Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck logo

Chuck and Ophelia do the wild thang and are blessed with a beautiful, bouncing baby.

Cavemen eh - who'd be one? The hours are long, conditions poor, wages low, and you can't even have a nice hot bath when you return home from slaughtering a Diplodocus for Sunday lunch.

There's no EastEnders, ten pin bowling, cinemas or kebab house, and the only form of recreational pursuit is to dress your kids up as plants and take them on how long they'll survive in the Brontosaurus pen.

It was into this cold and hostile world of just a few trillion years ago that Mr and Mrs Chuck and Ophelia Rock brought Chuck Jr - the heir to his father's newly built car manufacturing fortune. Yes that's right - the formerly gormless master of the belly butt has sharpened up his image since the closing sequences of the original game, and now finds himself as sole proprietor of the world's second largest car manufacturer.

Sounds good, and it is - but not for long, as the inevitable enemy (this time it's Brick Jagger, owner of rival company Datstone) takes it upon himself to make the Rocks' lives a misery by spiriting away Chuck and holding him to ransom for his company.

BRILLIANTLY ANIMATED
This is where the game begins, and through a brilliantly animated comic intro we see Chuck bundled away and his faithful son listening intently as the demands are made to Ophelia over the phone. Without further ado, the pint-sized cavebaby breaks through the constraints of his primitive playpen, picks up his dad's best club and sets off on his rescue mission.

Nothing you have read up to now is likely to have convinced you that Son of Chuck is a radically different and innovative concept - and it's not. As far as platform games go, they don't come with a much more traditional presentation than this; but it is the underlying quality throughout which sets it apart from other Good But Not Great efforts such as Risky Woods, James Pond and Core's own Doodlebug.

Junior isn't a particularly large sprite - I mean, he's a baby, after all - but he's animated perfectly, right down to the goofy toothless grin, and tantrums when all his energy is gone. Three luscious layers of parallax run silky smooth throughout the six main levels; combine this with the stunning colours and detail of the backgrounds and you have a game that really begins to show off the capabilities of the Amiga.

The first level is The Suburbs, and it's everything you'd expect from the team who brought us Chuck Rock, and more besides. It's broken down into three sub-levels, and features many of the items one might expect to find in a Stone Age town.

Also included is what Core claim to be the largest sprite ever seen on the Amiga - it's a huge dinosaur, and the feet and lower legs of which are visible, and it has to be avoided as it stomps across the screen.

All the levels are set out in a similar way to the first - apart from level two which contains a sole massive slumbering dino whose back you must make your way across in the face of an onslaught of unfriendly neighbours and overgrown insects.

Humour is the main ingredient of the game, and the expressions of many of your chagrined adversaries as they find themselves thumped or barged off-screen almost alone make it worth playing.

Look out too for the small dinosaurs, who when hit suddenly lose their disguises to reveal the slightly dazed dressed up caveman inside. Whereas Chuck Snr used his excessive stomach to fight his way to the captured Ophelia originally, Junior relies on the man-sized club to rescue his dad, which he drags doggedly behind him.

Some of the characters within the game are interactive, in that they will help you overcome certain obstacles. For instance, a long row of spikes on the third level is seemingly insurmountable until you enlist the help of a friendly giant ant who apparently doesn't mind taking a few sharp pokes in the botty.

MID-GAMES
The colour, animation and fluidity of movement on the level guardians is equal to anything Team 17 could offer, and just in case anyone should become fed up with the platform action prematurely, there are four mini-games within the levels to provide few extra chuckles.

It's difficult to fault Son of Chuck in any specific area since Core have given us an excellent sequel to a well liked game. As far as platformers go it has everything you could wish for and I for one won't be content until I've finished it legitimately.

Unfortunately this may be sooner rather than later, because despite the manic nature of the game, those determined enough shouldn't find it too much of a problem to guide Junior to the Datstone car plant.

Having said that, there are three difficulty settings to choose from, and the humour, colour, cuteness and fun - not to mention the tunes, some of which are very reasonable - mean that Chuck Junior is the worthy successor to his dad's titlle as King of the Cavemen.



Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck logo

Core Design's sequel to their dinosaur-ridden platformer is here. Sequel or mammoth rehash? Well if you can bear the puns, read on...

It's been a while since Chuck Rock's original prehistoric frolic, when he rescued his gorgeous wife Ophelia Rock (snigger, fnarr) from the clutches of the evil, Neanderthal, glam pop star Gary Glitter. Chuck's obviously found better ways to spend his time than coming up with appalling stone-related puns, though, because Chuck and Ophelia now have an heir to the family fortune.

'Hang on a minute', you cry in a Less Dennis-y sort of way, 'What family fortune?' Oh yeah. Well, dubious though it may seem, the brick-brained hero of Chuck Rock is now a respectable and comfortably well-off businessman, in charge of the Fjord (Fjord? That's not a kind of rock) motor company.

