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ChuChu Rocket
Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  Sonic Team
Publisher:  Sega
Features:  Internet Compatible
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Puzzle games. They offer nothing in the way of graphics, sound effects, music, or anything that shows off a systemís capabilities. Nevertheless they are essential. Why? Because they focus on nothing but fun. How many people do you know that bought Gameboy so that they could play Tetris in transit? With this in mind Sonic Team has brought ChuChu Rocket over from Japan to the American Dreamcast. What is more is that it stands out as the fastest moving, most addictive puzzle game that has come along in a long wh

Like all great puzzle games ChuChu rocket possesses an easy-to-learn quality. The rules are so simple that the entire manual is explained with pictures. Basically there are a bunch of mice (ChuChus) that you have to guide to safety inside your shelters (the rockets). There are also cats (KapuKapus) that you must keep away. You guide the ChuChus by placing arrows on the board; the mice hit the arrows and follow the direction. In the basic game there are four players, four rockets, and a whole hell of a lot of mice. The object is to simultaneously guide the ChuChus into your rocket while leading the KapuKapus into your opponentsí rockets.

This is the kind of game that you only need to play once in order to be hooked. The simplicity of it is immediately accessible while the depth never seems to end. Using the arrows you can simply guide a path from the ChuChu generators to your rocket, but donít be surprised if an opponent cuts off that path. Plus the KapuKapus run the same path and if they hit your rocket they will eat the mice that you have collected. This leads to putting more arrows down and constantly redirecting these poor clueless ChuChus. The game moves so fast that it is impossible to master. Even when it seems like you have got everything under control the game will throw in a special situation like changing the speed or starting a "Mouse Mania".

What makes the game so fun is the simple cuteness and reality that it is based on. Instead of puzzle games that involve inanimate objects like shapes, bubbles, or dice, ChuChu Rocket is based on a cat and mouse chase. This is something that anyone who grew up watching Tom and Jerry can relate to. It is this reality (as much as space mice can be a reality) that will attract friends at a party and get everyone involved.

If you are not much of a social butterfly but still a big puzzle game fan then ChuChu Rocket may just be the game of your dreams. Sure there are some great one-player puzzles and even a create-your-own puzzle mode, but what really separates the game from its puzzling predecessors is the fact that it is Internet compatible. So log-on and challenge your friends from school or work, or some complete stranger in another state. Though the Internet functionality is still not up and running at the time of this review, it promises to be up in the near future. Click here for more about Internet play.

ChuChu Rocket is already a huge cult hit in Japan and looks as if it going to go the same route here in America, and well it should. It is a solid puzzle game that builds complex strategy on top of a simplistic base. To call it madcap would be an understatement. ChuChu Rocket is the most frantic most engaging party puzzle game out there. Period. Plus its kinda cute.

Chris Shade

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