Chu Chu Rocket
I know you're going to pass this one up in the store. I know you're thinking, "Chu Chu What?" I know you're looking at the screenshot and dismissing it as kid's stuff. But please, do me a favor and play the game. Rent it. Borrow it. Buy it with the intention of returning it. I don't care, lust get it, along with three more controllers (with friends attached to them) and experience one of the coolest multiplayer party games you'll ever see on this system. Sonic Team has created something great--Chu Chu Rocket is brilliant in its simplicity. Within a minute, any gamer (casual or hardcore) can jump right into the action and have fun. You'll have plenty of laughs as you work to capture mice, intercept opponents' trails and guide cats into enemy rockets. The game even supports team play, 2? co-op puzzle modes and Internet competition. Although playing over the Net is an exciting proposition, the brief lag you get makes it impossible to make instant moves (which are vital). The lack of options (no stage select, no changing of game settings) with network play is also disappointing. BUT...it's still more than playable, and since everyone has the same lag handicap, it's really not a horribly big deal. Even as a one-player game, Chu Chu cooks, with plenty of puzzle stages (well over 100) to clear. Get it...now, damnit!
Like most great puzzle games, Chu Chu Rocket is simple to look at, easy to learn and more addicting than chocolate-chip crack. Play this game with three friends and it becomes pure, ingenious chaos. Chu Chu also--despite minor lag--makes a great showpiece title for online play on the Dreamcast Network. And if the multiplayer modes aren't enough, you get a ton of puzzle modes, co-op games and options. This thing'll never get old.
Chu Chu Rocket is as charming as it is addictive. In fact, the game is sort of genius in its purity and minimalism. Like all great puzzle games, your mind is constantly playing catch-up to what's happening on the screen. This is especially true in four-player versus mode where everybody's out to screw each other. I was skeptical about Internet play, until I tried it with Shoe and Crispin online...OK, there's a little lag, but it's quite playable. Sugoi!
Sonic Team just doesn't quit delivering quality games. This is one of those games you can get into right away. It's kind of like Lemmings, but from a top-down perspective. While the one-player game is fun in its own right (and wilt no doubt take players hours to master), what really makes this game shine are the multiplayer modes. This is also one of the very first online games for the Dreamcast, and is a blast to play online even though there's a lil' lag.
Download Chu Chu Rocket
When Sega announced three new titles from Sonic Team last August, nobody expected Chu Chu Rocket to be among the hit list. Despite the glaring lack of a Dreamcast NiGHTS or Burning Rangers sequel anytime soon, Sega fans knew that Chu Chu Rocket would be special, just by virtue of hailing from Sonic Team. After spending all month with the import version of Chu Chu Rocket, we were ecstatic to learn that Sega of America is set to localize this bizarre little gem for the U.S. market.
The object of Chu Chu Rocket is very simple: Guide as many rodents to your rocket as possible within the given time and watch the mice blast off into the great abyss. Each stage is comprised of six different objects: walls, mice, cats, pits, arrows and the player's rocket. Because it's a puzzle game, each item dictates one aspect of behavior on the playing field. Chus will run along until they hit a wall; if there's nowhere to go, they will either run in an infinite loop, or run along the wall until the next obstacle presents itself. Just like in real life, cats will traverse a pattern that's occasionally altered by walls and arrows...oh and they'll kill mice too.
Players move a colored cursor around and can place up to three arrows on screen to control the trajectory of mice and cats. Is player one getting too greedy with the little chu chus? Send a cat over to his rocket and watch his numbers dwindle. Or you can place arrows to syphon off your competition's flow of mice and redirect them to your own rocket. When a pink mouse runs into your rocket, it triggers a random event. Events like speed-up, slowdown, chu chu fever (sends out an endless flow of mice for a limited time), and neko fever (neko means cat) provide plenty of opportunities for players to even out the score late in the game. It all amounts to one of the most hectic and well-balanced head-to-head puzzle games we've ever played.
The game is presented with a wide variety of modes. Among them are the one- through four-player versus modes, puzzle mode (which can be played co-op!) and even a Lode Runner-esque level builder. In japan, Chu Chu Rocket sold for 2800 yen (about 25 bucks), or with a limited-edition Chu Chu Dreamcast controller for 4800 yen (45 bucks or so). It's still unknown at this point whether Sega will sell the game at a discounted price stateside.