Life would be all wine and stone roses if it wasn't for the one blot on Chuck, Ophelia and Chuck Jnr's horizon, in the rotund and flabby shape of the aforementioned Gary Gritter. Gary is the head honcho of the Datstone (that's better) motor company, Fjord's major rivals, and he's deeply jealous of Chuck's soaraway success.

Chuck him
Now you might think that the best way to combat such a situation would be to work harder, design better and more innovative cars, capture a larger market share, moum a hostile takeover and give Chuck the sack (like any businessman worth his salt'd do)

But Gary hasn't got the patience for that, so he kidnaps his adversary instead and demands that Ophelia sings over the deeds of the company. Ophelia, being a woman, collapses in a fit of tears (of course), but Junior isn't about to sit idly by while his inheritance is stole away, so he smashes out of his playpen and sets off to mount a rescue.

Chuck 2 follows what it must be said is an extremely similar path to the original - lots of levels of mostly horizontally scrolling, platformy action with lots of cartoon-type baddies to clobber and some enormous, end-of-level dinosaur-related bosses.

Actually, I'd like to pause here and talk more about the bosses, because they're the most impressive the Amiga's ever seen. The bosses in Chuck I were very big and pretty (well, as pretty as prehistoric monsters get), but they were basically just large sprites with minimal animation which glided and twitched about in a not-particularly-special manner.

In Chuck 2 they really seem alive - different bits of their bodies move at different times, and more or less the entire bodies are animated in some way, with particular attention paid to facial expressions.

This facet of the baddies' personalities is put to good use in level three, which takes place entirely on the body of a giant dino ensconced in a lake. The 'boss' is in fact his head, and the mournful expression he wars as you attack makes you feel such a heel for clubbing him to death with your (er...) club that it's a real struggle with your conscience to continue.

Heart of stone
Still, continue you must ('The family's depending on you, young 'un!), and you'll have to harden your heart, because things don't get any less cute as you go along.

As with Chuck I, there's laughs aplenty - my faves are the evil dinosaur which, after receiving a few good swings of your club, breaks apart to reveal that it's actually a little caveman in a dinosaur suit, and the William Shatner-style wig-waring thug whose rug takes on a life of its own and attacks you independently when a hearty thwack separates it from its owner.

But, for all the impressive giant sprites and funny enemies, it's not all sweetness and fight for Chuck 2. While there have been a few refinements and enhancements made to the original gameplay, this is still just an update rather than a real sequel (taking 'real sequel 'to mean something which expands and builds on its predecessor, rather than rehashing it).

Players of the first game might well feel they'd be just as well getting out the original and playing it with a sheet of psychedelic-coloured cellophane over the screen to give the graphics a new look.

And while gameplay-wise the game is practically identical, and a bit faster to boot, it's also a deal more frustrating - there are some annoyingly tricky jumps, made tricky mostly by the imprecise collision detection as regards whether Junior is actually standing on a platform or not.

Lumbering dinos
The baddies, apart from the aforementioned bosses, are lacking in movement. They look groovy, but when it comes to attacking you, it's nearly always a straight walking-backwards-and-forwards-and-only-hitting-you-if-you-happen-to-get-in-their-way affair.

This makes much of the game a dull session of platform-climbing and relentlessly battering the fire-button to take care of anything which might cross your path.

There are other hazards to contend with, (falling rocks, giant snowballs), but since they mostly move too fast for Chuck Jnr's reactions to cope with, it's a cas of learning when they come, and keeping out of their way, rather than any kind of battle of wits.

Most of this is criticism that could be levelled at about 85 per cent of games, so let's not be too hard on Chuck 2. The main market for this game is going to be those who bought the first one. And if you liked that, this is, in almost every way, a tangible improvement.

Chuck 2 is simple, understanding fun that brings a smile to your face a sight more often than the average game, and any game that makes you happy is a game worth having a look at, at least.

Game-wise, Chuck Rock 2 is almost entirely unremarkable, but as an entertainment experience it's not too bad at all.



Steinzeit ist die schönste Zeit!

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck logo Amiga Joker Hit

Seit rund zwei Jahren zählt der bierbauchige Neandertaler Chuck Rock zur Plattform-Elite, jetzt setzt die nächste Generation zum Sprung an: Diesmal letzt Core Design den kleinen Sohnemann des Steinzeit-Rüpels durch die Prähistorik!

Vor allem durch seinen tödlichen Speck machte Chuck damals von sich reden - wer sonst räumt die Gegner per Huftschwung aus dem Weg? Mit solch einem wahrhaft wehrhaften Wanst kann Rocky Junior freilich (noch) nicht aufwarten, doch gegen seine dicke Power-Keule ist ebenfalls kein Kraut ge wachsen.

