Cute, colourful, and a lot of fun, Alfred Chicken is a scrolling platform game developed by Twilight and published by Mindscape in 1993.
The game starts out easy, but by the third level you’ll be tested by more challenging puzzles and trickery. Alfred Chicken is not quite a kid’s game, even if it looks like one.
The basic aim is to take Alfred through a variety of colourful, themed levels, looking for exit doors, gems, and other items. The exit doors take you to other, connected levels, and can sometimes be a bit of a maze. In fact, from the second level onwards you are forced to search around for your objectives. Balloons can be found dotted around the maze; pecking one of these acts like a waypoint if you die. At the end of each level, though, is a final balloon that takes you to a bonus stage where Alfred has to collected presents for extra points. Disappointingly, there don’t seem to be any boss fights.
A variety of animated nasties patrol the levels and Alfred‘s best approach is to completely avoid them, because contact with any will result in the loss of a life. Same goes for spikes and other hazards which introduce themselves as the game progresses.
Alfred can’t kill the nasties directly, but can pick up a temporary spinning flame that will destroy them if hit by it. He also has a ‘peck’ move (for breaking blocks and pushing buttons), and a ‘dive’ move (for breaking blocks vertically). Alfred‘s real weapon though is his jump, which is excellent. Holding down fire after reaching the apex of a jump will also make him float down slowly, which must be used to navigate some of the tougher sections of the game.
Alfred Chicken is nicely designed and is graphically appealing. The music is good too. But it is the excellent control system and feel of the game that still marks it as worthy today.
Note: the game got a bit of a kicking when it first came out, which I think is unfair. While Alfred Chicken is no Super Mario World – and is not what I would call a ‘hardcore’ platformer – it is still beautifully made, with precise controls and is playable and fun. You can’t ask for more then that (well, maybe you can, but that’s not the point). 🙂
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