Chip's Challenge logo

Publisher: US Gold Price: £19.99

Canachronism in its own time. This is the type of puzzle game being released in quantity, not quality, half a decade ago. But fear not, imagination and programming skills have grown during those five empty years and the multi-level puzzle game is back with a bang!

Chip's life was incomplete. He would wander aimlessly about the corridors of his school, his mind full of images of his heart's desire, Melinda.

Some saw Chip as a dreamy character, while others perceived a greater depth of emotion, an inner turmoil of sadness and despair. Nobody knew of Chip's secret aspirations for Melinda, and as far as he was concerned, nobody would ever know. He could never imagine that Melinda would even look at him.

One day, however, the love of his life actually approached him. After recovering from the shock, Chip's imagination switched into overdrive and little red hearts began to float before his eyes. Amid feelings of intense passion and thoughts, he could hear Melinda talking softly to him, explaining that she wanted Chip to join the Bit Busters, an exclusive computer club that she was involved with.

Chip accepted the offer with some glee, but there was one final barrier. To become a club member, he had to complete a special challenge set before him. This had been split into a number of tasks but essentially, the aim was the same. Chip's challenge was to collect all the microchips that had been discarded about various locations.

At first, Chip thought that the task ahead was not really a problem. In fact, he found it relatively easy. It was only later that he realised the complexity of the problem. A lot of logic and puzzle solving was required, and although he was by no means unintelligent, Chip discovered just how much brainpower was needed for seemingly simple scenarios.

There were many times when Chip wanted to return home and forget the challenge, but the thought of being with Melinda in the club, spurred him on. Did Chip eventually succeed? Well, it is your responsibility to ensure he does.

Here endeth the lesson in fantasy history!

Your job is to guide Chip through the many and varied levels obstructed by a vast array of obstacles and nasties. By collecting certain objects you will be able to bypass water and fire barriers. To open the many doors throughout the game you will need the right coloured keys to unlock similar coloured doors.

There are also small creatures and other moving objects that won't attack Chip, but should he walk into their seemingsly innocent path, they will have absolutely no compunction in disposing of this earnest little fellow.

The controls are simply up, right, left and down. As Chip is a rather shy and placid character, he does not wield battle axe or possess a gun, dagger, or any other type of fiendish weapon you may care to think of. He must, therefore, dodge any oncoming projectile or nasty for if he does not, he will have to begin the level again.

Fortunately, each level has a code number so when starting a new game, you can begin again at the level to which access had previously gained.

Chip's Challenge is a delightful and refreshing change in the chase for bigger, better and more complicated games. The graphics and sound may not be the best you are likely ever to see on an Amiga, but the gameplay will have you coming back for more, time after time.



Chip's Challenge logo

US Gold * £24.99 Joystick

Peer pressure can be a powerful thing. Take young Chip McCallahan for example. He will do just about anything for Melinda the Mental Marvel, climb high mountains, slay dragons and... er... join her computer club.

Who Ya Gonna Call?
Unfortunately, membership of the "Bit Busters" computer club is highly exclusive and extensive tests must be undergone before anyone is allowed to join. But one day while Chip is innocently eating his lunch in the school cafeteria, Melinda sits next to him and offers him the chance of becoming a member of the Bit Busters. Naturally he says "Yes!".

This is where the gameplay begins. Chip must complete a sequence of nine tutorial missions. These are just to get him into the swing of things before he goes on to the more complex levels. The game takes the form of an overhead-view maze game, with Chip having to collect a set number of microchips before finding the exit. Unfortunately, the chips are hidden in fairly inaccessible locations, with a series of puzzles needing to be solved before they can be collected.

Obstacles such as water channels, icy floors, balls of fire and creepy bugs must be encountered along the way, but with a quick mind and a quicker bit of joystick wielding and Chip can win through.