Gut so, schließlich hat der widerliche Brick Jagger den berühmten Daddy unseres Jungknüpplers entführt. Und ehe Papa nun mit alten Evergreens der Stones zu Tode gesungen wird, macht man sich schleunigst auf den Weg durch sechs umfangreiche und in Zonen unterteilte Landschaften...

Wie in jedem Jump & Run, das auf sich hält, kann der Hauptdarsteller hier nicht nur laufen, springen und kloppen; er hat mit seinem Prügel noch individuellere Fisimatenten auf der Pfanne. Haupteinsatzort des Holzes sind zwar die Schädel der diversen Feinde, doch es leistet auch vorzügliche Dienste als eine Art Balancierstange, auf die sich der Held stellen kann, um dem bodennähen Ungeziefer zu entgehen.

Daneben steht aber auch Mutter Natur ganz auf Seiten des Prügelknaben: Bisweilen kreuzen Lianen den Weg, mit deren Hilfe weite Abgründe im Stil von Tarzan überwunden werden, fleisch fressende Pflanzen spücken Papis Retter hoch in die Luft, und Spinnennetze dienen als Trampoline. Dann stehen noch Hydranten herum, die man nur aufzuschlagen braucht, um mit einem säftigen Wasserstrahl die Gegnerschaft komplett vom Screen zu waschen.

Und weil das zwar viel, aber längst nicht genug ist, werden Riesenameisen als Reittiere misbraucht; Wasserschildkröten bahnen den Weg durch stürmische Meeresfluten, und Steinbeisser karren Felsen heran, aus denen sich anschließend eine Brücke bauen laßt.

Ihr ahnt es schon, neben Geschick ist bei diesem Spiel auch eine Portion Knobelinstinkt gefragt. In Massen gilt das sogar für's überwinden der vielen kleinen und großen Gegner. Apropos, wer seine Gegner am liebsten groß und am allerliebsten bildschirmfüllend hat, der kämpft bei Chuck Rock 2 goldrichtig - was sich hier jeweils am Levelende an Schlüßmonstern einfindet, sprengt nahezu alle Dimensionen! Mal stapft ein Dino vorbei, dessen Pränke allein schon etwa dreimal so groß wie das Spielersprite ist, dann reckt sich eine schlecht gelaunte Mega-Echse mit enorm beweglichem Schlangenhals empfor, später gilt es, in der Unterwasserpassage gegen einen Oktopus im King Size Format zu bestehen.

Und an witzigen Gags wurde erst recht nicht gespart: Da klettern Mini-Saurier aus Müll-tonnen und eiern dann mit dem Deckel auf dem Kopf durch die Gegend, Primaten verabschieden sich nach der Holznarkose mit einem verblüfften Grinsen vom Screen, ein schwitzender Spatz schleppt Riesenfelsen durch die Luft, und vollbusige Steinzeit-Damen setzen ihren vorlastigen Charme gekonnt ein.

Doch so späßig die Kontrahenten auch aussehen mogen, selbst verstehen sie keinen Spaß - jede Beruhrung zehrt unweigerlich am Energievorrat des Protagonisten. Zum Ausgleich liegen gelegentlich Milchflaschen und Extraleben zum Aufsammeln bereit, um die Nahrstoffversorgung bzw. das Weiterkommen zu sichern.

Klar, das ist in diesem Genre so üblich, genau wie die versteckten Geheimpassagen, die es zu entdecken gilt. Aber die zusätzlich eingebauten Bonusgames gehen dann schon etwas über den Rahmen des üblichen hinaus, selbst wenn es sich dabei nur um kleine Geschicklichkeitstests handelt, in denen man etwa einen Dinosaurier mit Äpfeln füttern muß.

Alles andere als üblich ist die technische Umsetzung all dieser Ideen, denn trotz der feinen Parallax-Effekte klappt das multidirektionale Scrolling absolut soft und sauber. Die Backgrounds sind von vorne bis hinten bunt, detailliert und abwechslungsreich gestylt, zu dem bringen ab und an Zoom- und 3D-Routinen Hightech-Feeling ins Spiel.

Das Intro ist ebenso sehenswert wie Musikbegleitung und Sound-FX hörenswert sind, zumal jeder Level mit eigener Akustik aufwarten kann. Auch an der ausgefeilten Steuerung gibt's nichts auszusetzen, lediglich die fehlende Zweitlaufer und HD-Unterstutzung druckt ein bischen auf die Handhabungsnote. Daß keine Highscores gesaved werden, ist ebenfalls nicht ganz die feine Steinzeit-Art, genau wie der eklatante Mangel an Extra waffen und das streckenweise etwas langatmige Leveldesign.

