October 6, 2000

Chu Chu Rocket (Online) - Preview

Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players RRP
23/3/2001SegaSonic Team1-4 Online$59.95

Chu Chu Rocket. It certainly isn't the prettiest game on the Dreamcast, and hardly pushes the system to the limits. Why then does it deserve such a high rating? It's simple. Chu Chu Rocket is an extremely addictive puzzle game that grabs your attention and refuses to let go. This is one of the most exciting multi-player experiences ever and better still, this will be the first game to include online gameplay here in Australia, when it is eventually released.

Exactly why Sonic Team would spend the time develop a puzzle game instead of their typical action adventure games such as Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast or Nights on the Saturn remains a mystery, but I'm glad they did. Chu Chu Rocket is a very simple, but highly addictive, puzzle game. Basically the object in this game is to collect as many mice as possible at your checkpoint. During the game you can place guiding arrows on the ground, which will turn the mice towards your goal area. While it may sound very simple it can become very difficult. The games also include three opposing players (human or CPU) trying to guide the mouse to their checkpoints. Naturally this game also includes an enemy to the mice and players, namely cats. These large orange cats will kill any mice that get in their way, hence reducing your potential score. If a cat walks into your checkpoint you will loose a lot of points, likewise if the cat walks into an opponents checkpoint they will loose points. It may sound confusing but after a few minutes play it becomes a lot clearer, and just as addictive as Hudson's Bomberman series.

During the game you, or your opponents will collect bonus mice which have varying effects. Some bonus mice will give you 50 points while others will increase or decrease the speed of the game. Other bonuses include a mouse mania where hundreds of mice appear on-screen like a plague, or mouse monopoly where several hundred mice will go directly to one random player. Cat attacks can occur where several cats appear on the screen at once. At this time it's crucial to set guide arrows away from your checkpoint and direct the cats to your opponent.

Another great addition to Chu Chu Rocket is the inclusion of a puzzle editing and creation mode where you can create your own, new levels to compete in. This provides an almost limitless amount of puzzles to play in and extend the games longevity immensely.

One thing is certain, Chu Chu Rocket has some hype behind it. At the Tokyo Game Show in Japan prior to its Japanese release Sonic Team's Chu Chu Rocket created a lot of interest and was one of the most applauded games at the show. America received the game in March and it was well received by the public who lapped up the online gameplay.

Sega of Europe recently decided to give the game away for free to people using their online service. Unfortunately the Australian release isn't expected until mid October at the earliest. Unfortunately Chu Chu Rocket is still suffering constant delays. Ozisoft are now stating that the problem is in Sega Japan and Sega Europe having problems with the game code modifications. This has already delayed the game from March 2000 until now, and we may face even more delays.