Review by ARevolution
Reviewed: 05/02/00 | Updated: 05/02/00
A cherub that flies around eating food....right....
Chubby Cherub is quite an interesting game during the early NES years. Developed and released by Bandai in 1986, it focused around a young cherub that had the uncanny knack for eating. That's right, eating. You guided Chubby as he flies around different landscapes while avoiding pesky nuisances such as dogs, while trying collect as much food as you skillfully can. This is purely an action game with absolutely no story. What it lacks in story however, it makes up for in it's own bizzare charm. If you've always dreamed about plumping up an angel in a daiper, Chubby Cherub is one game you will not want to go without.
As for the scores...
The colorful and vibrant graphics in this game are catchy to the eye. All the levels are decorated with unique objects and background details. The cities look like cities, though Japanese in style, and clouds look like clouds. Everything is immediately idetifiable so you don't have to worry about dying wondering what that was you just saw.
The characters are equally colorful. All the enemies (dogs), Chubby himself, and the snacks he cumsumes are all nicely drawn and colorful, which really adds to the lighthearted atmosphere of this game. In fact, everything is so lighthearted that none of Chubby's enemies look cruel or vicious. The dogs, Chubby's enemies throughout the game, are all very cute and cuddly looking. They never do any vicious attacks. The enemies and Chubby alike are all fun and colorfully decorated and animated.
Despite the above-average graphics and colorful designs, there are some flaws with the graphics. For one thing, Chubby himself is a bit pixelated. His hair looks blocky and so do his eyes. Chubby, ironically, is probably the least inspiring character design in the game.
Another flaw is the repetition of the enemies. Since the enemies are dogs, you'd expect different types right? Wrong. The dogs Chubby faces are all identical, with only a few mere cosmetic differences. For example, early in the stage you see a dog that's brown, black, and white walking. Later in the level, you see that same brown, black, and white dog juggling, throwing balls at Chubby, all of which look the same. The repitition isn't a major detraction from the game as a whole, but is a detraction when graphics are strictly concerned.
Overall the graphics are well done, fitting, and charming. Everything looks like what they're supposed to, which is always a plus. Despite the reptitive nature of the graphics, it doesn't hurt this games above average graphic presentation.
The sound and music in Chubby Cherub isn't nearly as sweet and cute as the graphics are. The sound effects are borderline bad and the music isn't anything to shout about either. The sounds are very typical ''bleep and boop'' sounds you heard during the early NES days. The sound effects, whether it was Chubby flying, getting hit, or even eating were all repetitive and eventually became annoying.
The music isn't much better. Music in this game seems really poorly thought out with not much emphasis into style or composition. The music really seems like just a filler to keep you from noticing how redundant the gameplay is. Unfortunately, the music not only reminds you how redundant the game is at some point, but also reminds you how redundant the sounds are in Chubby Cherub.
Simply put, the sound effects and music in this game are pretty much what you would consider atrocious. While the sound effects are tolerable and excusable, the music is not. The NES is capable of producing catchy tunes. Chubby Cherub makes the NES produce nothing but grating themes. Audio is certainly something this game lacks.
The controls in Chubby Cherub are a mixed bag. One one hand, it can be considered to be decent, simple and easy to learn. On the other hand, one can fairly say the controls are sluggish and hard to utilize effectively in tight situations. Whichever your view, the controls in Chubby Cherub are far from perfect no matter how you look at it.
Let's start with the good. The positive aspects of Chubby Cherub's debatable controls is that it's simple, and very easy to learn. The D-pad moves Cherub, the buttons both make Chubby jump. Hold down the jump button and you fly. The simple controls help make this game easily understandable even by the youngest and least experienced of players.