An einem Hit fur Chucks Spoßling führt aber dennoch kein Weg vorbei, denn alles in allem weiß der Sohn nochmal eine ganze Ecke besser zugefallen als seinerzeit der Vater. Somit spielt Chuck Rock 2 bereits jetzt in der gleichen Liga wie Plattform-Perlen a la "Fire & Ice", "B.C. Kid" oder "Lionheart" - auf die angekündigte Spezialversion fur den 1200er darf man mit Recht gespannt sein! (rl)



Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck logo

Prehistoric platforms! It's One Million Years BC, and time to rock your baby.

One of the sad things that I have to admit about my education is that I'm much more clued into the disposable, flossy side of popular culture than the more refined, dignified bit that's considered much more worthy and that parents send their children to expensive public schools to acquire.

I can, for instance, sing long to the opening credits of Top Cat (apart from the line after "close friends get to call him TC," but who in the world knows that one?), but when it comes to the lyrics for 'Carmen' or 'The Marriage of Figaro' or even 'Hello Dolly' for that matter, I really don't have the foggiest. Unless of course they've been used in an ad campaign.

With my brain inundated by this trash culture, with the most important Bill and Ted in my life being neither Shakespeare nor Roosevelt, it's hardly surprising that when I've been playing Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (hereafter referred to as SoC), I've found myself singing the Flintstones theme tune, which is, I suppose, a good indication the game promotes a fun and frolicy atmosphere of cartoon capers and humorous stone-age based antics. Well, I think so.

SoC takes place some time after the end of the original Chuck Rock - based on the age of the infant concerned I'd say about 18 months later. Ol' Chucky, you may remember, spent most of his time going 'Unga-bunga' while he threw rocks at dinosaurs and belly-butted his opponents into submission.

However, since his victory over the evil Gary Gritter, he's turned into not just a successful businessman, but also a father. Chuck's been building cars, and his Fjord (oh dear) motor company is now a rival to the world's biggest car producer, Datstone (oh dear) which only happens to be owned by the aforementioned Gritter chappie.

Several particularly poor igneous-and-sedimentary-related plans later, we discover that Chuck's been kidnapped and Gritter's demanding that his wife signs over the deeds of Fjord or else. This demand comes in the form of (yet) another rock gang, when an inscribed stone slab is hurled through the window - tied to a brick. Needless to say, no son of Chuck's going to take this sort of criminal pressure lying down.

So the game's all about getting daddy back and, just like the original, you've got to haul Chuck junior's bod through all manner of obstacles in numerous horizontally-scrolling levels.

"Oh yeah," I hear the more cynically jaded of you out there exclaim, "that sounds like Chuck Rock. In fact that sounds suspiciously like any of the hundreds of cute, scrolling platform games that have flooded the games market and limited the choice for us, the Games Players Of The World."

Well, loath through I am to admit it,you may have a point, in Computer-Land the chances are that if you threw a brick off a building, you'd kill at least seven cute platform games and no one would even stop to look. Platformers are so numerous because they're so popular, and if you loved the original then I'd say you're going to love this one. Okay, so it's pretty derivative, but what the heck, it's great fun.


Cartoon capers and humorous stone-age antics

Before the game gets bogged down in a general discussion about the merits and problems of platformers as a game genre, I'll cut back to the Son of Chuck.

Graphically, SoC excels, with all manner of cute goodies, baddies and incidental characters, and some monstrously huge dinosaurs that are so lovable that you get a lump in your throat and an oppressive feeling of guilt when you first hit them.

Junior starts off in the caveman suburbs which is where the inevitable Flintstone comparisons are at their height, with suitably cavemanised cars and all manner of Bedrock-esque items littering the screen.

There's also what must the hugest creature ever to feature in an Amiga game, so big in fact that you've only got enough time to check out its toe-nails and knees before it's flattened that fat bloke (who cops it on nearly every level) and strutted off the screen.

Junior is a miniature comic masterpiece, with goodness knows how many frames of animation. He wobbles along as he drags a huge club, yells as he swings, balances on the club to avoid ground attacks and throws a real tantrum every time he loses a life, complete with tears and ground beating.

All this care and attention to detail is thankfully spread over the entire cast of characters. There are sharks, surfing green dudes, and the added bonus of Mr Wiggy, whose dislodged mop is quite capable of going on independent killing sprees. There are even some politically-incorrect chesty caveBabes who perform what can only be described as a bust-attack on the started infant.

Any nasty that takes a few hits to dislodge invariably gets redrawn, so when you bash a small dinosaur and discover it's a guy in a Godzilla suit, he loses first his monster head, then his entire suit, which leaves him embarrassingly naked. Oh how I laughed. No really, I did. I think little touches like these are what raise slick products like this from normal, dumb, run-of-the-mill platformers.


Plenty of falling rocks and flames

From the suburbs, you spend an entire level on the back of a huge purple Nessie-type monster, clubbing at flapping dish and pterodactyls, and taking time out to avoid being drowned by perching on the feet of a huge bird. Then it's through jungles, waterfalls, a few pretty stunning volcano levels, up and down a cliff face and finally into the Datstone car plant to face the last few bad guys and have a tearful reunion with Pa Rock.