The puzzles are easy to complete on the first few levels, but as soon as you hit the more complex stages then things get a mite more difficult. Trying to work out the route through the mazes and sussing out how to use the objects you find is pretty enjoyable and should keep those who are into a bit of mental torture playing for quite a while - especially as there are over 140 levels to complete!

The graphics are not exactly outstanding and the tune could become a tad annoying after a while, but do not let that put you off having a go.

Chip's Challenge is just the thing to while away the cold winter evenings - just watch that you do not end sitting there all night and keep on playing so as "just to beat this puzzle", otherwise your family will probably get rather annoyed with you!


TOOLS OF THE TRADE
One thing you have to master in Chip's Challenge is how to use the various objects. Quite often keys are not the only way to get past a blocked path!
Chip's Challenge: Keys KEYS - open the relevant coloured door, but can only be used once.
Chip's Challenge: Magnet MAGNET - allows Chip to walk freely on moving floors.
Chip's Challenge: Ice Boots ICE BOOTS - allow Chip to walk on ice without slipping.
Chip's Challenge: Water Shield WATER SHIELD - lets Chip wade through water without fear of drowning.
Chip's Challenge: Fire Shield FIRE SHIELD - provides Chip with a rather useful asbestes suit.
Chip's Challenge: Dirt Blocks DIRT BLOCKS - just the thing to bridge water, blow up bombs and deflect the odd nasty!

Chip's Challenge logo Amiga Joker Hit

Am Lynx hat die packende Mischung aus Denksport und Geschicklichkeit längst Kultstatus, jetzt ist der kleine Chip auch auf der "Freundin" unterwegs. Ein vorprogrammierter Hit?

In der Redaktion herrschte seltene Einigkeit: Wenn bei der Umsetzung keine größeren Schnitzer passiert sind, steht uns ein game ins Haus, auf das wir Amigianer schon lange warten! Warum? Nun, hier geht es einzig und alleine um Spielbarkeit, Grafik und Sound sind absolute Nebensache (und erreichen auch tatsächlich nicht einmal ganz Lynx-Niveau).

In 144 Leveln muß Chip unter Zeitdruck jeweils eine bestimmte Anzahl von Computerchips einsammeln, will er die Aufnahmeprüfung in den "Bit Busters Club" bestehen. Dabei gilt es haufenweise Logik-Puzzels zu lösen, Gegnern auszuweichen, Labyrinthe zu erkunden, Fallen auszuschalten, Brücken zu bauen, und vieles mehr. Leben hat Chip übrigens unendlich viele. Jeder Level spielt sich anders als der vorangegangene, mal ist Köpfchen gefragt, mal Geschick. Und meistens braucht man beides!

Die Leveln steigern sich wohltemperiert im Schwierigkeitsgrad, die ersten dienen nur zum Aufwärmen und bieten spezielle Felder, die das Prinzip erklären. Animation und Scrolling (ein Level ist mehrere Bildschirme groß) sind eher durchschnittlich, wichtiger ist, daß die (Stick-) Steuerung stimmt - und das tut sie. Chip's Challenge ist eines der fesselndsten Spiele überhaupt, ein naher Verwandter von "Castles of Dr. Creep" aus vergangenen 64er-Tagen. Gäbe es noch einen Zwei-Spieler-Modus, hätten wir uns schon fast die Einführung eines Megahits überlegen müssen...! (ms)



Chip's Challenge logo

Originally developed for the Lynx handheld machine, Chip's Challenge finally makes it onto the Amiga. You take control of Chip, a nerdy-looking guy, who is besotted by Melinda, the Mental Marvel, and desperately wants to join her computer club, the Bit Busters. To do so, he is set the task of completing 144 levels of one of the most frustrating and addictive puzzle games to appear in recent months.

The play area is a maze-like area in which our hero has to find and collect a number of computer chis before he can move on to the next level. It is not as simple as it sounds, however, as to contend with hidden chips, spinning fireballs, bug-eyed monsters, anks and rampaging sets of false teeth like the ones you can buy from a joke shop.