The dark side with the simplicity is that it's sluggish. Controlling and moving Chubby around, both on the ground and in the air, feels like you're trying to lug the Titanic with it's anchor down around. Chubby moves as slow as ever and this can lead to cheap hits and utter frustration. Walking is almost like asking to be hit, since Chubby walks so slow and takes what seems like ages to lumber across the screen. Even worse, Chubby's ground evasion factor just plain stinks. The enemies (dogs) move much faster than Chubby, and therefore makes it hard for the player to avoid. Forget about trying to jump if the dog is already a few steps in front of you. The jumping is as bad as the walking. The lag time between you push the jump button and the time it takes for Chubby to actually lift his fat butt off the ground is annoying and often unbearable. This leads to plain vexation and hopelessness as the player gets hit by an oncoming dog moving towards Chubby at a blazing 1 MPH.
The flying is also pretty bad. While not nearly as bad as the walking and jumping, it still could've been a lot, lot, LOT better than it is now. Chubby taking the air is almost laughable. You have poor maneuverability of Chubby as you try your best to collect the snacks that you must eat to keep Chubby's energy high and healthy. This is nothing but a chore, as Chubby is just about as sluggish in the air as he is on the ground. Turning around in the air is often risky business, as you may take another unsurprising and expected cheap hit. Basically, if you missed something in thr air that you don't have to get, don't bother. With flying controls like Chubby, the wings might as well be cardboard.
To sum it all up, the controls are simplistic and easy to learn, but hard to manuever...never a good thing. Unless you like taking cheap hits and lumbering across stages, then by all means give this game a gander. If, like normal gamers, enjoy tight, solid controls, then look elsewhere.
Unsurprisingly, the mechanics are pretty shallow and loses it's appeal pretty quickly as the game goes on. While it is original, as there weren't many games where a character could fly and stay on the ground circa 1986, that's all the game has. Combined with the shoddy controls, the somewhat original concept is a hard pitch to sell. If it weren't for the bad controls, the mechanics would've been a lot more appealing, and most importantly, playable.
The entire game is simply based on feeding Chubby to refill his energy bar, either by collecting food on the ground, or in the air, while dodging somewhat cleverly put enemies. If you choose to fly, Chubby's energy bar depletes gradually. The overall principal of the game is if you don't eat, you won't live. Realistic? Yes. Fun? Certainly not.
Had the controls been tight and responsive, the mechanics would've been much higher scored. Unfortunately, even with it's somewhat original (for it's time) mechanics, as shallow is it is, if the game doesn't control well, nothing else matters.
Surprisingly this game can be quite challenging for the normal gamer. Seasoned gamers won't have much of a problem, with the only real challenge being the horrible controls. The enemies can be difficult to avoid sometimes, both due to sluggish, unresponsive controls as well as good old fashioned clever placement. You can't kill the enemies so that makes your job somewhat more difficult. You just have to do your best to avoid the dogs and obstacles as you maneuver through the level collecting food to stay alive.
Aside from the seemingly invicible magical dogs, the level designs can provoke a challenge as well for the younger players. Numerous obstacles, such as walls, buildings, and even telephone poles all require you to use Chubby's sloth-like maneuverability skills. The level designs seems to be the only thing that was given any thought in this game.
In a nutshell, the challenge is moderate. There are some tight spots throughout the game, but the main factor that makes those tight spots so challenging, as well as the game itself, is the poorly implemented controls.
Replay? What replay? This game is probably enough of a suffering bore the first time around to not make you want to play it again. The items, enemies, and obstacles are all in the same place, all the time. The dog you saw here will be there the next time you play, and the time after that. All the food pop up at the same locations, so it's just a matter of memorization. While there is a two player feature, it's still not going to be much fun. You're either going to have to have a very, very, VERY good friend or a very gullable one you can gaude into playing this with you. Every repeat play is exactly that, a replay.
The only concievable reason why anyone would play this game is to improve on their score. Back when score was important, this may have been the case, but nowadays, with score losing it's emphasis in action games, it's obsolete and can't help this dismal game.
Repolay as a whole is pretty much non-existant. Like I always say, beat the game once and store it neatly on the shelf.
Overall this game is not fun and far below what the NES can do. The graphics are it's only saving point, but graphics before gameplay adds up to make one sorry excuse of a game. On top of that, the graphics aren't that great either. Combine it all with horrid controls, thin mechanics, and irritating sound, playing through Chubby Cherub is a chubby chore.
Rating: 2.0 - Poor
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