All this adds up to about 16 levels, which doesn't sound that many compared to games with hundreds of screens, but there's plenty of variety within each location. In the volcanic section, for instance, the first level is a straightforward platform section, with plenty of falling rocks and flames, while on the second level you have to set Junior's club on fire. Why? You just do. Okay?

Finally, level three has Junior frantically climbing a tree as it rapidly descends into molten lava. At the top of this there's another one of the now famous huge monsters. See? Comic fun a-plenty.

As well as all these variations, there are also a few subgames thrown in. Usually these are pretty second-rate affairs that seem to have been added because there was some space left on the disk, but these are actually good.

Not good enough to stand on their own, that would be too much to expect, but they perform the task required of them - to provide a bit more variety. There's a river race which is one of those 'waggle the joystick very quickly' things where you hope the race finishes before the joystick disintegrates in your hand.

Later there's my personal favourite where you knock apples out of a tree soa dog can eat them. If you manage it in the time limit, you're rewarded by the dog going green and barfing all over the place, which appealed to my sense of humour, then finally there's a carving section. You know that bit in Street Fighter II when you have to trash the car within a time limit? Well this is the same, only you've got to carve a stone block into a statue by finding the sequence of bashable lumps.

Okay, so it's summing-up time, and a quick glance below will show you that all's well in the world of Chuck Rock II. By their nature, platform games tend to be a bit samey, but there's enough little touches in this to make you laugh, cry or go through a plethora of human emotions. A big three-handed thumbs up.


SURVIVAL OF THE CHUBBIEST

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
This dino may be cute, but he's also a bit to big to pick on poor little Junior who, he's soon to discover, is a tad tougher than he looks...

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
A few meaty smacks about the face and neck, and the purple nasty's pretty hacked off, with plenty of plasters, a black eye and months of expensive dental bridgework ahead of him...

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
But no self-respecting soon-to-be-extinct oversized reptile's going to take this sort of abuse without dishing some out. Take that, you horribly cute and precociously violent pink infant.

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
This attack comes too late though, and a final bash finishes the big guy off, leaving him to tell his pals down the boozer that there must have been ten of 'em, and apply for dentures.

BIODIVERSITY A-GO-GO

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
This little dino rivals junior in the cute stakes, and also runs pretty fast too, bless its stumpy legs.

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
A sharp crack on the head will roce this critter quite literally to stick his neck out on your behalf.

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
Looks can be deceiving. This huge Venus Fly-trap turns out to be a decent guy spitting you out.

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
Flexing his pecs, this bemuscled bimbo gives you a bunk up.


THE CRYING (PART OF THE) GAME

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
Anyone with their own infant, or kid brother or sister, will recognise the tell-tale trembling of the bottom lip that preceeds a wobbler of colossal magnitude.

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
Next up in the baby-tantrum sequence is all that embarrassing and noisy moaning and wailing that generally happens in the pet-food aisle at Tesco's.

Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck
Finally there's the sulky stage, which is usually overcome by promising the infant sweets and cuddle. It's up to the independent Junior to sort himself out and carry on.



Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck logo

After the belly-bumping antics of Chuck Rock, the prehistoric boozer returns for some more platform fun. Only this time he's had a son. Tony Dillon goes clubbing.

After defeating Gary Gritter at the end of his first adventure, Chuck has settled back to a life of luxury and success. With his developed mechanical skills, he shot right past the wheel and fire and any other major inventions and created the 'Rock-Et', the world's first car. Chuck was an instant hit, and quickly became one of the richest men in the world as owner of Fjord Motors. But that success was instantly topped by the birth of Chuck Junior.

NEVER EASY
But things aren't all rosy (are they ever?), as Chuck made a lot of jealous enemies on his meteoric rise. One sunny afternoon, two hoods enter Fjord Motors with a proposal from Brick Jagger, of rival company Datstone, to buy Chuck out. Naturally he refuses, wishing to keep his son's future safe. On his refusal, he is bundled out of the office at gunpoint and kidnapped. Ophelia is too overcome to do anything about this, so the only person who can rescue Chuck is... Junior!

The game itself is a scrolling platform escapade like the original, in which Junior must toddle from left to right bashing baddies, leaping over spikes and generally causing the same kind of havoc that 18-month-old babies usually do. It's all set over six huge levels, with four sub-games played out in between, so there should be enough there to keep you playing for a while.

From loading you are treated to an excellent animated intro, which leads onto the main menu screen. Here you can choose the difficulty level the game plays on, which affects the strength of your attack, the strength of the enemy and the complexity of the puzzles. On the easiest level, the traps and problems are marked with arrows, making puzzle solving far simpler.

