If you had to name your top ten cutesy platformers, I can bet that you'd scribble down Chuck Rock as one of your favourites. Chuck Rock, which was created by Core Design, was a playful romp through the prehistoric ages.
The game's graphics shone about. They were drawn in a very cartoon-like style, but still managed to look good on the monitor screen. The animation was top-notch and you found yourself displaying cheesy grin after cheesy grin at the slapstick antics of Chuck and his enemies.
Mr Rock proved to be a big seller for Core Design, and they are pinning their hopes on their next game to do the same. Wonder Dog is a conversion from a certain console machine called the Mega CD (hence the name!), but don't let that put you off!
This is the point of the review where we turn into Jackanory for a few brief paragraphs. Are you sitting comfortably children? Good, then I shall begin.
General Von Ruffbone and his loyal army of vicious dog troopers are sweeping, achieving total galactic domination in their wake.
As the enemy approaches the tranquil planet K9, a young pup is hastily injected with the top secret "wonder" serum and launched into space in a bone capsule.
Crashing to earth light years later, Wonder Dog must mature and develop his fighting skills by completing the seven perilous levels, gaining the required combat skills and defeating adversaries in order to return and save his planet from annihilation.
That concludes Garner Jackanory for today, but'll we'll be back next week with the second part to the story, to be read by top TV funny man and game show host Les Dennis...
The action starts at Bunny Hop Meadow. The meadow is full of green pastures, clear skies and crystal blue waters and this is where Wonder Dog must begin his basic training. On this first level our doggy chum is plagued by all manner of dangerous creatures. Fluffy bunnies, swooping ducks, spiky hedgehogs and wily foxes are all out to stop him in his prime.
The pup with the floppy ears must collect as many of the bonuses and power-ups as possible in order to increase his score and more importantly gain extra lives.
On his "walkies", Wonder Dog will find various items that he can pick up. These include wings for energy, jewels that will give him extra points, bones (if he collects 100 he will gets an extra life), whirlwinds for short-term invincibility and smileys which reveal hidden platforms that lead to secret bonus levels.
Wonder Dog is a good little platformer, but is by no means a classic. The graphics are magnificent, wonderfully drawn and well animated. The mid and end-of-
The tunes are heavily loaded with a tremendous bit of bass playing and at no point do you feel like reaching for the volume switch to turn it down. Actual in-game sound effects are very sparse, but those which are in there are more than sufficient.
Wonder Dog is going to be one of those platformers that will either interest or infuriate you. Some gamers might not like the control system because as times it's quite finicky and you seem to fall off platforms through no fault of your own. The controls for me though were just fine and simply added to the challenge of the game.
Core's platformer is extremely hard and the later levels are not for the faint-
So in the end, recommended for dedicated platform followers only, which is a shame because this is the best looking platformer I've played in ages. Maybe with a bit of extra thought placed in the gameplay department it could've appealed more, but it turns out nothing more than an average romp.