At a Glance: In my entire life, this is the second time I’ve played a sidescroller that starred a bird. The first was Road Runner’s Death Valley Rally for the SNES, which was actually a pretty good game. Alfred Chicken strays slightly from the “pretty good” category, sinking like a dead seal through the ranks of quality to end up somewhere in “whole body-explodingly bad” territory. They say a good game is greater than the sum of its parts, and Alfred Chicken helpfully proves the inverse – take a bad game where each individual component is aggravating by itself, combine the parts in the right way and you end up with a product that makes you want to sandpaper your head off.
Platform: SNES (Download Emulator here - 395k)
Download: Download ROM here - 728k
Game Plot: Eggs have been disappearing like crazy in the wild and wacky town of Pecklesville! As we watch in horror, giant eggs with eyes are snatched by an unseen kidnapper while in the midst of some very un-egglike activities, such as diving and mowing the lawn. Enter our hero Alfred Chicken, who doesn’t look like a chicken so much as the miniaturized bastard offspring of the Red Robin mascot. Alfred strikes fear into the hearts of eggthieves everywhere with his wide arsenal of special moves, such as:
Oh shit! LOOK OUT, MISTER EGG!!
That about sums up ol’ Alfred’s bag of tricks. You stumble around from level to level solving simple switch puzzles and trying to make it to the end without touching an enemy and exploding in a puff of red feathers, and there’s a riveting subplot involving watering cans and sunflowers. The graphics are bland and boring, but they’re not especially terrible. The music is another story.
You know how some games have really bizarre music themes that don’t fit the game at all? The first time I played Marvel vs Capcom 2 in the arcade and heard the phrase “I’m gonna take you for a ride” twelve times while picking my team, followed by some annoyingly upbeat light synthesized jazz, I took a moment to wonder who the hell thought the game really needed music that you could hear by dropping acid and sitting in a dentist’s office. Naturally my 12-year-old asian opponent took advantage of this moment to obliterate my entire team with a 400-hit Hyper Assist Team-Up Twisting Double Reverse Behind-the-back Extra Creamy Super Combo, but at least I learned a valuable lesson about companies choosing completely random music themes for their games. I forget what it was.
That is one fucked up moon.
I was reminded of Capcom’s arbitrarily chosen soundtrack when I got a whiff of Alfred Chicken’s awful music, which consists of a repeated ten-second loop of some grossly inappropriate computer-generated circus music composed by a hyperactive clown who shakily opened his trial version of Cakewalk and started pasting in random notes after snorting lines of crushed gobstoppers. The music starts at the “obnoxious” level and rises to “infuriating” after about 40 or 50 repetitions. I muted the game around the 400th repetition, shortly after the music had caused a vein in my forehead to swell up, burst and send a highly concentrated stream of blood through the wall and into the neighbor’s apartment, destroying a bookshelf and lightly injuring a chihuahua. At least Marvel vs Capcom 2 has an excuse for having a bad soundtrack, since every fighting game whose title doesn’t start with “Guilty Gear” has shitty music. But when you make a bad sidescroller and you don’t even try to take the Squaresoft approach of distracting people from the terrible gameplay by writing good music, it’s a pretty good sign that nobody on your team has any talent and you’re all going to die choking on your own bitter tears.
Enemies: The enemies were clearly chosen not to kill you, but to embarrass your stupid chicken ass until you quit playing. The enemies are all based on toys, and when you play a game where you get killed repeatedly by bouncing blue balls and wind-up rats, it makes you want to quit and take up a more productive hobby, like armed robbery.
Weapons: Your only real weapon is your beak, which reaches about two inches. Alfred can also use the previously mentioned dive-on-face maneuver to gloriously sacrifice himself for the cause, which would be impressive if the cause wasn’t just to rescue a bunch of fucking eggs.
Number of Levels: I tried to force myself to go all the way through this game. I really did. I made it as far as level 16 before the combination of college finals and a three day windstorm-induced power outage ensured that poor Alfred would never see the end of the game. After seeing how long the levels were I guessed that the game would only have seven or eight levels, but boy was I wrong.
Number of Bosses: None within the first 16 levels. And judging by the fact that the people who made this terrible game must despise all humanity, the final boss will be somewhere around level 82 and a single hit from him will make the game kick you back to level one and start screaming racial slurs at you.
Defining Moment: The defining moment comes very early, when you realize you’re playing a game called “Alfred Chicken” and the hero doesn’t look at all like a chicken. It is a sign of the extremely retarded things to come.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).
*Note: In the interest of space conservation, this category was assigned a score of -10
rather than the reviewer's suggested score of "NEGATIVE A MILLION!"
Elliot said my breakup must have been due to the sweater curse, an unexplained phenomenon where anyone who gives their significant other a hand-knit sweater gets dumped. The only way to break the curse, Elliot said, was to destroy the sweater.
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The Rom Pit is dedicated to reviewing the most bizarre and screwed up classic console games from the 1980's, the ones that made you wonder what kind of illegal substances the programmers were smoking when they worked on them. Strangely enough, the same illegal substances are often necessary to enjoy or make sense of most of these titles. No horrible Nintendo game is safe from the justice of the ROM Pit.