Chuck Rock 1 & 2

Brad: When I was in high school, we had this one kid who was constantly interrupting class with these comments that he thought was funny, but didn’t actually seem to have any trace of humor in them. It wasn’t even like they were lame jokes or something – they were just these more or less ordinary things that for some reason he seemed to think were hilarious. It got annoying pretty fast, mainly because it distracted us from hearing the better comments being made by the other smart-asses in the class. Also, it probably kept us from learning why the hell everyone thinks The Great Gatsby is such a great book. The Chuck Rock games kind of remind me of that kid – they’re constantly doing stuff that shouts out “Look at how funny I am!” without actually doing anything humorous.

I mean yeah, the main character is a caveman. That’s not inherently funny, and the game doesn’t do much to wring any humor out of it. Even so, everything is presented in kind of a “Hey, look at me!” way, as though the game is trying to point out where the funny parts are, even though there aren’t any. The game is set in prehistoric times, which is too logical to be funny – it would be like making a game set in Mexico, and thinking that having a Mexican character would automatically be the funniest thing in the world. Also, he throws rocks and his name is Chuck Rock – not only is that not funny, but it’s such a crime against comedy that there’s a chance it might actually go back in time and kill Steve Martin before his career gets started.

Chuck Rock 2 takes this lameness a step further by having you play as a baby. Instead of a health meter, you have a milk bottle, and when it runs out, you throw a temper tantrum and start crying. Sides hurting yet? Didn’t think so.

Stryker: I could probably have forgiven both Chuck Rock games for their delusions about how funny they were if the gameplay was any good, but it’s not. I won’t go as far as to say that it’s awful, but it’s definitely below average. The levels are too crowded, and the frequency of cheap hits is enough to make you throw your hands up and wonder why you’re even bothering to try. Also, there isn’t anything in either game that I haven’t seen in a thousand other platformers. By the ice level of the first game I was thinking “Are there any overused platforming clichés this game doesn’t include?” Of course there were a couple – they saved the trampoline jumps and swinging vines for the sequel.

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