Review by happyjoe5
One of the greatest games of it's time.
When you first load up Flicky it seems that, in this modern age of fancy graphics and detailed music tracks, this game wont be much more than a few minutes of mild amusement before you get bored and move on to something else. The problem is Flicky wont let you move on to something else. Youll always want just one more try, or to get just one level further. You know you were just unlucky that cat fell on your head. You know you could have done better in that bonus stage if you had been paying attention. Youll get there next time. The thing is that Flicky is as addictive as any puzzle game and always taunts you with the thought of success, forbidding you to put down the controller.
Oh, and its also a lot more than mild amusement.
Each level in Flicky is a repeating side-scrolling platform filled arena with cats, iguanas, and a single exit door. You control the bluebird of the title, who must retrieve the moronic baby Chirps from around the level, dodge the hungry predators, and return to the exit. If you touch a cat or lizard, its a one hit kill, so you have to be on your guard.
The enemies work surprisingly well. The two cats will chase you if you get close, but are also incredibly stupid to balance it out. They are fairly easy to avoid when theres just the one, but its when they double-team you that it gets interesting. You may be happily fluttering away from one, without the slightest threat of it catching you, when suddenly the other jumps down in front of you. You need to think quickly to spot a way past, time it right, and jump to freedom. But these things are so stupid theyll probably follow you entirely by accident, and youve got another bout of precise buttoning pressing and constant running to contend with.
The lizard, named Iggy, is much less predictable, aided by his ability to climb walls. He doesnt chase you, he just scuttles everywhere randomly. Consequently, you tend to start ignoring him, until he charges straight up the route you were about to use to escape from the two cats. If youre trapped between all three, youre doomed. The enemies on this game really compliment each other brilliantly. But theres always a chance that Iggy will suddenly spin around just inches from your face, giving you a clean getaway. Theres quite a strong element of luck in here.
But theres still much more to this than collect-dodge-complete. Random objects such as phones, apples and teacups are spread about the level. Touch one and Flicky will pick it up, and when you jump hell hurl it away, killing any baddy it hits in the process. And theres nothing more satisfying on this game than seeing the hunter become the huntee.
The Chirps also make things difficult for you. When the level starts theyre all apparently nailed to the wall around the map, but of course when you touch them they start to follow Flicky around. From now on, if a cat touches the line of Chirps, or Flicky is caught by a predator, the Chirps will scatter, running freely around. This makes it much more difficult, but you cant help but be amused at having to chase the same Chirp around the repeating screen four times before catching him. Unless you die as a result of course. You wont last long before you start to hate Chirps as much as the iguanas.
Every fourth round on Flicky is a bonus round. In these, Flicky stands on a platform as the cats hurl Chirps into the air using see-saws. Flicky has to catch the airborne Chirps before they fall past the bottom of his platform and are presumably eaten. These rounds provide a nice little risk-free rest among the harder levels of the game, and youll enjoy being tricked by the looping patterns of the Chirps.
Yes, theyre old, and yes, you probably could count the pixels, but the artists used what they were given to great effect. The levels are bright and colourful and have different themes and patterns. Say what you like about these graphics, but they get the job done.
There are basically only two music tracks on this game, one for normal levels and one for the bonus levels. Theyre both bright and catchy, but can get annoying quite fast. All the same, they help the flow of the game.
The sound effects are pretty basic, but fairly decent. Standard stuff.
Theyre fairly simple, but there is a problem. The buttons for jump and fire are exactly the same, making items fairly useless in a lot of cases because you have to ditch them to jump.
After the first few levels, this game gets incredibly hard, and as a result it can get frustrating at times. Thats one of the main reasons Im only giving this a 9/10.
Final Verdict: 9/10
In terms of gameplay, Flickys got it all: its addictive, and it requires strategy, speed, reflexes, and some tricky aerial manoeuvres. Its the other areas that let it down a bit. This is, however, a classic game, and definitely worth getting if you find it at the bottom of a bargain bin. Even better is the Classic Collection cartridge, which has this and three other games in one.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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