Select your difficulty level, and it's straight off to the prehistoric suburbs for some serious clubbing. Naturally the first thing that hits you are the graphics, and initially, to be honest, they look a little messy. Obviously, there are multiple levels of parallax, and it goes without saying that there are dozens of colours on screen at once. That doesn't really help the fact that straight off all you can see is a large green expanse, but it doesn't take long to get used to it, so that's alright.

ADORABLE
Once you've adjusted to having a layer of parallax scrolling in front of the main character, you can begin to appreciate the superb character animation. Just the main sprite alone is bursting with personality. Check the scowl as he crouches in the bushes. See him scream a battle cry as he leaps heroically into the fray. Watch his lip wobble as he runs out of energy, before throwing himself on the floor in a screaming tantrum (just like our wonderful Editor). He's just sooooo adorable! (Unlike the Ed.)

As I've said, you start the game in the suburbs, which are little more than thick forest areas with people running around. Right from the start the humorous side to the game is apparent. Longhaired cave-people attack you, disguised as dinosaurs that leap to one side with their hands hiding modesty when you hit them, whereas others have killer wigs which come after you once you've attacked the owners. It isn't particularly bellylaugh inspiring, but there's enough to raise a chuckle.

From the Suburbs you move onto the back of a huge brontosaurus, then to the jungle, over a waterfall, a volcano, down a cliff face and finally into the offices of Datstone motors, where you have to rescue your daddy. Each of these levels is large, somewhere between eight and 32 screens each, scrolling in all directions. At one end you have definite start position, and at the other is an exit flag. All you need to do is get from one side to the other without dying, which is a lot harder than it sounds.

If you like, you can walk along the ground, but the bonuses and other toys are to be found in less accessible places, so it's worth the effort to take more obscure routes through the levels. Secondly, there are quite a few traps waiting for you. Spikes are the most common, waiting to spear you. Most of them are just lying around, easy to spot and just as easy to get over. Others, though, involve a little more thought. Some stretch along for half a screen, giving you no chance of leaping over them. This is where the puzzle solving element of the game appears.

A LITTLE HELP
If the gap is too large to jump, look around for something to aid you. In the original Chuck Rock, Chuck could throw boulders around. Junior isn't strong enough to do the same, but he can whack them along with his oversized club. These can be knocked onto the spikes to make stepping stones, or placed near high platforms to act as stairs. Who would have thought that stones could be so versatile?

Not that stones are the only way to solve problems, of course. There are a variety of other helping hands along the way, such as small dinosaurs who will let you ride them across levels, or a plethora of different springboards, ranging from squids to strongmen, who will throw you into the air allowing you to reach higher platforms.

Chuck Rock 2 features some of the largest enemy sprites ever seen on the Amiga. Half way through the first level, a pair of legs stomps across the screen, and god help any one who gets in the way. If you've already played our coverdisk demo, you'll know how huge Dan The Dinosaur is, and that's nothing compared to the Brontosaurus that takes up the entire second level. Playing Chuck Rock 2 is a lot of fun, even after the humorous elements have worn off. Using the club is an immensely satisfying form of attack - there's nothing to match the crunching of bone as you bring a well-timed hunk of wood down across somebody's head. Gosh, that sounds violent!

All things considered, though, Chuck Rock 2 is really nothing new or special. Don't get me wrong; it's a really good game. Fast, playable and fairly addictive, but there just doesn't seem to be enough to it to really keep you entertained for any great length of time.


IN BETWEENING

In between each of the levels is a sub-game, just to add that little extra variety to the game. After level one, Junior comes across a giant apple tree, and suddenly feels compelled to knock the apples off the branches. The more he knocks, the higher the points! After level three, Junior races against an upturned Turtle in the Chuck Rock River Race. A waggler from start to finish, this should tire you out enough to slow your progress on level four.

Survive level four, and you get a carving lesson, whereby you have a carve of a statue of Daddy from a lump of stone by smashing it with your club. Finally there's the Dinosaur and Cart race from the cliff face to the car plant, where Junior is attacked from all angles as he races along the back of a cart drawn by a donkey-like dinosaur. How's that for variety?

A1200 FUN

At the moment Chuck Rock 2 if fully compatible with the A1200, but get this! Later on in the year Core will be releasing a A1200 specific version! This new improved Son of Chuck will feature more colours! More enemies! More fun in general! Watch this space.


Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck CD32 logo CD32

Chuck Rock, the original rock basher on the Amiga, was a huge hit on its release and was subsequently converted across to other formats because of its instant appeal. Chuck Rock II seemed a logical, cash-earning idea and continues in a similar vein of presentation and game style.

Featuring the club-swinging love child of Mr and Mrs Chuck Rock, the plot revolves around the success of Mr Rock with his car building and subsequent kidnapping by failed arch rival automobile manufacturer, Brick Jagger.