If that was not enough, special keys have to be collected to enter doorwatys, and blocks have to be moved to cross rivers. There is also thieving bar stewards who will nick all the chips you have collected so far. To make matters worse, there is also a time limit on each level.

The first eight levels act as tutorials and give an idea of what to expect in later sections. After completing each level, you are given a password to access the level later on if you want to skip those you have already completed. Even if you cannot complete a level, do not worry! You will be given the choice of playing the level entirely and move on to the next challenge.

The puzzles start off easy, but get progressively harder. It may not look much from the screen shots, but the playability and addictiveness of the game more than compensate for the poor graphics and sound.



Chip's Challenge logo

US Gold, C64 £10.99 cassette, £15.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

Chip McCallahan isn't the most likely of high-tech heroes. Nerd of the first order and TOTAL computer addict, Chip has a problem with computers, namely he can't get enough of them. With computers on his mind 23 hours a day (with 1 hour to recharge his batteries) Chip has little time for the real world and girls, Melinda the Mental Marvel being the only source of his admiration in between hacking. When Melinda came up to him in a café and offered him membership to the exclusive Bit Busters computer club, well, Chip jumped at the chance to join (and to get the chance to discuss the intricacies of interfacing with Melinda as well).

To join the club, Melinda set the challenge for Chip to work his way through 144 of the most intriguing, brain-bending, hair-tearing, mind-boggling puzzles devised for computer freaks. Chip's task begins relatively easily with a number of 'lesson levels' showing him the ropes and introducing objects to use to overcome obstacles. On most levels our silicon saviour has to collect a number of chips and then find the exit. Coloured keys are the basic objects to pick up and are used to open correspondingly coloured doors while switches activate sliding doors, deactivate fireball-making machines and push deadly tanks into safe positions.

The problems really start piling on with the arrival of fire, water and ice hazards. Fire and water can only be safely negotiated when Chip holds the relevant shield, while without spiked boots ice is very slippery! There are also one-way conveyor belts - disabled with a magnet. Water can sometimes only be crossed by pushing dirt blocks into it to build a bridge. Some levels are divided into sections, linked by teleports. And to really throw a spanner in the works, there are thieves around who are quite willing to relieve Chip of all the objects he carries.

If Chip really gets stuck then a question mark tile found at the level start can be stood on to give a cryptic clue towards completing the level. A password system allows Chip to restart on any level reached go far.


Phil King A typically compulsive Lynx game, Chip's has been faithfully converted on both machines. But don't be put off by the tiny C64 play area, or the rather simple Amiga graphics: it's the incredibly addictive action that matters. 144 well thought-out and extremely varied levels (plus five hidden ones!) provide a huge, enjoyable challenge - with the password system avoiding the frustration of level repetition. Some of the levels are incredibly devious, requiring a great deal of logical thought to get past the various hazards. Others are simply a race against the clock. Chip's is so much more than the simple maze game it first appears to be: it's a veritable box of puzzling delights that will fascinate and keep you up on many a winter's night. This is one challenge you' can't afford to ignore.
Robin Hogg Atari Lynx games are few and for between but those that are around are excellent, including Chip's which features same incredibly complex puzzles and, of course, fiendishly addictive gameplay. A good intro with the chips falling into place to form the name bodes well and the game doesn't disappoint with codewords and messages from Melinda every 10 levels. In keeping with the Lynx original, the graphics are tiny but at least they're colourful, small but varied. Also the screen display is very small to avoid showing too much of the maze but during play I was so wrapped up in the problems of each level that I didn't really mind this (the Amiga version gets round this with a status panel and slightly larger graphics). Stuff the mediocre graphics, it's the structure of the game that makes it work so well.
Learning the game's mechanics and principles through the start-up 'lesson levels' draws you in and by the time you've mastered these and are ready to move onto the real challenge, you're hooked. Totally addictive stuff.