meka Chickens have come from outer space and eggnapped Billy and his brothers. They've even taken the fluffy Floella. You, under the guidance of Mr. Peckles the sunflower, must go and rescue them. Weird.

Of course, it's a platform game, and like so many other Amiga platformers, it taps its head in the direction of Mario/Sonic and anything else that has been remotely successful on console. Although platform games have come along in leaps and bounds, this game, however, adds nothing new to the genre. Sure, it's playable enough, but name a recent platform game that wasn't?

Each level has a different theme, as usual, but your aim is always the same - to rescue Billy and the gang. To get through the levels you must release the balloons that are connected to air supplies. When all the balloons have been let go, the last one carries you off screen to Mr Peckles' lab in the sky. Hold on, this is getting silly again!

If you think the plot is weird, then why not take a look at some of your opposition: snails that grow spikes, or have vertical firing cannons mounted on their backs, and whales with high-powered machine guns. There are even a few neurotic bombs to contend with! These, though, can never match up to the might of the Meka-Chickens. After every three levels, you are blasted into space and placed in your Meka Buster ship for a manic shoot out against the huge and badly drawn super enemy. This is probably the most active part of the game.

Alfred Chicken is, as I've said a playable platformer, but it does suffer from a couple of problems. The biggest has to be your mode of attack. Like all platform titles you kill the bad guys by jumping on them. However, you have to hit them head first, by leaping into the air, and then diving onto them. If you miss, they can just walk into you, killing you instantly. Needless to say, this can be very frustrating.

Also, Alfred doesn't move very quickly. Although he is beautifully animated and designed to the point where you just want top him up and cuddle him, he just can't get out of the way of the faster moving enemies. For example, if you jump and discover something is bearing down on you, you can rarely move him out of the way in time, so you are killed on contact and returned (annoyingly) to the point of the last-released balloon.

Alfred Chicken had all the makings of a classic platform game, but sadly a few niggles have left the gameplay slightly irritating.

Alfred Chicken AGA logo AGA

Da die Spezialversionen für Commos Junior inzwischen oft schon parallel zur Normal-ausführung kommen, wird auch diese Rubrik immer dünner: Drei Nachzügler (Alfred Chicken, D/Generation & Simon the Sorcerer) können wir diesmal noch anbieten!

Auch Mindscapes hüpfendes Federvieh mit dem großen Schnabel jagt am 1200er immer noch durch dieselben Plattformen: Alfred bereist Käse- Spielzeug oder SF-Szenarien und sammelt Diamanten, Luftballons und andere wichtige Dinge ein, welche die Programmierer dort vergessen haben. Um sich seiner Gegner zu erwehren, darf er dabei des öfteren im todesmutigen Storzflug anrauschen, weil die alte Friedenstaube anfänglich ja nach wie vor unbewaffnet durch die Gegend flattert.

Während die Änderungen beim Gameplay also gleich Null sind, entdeckt der prüfende Blick auf die putzige Optik eine leicht verfeinerte Farbgebung. Erfreulich auch, daß man für die fröhliche Viecherei bloß noch 69 Eier legen bzw. anlegen muß. Wir hingegen bestehen trotzdem unverändert auf unseren bereits ausgeteilten 72 Prozent. (ms)

Alfred Chicken CD32 logo CD32

Mindscape, £25.99

Here's a CD32 title that I like! OK, so it may have just been converted from the 1200 and added a few graphic enhancements and a superb soundtrack, but hell I don't care. Not all CD32 owners will like, I guess it's just a case of personal taste!

It's got a top-notch bizarre story, though! The evil Meka-Chickens have kidnapped Billy Egg and his brothers for their terrible cloning experiments.

As the world's only chicken with a bionic beak, you play the part of Alfred Chicken and are whisked off to a multitude of weird lands to pluck your friends from the clutches of the Meka-Chickens.

Cluck your way through 11 trans-dimensional (err!) levels facing evil and treacherous beasties such as Byron the Snail (hmm, maybe not that evil then), Mag-Mine (excuse me?) and the Terrasawus (do not ask!).

Beat the Meka Chickens, snatch the eggs back and go home and, err, that's about it! Alfred Chicken is a bizarre little game from Mindscape which contains a good mixture between puzzle and platform action.