The player controls Junior's attempts to rescue his father over a series of platform-based levels. The title begins with a highly impressive cartoon sequence that echoes back to the days of the Flintstones with resounding accuracy.

Core Design seem to be one of the few companies that actually know how to construct a highly effective, imaginative and well told animation.
After seeing the story, it certainly whets the appetite for the following game, as Junior smashes his way out of his cot with a toy club to embark on the arduous quest, while his mother runs round the room screaming (in true sexual stereotyping form).

The platform action is based over six different levels with numerous zones and there are also three sub-games for extra gaming spice. Guide Junior through the various obstacles, smashing dinosaurs and natives round the head, destroying rock walls for bonus points and picking up life-giving baby milk.

Starting in the Stoneage suburbs, your travels take you across jungles and ocean-dwelling dinosaurs to murky waterfalls with sea-spitting octopusses.
The attention to detail is very high with some refreshing novelties, such as being able to ride on the backs of freed dinosaurs and even large crane-like birds. If you come across a gaping hole with spikes at the bottom and no apparent way of getting across, look for a rock that can be belted across with your club to acts as a bridge, or whack a lazy lizard so that its neck sticks out across the abyss.

One of the minor, but extremely handy and thoughtful inclusions is Junior's loss-of-life routine. Instead of dying and restarting straight away, the player is able to lie low wailing his eyes out until, with the appropriate press of a button, he can be reactivated after the danger has long since waddled away. It may sound small but it shows that thought has gone in to the game design.

The sub-games are an interesting addition to the action as well. In the first one, ride on the back of what appears to be a dog and knock apples from a tree. The canine must then eat them all before the timer runs out. Graphics and sound are up to the usual high standards of most Core games, with an impressive array of tunes and colours adding an appealing edge to the title.

The end of level dinosaurs are superb looking and, coupled with the lush parallax scrolling, make the title look as if it just rolled off a Super Nintendo or Mega Drive. That, alas, is where Chuck Rock II's main weakness lies.

With the likes of Sonic and Mario continuing to hold the crown of platform excellence, the likes of Junior and his amazingly versatile club pale in comparison.

While attention to detail is extremely high, there is still a feeling of repetition running through the game - the same ideas crop up again and again but in different guises and the lack of any interesting power ups or extra features relegate looking for secret levels to that of a secondary concern.

From what I've played, there was nothing that mde me leap up form my seat in genuine excitement and want to see more. The novelties mentioned earlier are just that - they're fun while they last but you don't come away feeling as if you stumbled across anything particularly new.

Needless to say, while Chuck Rock II may not have the intangible addictivity of its rivals, it's still a fun and polished platformer that offers a healthy fix for any platform fanatic.

ON the other hand, if you're looking for a platformer that can sell the CD32 in bucket loads the way Sonic did for the Sega machine, then this simply isn't it. Roll on Chuck Rock III with a strong female lead.

71%


Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck CD32 logo CD32

More prehistoric antics are on offer in the platform/puzzler Chuck Rock 2 - Son Of Chuck (Core Design, 0332 297797, 29.99, 79 per cent) which opens with an excellent animation recounting a tale of love, jealousy, revenge and car manufacture. Chuck has been kidnapped by evil rival, Brick Jagger and Chuck Junior must negotiate six tricky levels in order to rescue his Dad.

It's simple enough fare; bright cartoony graphics and many an enemy to clobber with your club - and check out the huge end-of-level bosses. However, it is quite similar to its predecessor and the gameplay becomes a tad repetitive after a while. But heck, it's entertaining.



Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck CD32 logo CD32

Das richtige Timing ist alles: Gerade haben die "Flintstones" im Kino das Steinzeitfieber wieder kräftig angeschürt, da scheucht auch Core Design seine Neandertaler-Sippe (zurück) auf die CD-Plattformen.

Wie beim bereits auf CD erhaltichen Vorganger informiert ein Comic Intro über die Hintergrundgeschichte - dies mal ist der putzige Zeichentrickfilm noch langer ausgefallen und besticht durch schönere Animationen sowie eine glasklare Sprachausgabe.

Dann ist zu erfahren, daß der bierbauchige Ur-Macho Chuck inzwischen Karriere gemacht hat: Er erfand das Automobil, wurde stolzer Vater sowie stolzer Fabrikbesitzer und scheffelte Kohle bis zum Abwinken.

Doch ruft der Erfolg auch viele Neider auf den Plan, darunter den Tunichtgut Brick Jagger. Er laßt den vermögenden Geschäftsmann entführen, um ein saftiges Lösegeld zu erpressen. Und so tritt Sohnemann nun in die Fußstapfen seines Papas (der ja ernst die gekidnappte Gattin Ophelia befreien mußte), schultert die Keule und macht sich daran, Daddy in sechs mehrfach unterteilten Levels zu suchen...

Trotz ihres verhaltnismaßige schlichten Aussehens sind die Einsatzmöglichkeiten der klassischen Neanderthalerwaffe hier überaus vielfältig. Mit dem Zahn stocher a la Brork werden nämlich nicht nur aggressive Saurier aus dem Weg geräumt, der raffinierte Knüppel dient zugleich als Fackel, versetzt Felsbrocken oder macht den Weg zu boniggefüllten Gängen bzw. Räumen frei...

Außerdem kann Junior sogar daran hochklettern, um so rollenden Felsbrocken und anderen Gemeinheiten auszuweichen. Bis weilen dienen ihm auch kleine Dinos oder Riesenameisen als Reittiere, Trampoline, spuckfreudige Pflänzchen und Muskelmänner sorgen für ungeahnte Höhenflüge des wehrhaften Wickelkindes, und fallengespickte Abgründe überwindet der Mini-Tarzan mit Hilfe von Lianen.

Auch sonst muß man auf die genreüblichen Features nicht verzichten: Fette Endgegner finden sich ebenso wie (drei) Bonusspielchen, in denen z.B. zu Fütterungszwecken Äpfel von einem Baum gekloppt werden.

Bloß das Sortiment an Sammelobjekten ist etwas spärlich ausgefallen, denn außer punkte trachtigen Bonbons bekommt man höchstens mal ein Extraleben oder ein energiespendendes Milchflaschen zu Gesicht.

Am Gameplay hat sich somit gegenüber der Disk Steinzeit rein gar nichts geändert., was auch für die kunterbunte (und deswegen manchmal leider etwas unübersichtliche) Grafik gilt. Aber das flüssige Parallaxscrolling und die hinreißenden Animationen wären sowieso kaum zu verbessern gewesen.

Das kleine Kerlchen bekommt man mit dem Pad jedoch einen Tick leichter in den Griff also anno Stick, und neben den hörenswerten Sound-FX ertönen jetzt groovige Musikstücke von der CD.

Selbst wenn der Zahn der Zeit inzwischen also schon ein bißchen an dieser witzigen Plattformkosst genagt hat, der junge Chuck gehört immer noch zum Besten, was uns die Digi-Prähistorie hinterlassen hat.



Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck CD32 logo CD32

Core Design, £29.99
Amiga version: 82% AP24

Not many of this month's games actually change month in the trip to the CD format but Chuck Rock 2 is at least with the addition of the best intro sequence we've seen so far. It's neat and cartoony and Core have obviously employed some kind of proper actor tod o the voice-over instead of just using the managing director's mum, as usually seems to happen.

It's a fab intro, but I can't quite spot what Cam saw in this slow, stickily-controlled, uninspired platform game first time round to award it an uncharacteristically generous 83%. He doesn't even like cutesy platformers, you know. Some of the big dinosaurs are nicely animated, but that's hardly enough in the style-conscious nineties, is it?



Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck CD32 logo CD32

CORE DESIGN OUT NOW £14.99

As the title suggests, the lioncloth clad Neanderthal, Chuck Rock, has been passed over for the sequel to the popular Amiga platformer in favour of his much cuter son. Chuck Junior's his name and clubbing's his game and we don't mean the get down and boogie variety either. Junior's got to rescue his pa from the filthy Brick Jagger and to do this needs to swing his way through the jungle to the bad lad's lair.

The caveman kid starts each game with a full baby bottle of energy and when it's empty he loses a life. Simple stuff, but thankfully, if you lose one of those precious lives, you can just continue where you left off and not have to go back to the beginning. Junior may look as cute as apple pie, but you'll notice that he comes complete with a rather hefty club. As you'd imagine, he can give out a fair old bashing with the weapon, but it also serves to protect the tot too. By pulling down on the pad you can balance the baby on top of the club, thus avoiding certain monsters that cant touch him at this loftier height.

In fact, there are a whole host of controls that are not at first obvious to those of us who prefer to use game manuals to rest cups of tea on, rather than read them. Junior can swing the club high to attack low flying dinos, he can leap on the back of some monsters who'll carry him safely forward and he can even jump on ropes and vines and swing like a veritable Tarzan across the screen.

The graphics are pretty dreamy, with six different scenes comprising of scores of varying zones. Junior can interact with some backgrounds by bashing them with the club and move rocks across the screen. This enables the youngster to move boulders over spikes and get over obstacles unharmed. There are quite a few surprises in store for the adventurer, with nice graphical touches including cavemen dressed up in dinosaur suits that disrobe as they get hit and huge walking dinosaurs that take up most of the screen.

What with all the different club antics, including a feature that allows Junior to set the club on fire to illuminate parts of a map, there's enough variety to make this quite an attractive romp. The sluggish Amiga cartoon intro has been speeded up to make one of the finest intros ever - the CD32 version finally does justice to the brilliant animation. Chuck Rock 2 is now a well recommended purchase.