The graphics are big, bright and quirky and the soundtrack is a delight to the ears. The gameplay is just about right, appealing to kids and adults alike. Shell out a few quid for mindscape's cluck-'em-up - it's finger lickin' good.

Alfred Chicken CD32 logo CD32

Mindscape International * £25.99 * Out now

Good name is Alfred. There is The Great, the Roberts from the corner shop and the er, Chicken. Not content with inspiring the name of a political party at the last General Election, the Alfmeister clucks on to CD, wings proudly flapping and ready to solve the world's problems.

Apparently, the Meka-Chickens have kidnapped (eggnapped, as amusingly told in the manual) William and his brothers as well as some bird called Floella and are intent on using them in cloning experiments. Thus, with feathers ruffled you (The Chicken) must put all your eggs in one basket and flap off on a barnstorming, platforming rescue mission. Alf's beak ensures you are well up the pecking order as you burst balloons, jump on baddies and collect bonuses.

The graphics are big, bright and bouncy although the sprite can be tricky to control and you do not get to do a great deal of interesting things. Rather dull platform fayre.

Alfred Chicken CD32 logo CD32

Daß neue Eigenentwicklungen für den Neuzugang in der Amigafamilie einen eigenen Test bekommen, ist Ehrensache - daß wir hier kurz und bündig CD-Umsetzungen älterer Progis (Alfred Chicken, Lemmings 1 & Sim City) vorstellen, ist Tradition!

Nach Plattformstars wie "Zool" oder "James Pond" dreht sich nun auch Mindscapes knuddeliges Actionhendl am CD Spieß.

Das Gameplay hat man dabei 1:1 von der Diskversion übernommen; es gilt, bunte Spielzeug- oder Werkstatt-Szenarien zu durchhüpfen, Feinde mit dem Schnabel beiseite zu picken und allerlei Bonusgut aufzuklauben. Die Gegnerattacken sind stets fair, für Abwechslung sorgen Schwimmabschnitte und kleine Puzzles, für große Augen die aufgebbohrten Präsentation: Die Musik kommt direkt von CD, der Grafik hat man ein paar zusätzliche Farben sowie einen parallax scrollenden Hintergrund spendiet.

Optik und Akustik gefallen also eine ganze Nummer besser, und das Optionsmenü mit einstellbarer Anzahl der Continues und Highscore-Tabelle ist überhaupt neu - genau wie unsere Wertung von nunmehr 76 Prozent. (rl)

Alfred Chicken CD32 logo CD32

Mindscape, £25.99

This takes the prize for the month's most-improved-on-the-CD32 game, with the addition of some pleasant parallax-scrolling backdrops that were not in the rather sparse-looking A500 version, as well as the usual CD soundtrack and 256-colour graphics.

Otherwise it is the same limited-but-likeable platformer that it always was, but, as with Zool, the backdrops somehow give it a much more grown-up, complete feel and make it tangibly nicer to play, so I am going to bump up the marker a little bit.

Alfred Chicken CD32 logo CD32 CU Amiga Screen Star


Who knows why Mindscape chose a chicken as a hero, but it obviously worked, with this game becoming one of their biggest sellers of '93. Alfred is a bit brighter than your average chicken - cut his head off and he won't run around spraying blood everywhere. So, when his mates are kidnapped by the evil, robotic Meka-Chickens, he sets out to rescue them and destroy all other enemies of chicken-kind.

The graphics are reminiscent of Robocod, but fortunately the game doesn't play the same way. Alfred is a totally bizarre character and unlike any other platform game star. To dispose of his enemies, he has to drop beak first on top of them, which as it happens, is quite a tricky manoeuvre. To make things easier you can collect a pot of jam which, for some reason, outfits Alfred with a supply of bombs which he can lob at his enemies.

Like the A1200 version, the graphics are really excellent, with neat, colourful sprites and some very smart levels. But what really makes the game a winner is its overall quirkiness. Collect watering-cans to gain extra lives, open a can of worms to get a shield, and balance on pop cans to reach higher platforms. It is not all leaping and killing though, there are puzzles to be solved, bonus games to be played and secret rooms to be found. Altogether these elements make Alfred Chicken completely addictive and totally weird.

One of the best platform games out on CD and, like Arabian Nights, it's an essential purchase.