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Chuck Rock
Originally released in 1991 for the Amiga computer system, Chuck Rock was ported to myriad other systems, including the SNES in 1992. Forgoing useful caveman inventions like a "club" or "fire", Chuck Rock is on a mission to rescue his wife Ophelia using only his belly, feet, and some rocks.

 

SNES run: 0:11:55 by Marc J. 'Emptyeye' Dziezynski

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First, thanks as always to the staff of SDA past and present for their work in maintaining the site and giving speedrunners a centralized audience for our work.

Thanks also go to everyone who posted in the Chuck Rock topic on the forums, even if it was just to say "Never heard of this game but more runs are always cool.", which provided me the motivation needed to actually make this run.

A huge thanks goes out to AKA, both for his TAS of the Genesis version of the game and for encouraging me to go for a sub-12 minute time. Just because of that, the run you're watching is far better than it would have been otherwise, as I would have settled for somewhere around 12:50 rather than the ~11:55 you're currently watching.

Finally, thanks to my fiance, mainly (At least in the context of SDA) for putting up with my temper tantrums whenever something didn't go right.

Unga Bunga!

Chuck Rock is...not an especially good game. It predates, slightly, the glut of mascot games that the gaming market saw in 1992-1993 or so (The original version was released in 1991), but it's very much along those lines, with a comedic main character, and a general lighthearted attitude--witness Chuck's taking-damage animation. These aren't bad things in and of themselves, of course, but someone forgot to make sure a high-quality game was attached to the concept. As an example, your two main attacks consist of a belly-butt that has no range whatsoever, and a jump kick that somehow manages to have even less range. It's like someone said "A caveman belly-butting his enemies is funny!" and never stopped to consider that a main attack with no range, even if it's funny, is a rather poor game mechanic.

Despite this, this is probably my finest run to date. This is either the fifth or sixth version that I would call "satisfactory" (IE run on one life), and there were another five or so versions done to even get to that point (To say nothing of pre-timing practice). Yet, amusingly, I only beat the game for the first time about a month ago--prior to that, thanks to the aforementioned zero-range attacks, I could never figure out how to harm the final boss.

In a general sense, the game is like the Ghosts N' Goblins series (Though admittedly a good deal easier)--certain enemies are random, so no one strategy will get you through every time. The best you can do is know what enemies are random, what their most likely movements will be, and plan for each "path" accordingly. I'll point these things out as we go through the commentary. Thankfully, the game is much more forgiving as a whole than the G'n'G games--you can take six hits before dying, hearts recover three hits in this version, and they tend to be placed pretty liberally, with the exception of a few levels.

Let's begin! As with my Willow run, these times are the actual run times, and so will probably be off from the time displayed in the player of your choice.

0:12- Not only do I take a rather silly hit here, but to add insult to injury, it occurs after I grab the heart. Yeesh.

0:38- What you're supposed to do is go to the left, up and around the thorny patches, past the dinosaur (Which, in the Amiga version, attempts to poop on you repeatedly. No, I'm not kidding.) that you see as I'm bouncing on the bushes. This way is a lot quicker, I'm sure you'll agree, even if it does leave me at low health.

0:42- These rhinos are random. They'll move either left or right, stop for a bit, then repeat. Ideally, "Left" is one of the first two movements and I can jump over him (I hit the ideal situation here, and proceed to screw it up anyway). Failing that, right-right-right into the wall also works. One sequence in particular, right-right-left-right, kills Chuck (And the speedrun) right here.

0:59- This guy jumps at you if you let him get too close, and also jumps at you if you try to use the jump kick (It's possible, but difficult, to kick him out of mid-air, hence the belly-butt). The only way to know which of these guys jump and which don't is to play the game extensively and memorize them.

1:25- A nice example of the game's sterling hit detection working in my favor for once--note now Chuck's foot gets nowhere near high enough to hit the bug, yet it dies anyway.

1:45- Making this jump without grabbing the rock from below is tough, but a nice little timesaver.

1:53- Another "jumps at you" enemy that I take out via belly-butt.

2:00- I don't even bother trying to avoid this rhino. When you hit them, they split into smaller rhinos. Hitting one of the smaller rhinos causes it to split again, albeit into a size you can now walk over. Despite this, just taking the hit here is faster than fighting him, particularly as I'd have to do it blind.

2:10- This small guy with the giant mouth is the one enemy I never really figured out. Sometimes he's in my way, sometimes he's not, and this was the first time I ever encountered him in this specific position (Typically, if he's around, he's farther to the right).

2:24- This boss fight looks sloppy, but it's actually only a second or so off my best--maybe less, as my personal timing method, while good enough for me, is not something I'd trust in any serious capacity (It basically involves looking at the seconds on my DVD recorder, sometimes making judgment calls as to when a fadeout totally ends). Anyway, this isn't as bad as it looks.

2:55- Again, this guy is going to pop up and hit me here no matter what. Oh, and he's invulnerable too. So I just take the hit and move on.

3:29- From what I can tell, getting hit here means I'm actually doing well, as it seems to effectively be a race with this creature from the start of the level to get here. The next ten seconds or so are comically bad, though they do create a nice tension for anyone not reading the comments (Oh no! Will he get hit again and die?).

4:15- Because one more hit kills me, I have to wait for the monster to disappear, then grab the heart.

4:21- This platform is sometimes not here. I have no idea what causes it to appear or not. I had a backup plan for if it didn't appear involving taking the bottom route through the level, but thankfully it appeared in pretty much all my decent attempts.

4:50- Ideally, I'd not get hit here, but as I have a full lifebar, this method works. The boss starts by moving to the left about two-thirds of the way, going back to the right, then going all the way to the left of the screen and roaring. While you can position yourself to get all twelve hits on him before he gets away back to the right (And comes back), it's difficult, and the important thing is that I don't let him get to the roaring part. Good enough.

5:41- A frog sometimes jumps from below and interrupts your attempt to cross this gap. Be prepared for it.

6:03- Showing a commitment to fair, high-quality platforming action, Chuck Rock throws this totally blind jump into the water at you. Maybe you'll jump right into the jellyfish. Maybe not. The epitome of fun gameplay. Additionally, Chuck has an oxygen meter that's represented by his life counter and his flailing about the water. As you stay under the surface, the life counter's head slowly fills up with blue and Chuck's dog paddle gets faster and faster. If it completely turns blue, Chuck drowns and you lose a life. Coming to the surface slowly drains the blue; jumping out of the water instantly empties it.

6:49- Pretty standard third boss fight. The fact that you don't need a lot of actual hits to take down this boss compared to other versions of the game is offset by the invulnerability period he has between hits.

7:24- These bouncing enemies are maybe the most annoying in the game as far as speedrunning goes. They have random movements which frequently change, and they take two hits to off, with an invulnerability period of about a second between the hits. When I'm thinking at all, I'm just taking damage and running by them rather than trying to fight them, though I mentally lapse a couple times anyway.

7:54- The mammoth type enemies are also random, and are too big to safely jump over. Awesome.

8:24- Not exactly my finest hour, as various factors conspire to make it take four attempts to correctly use the catapult. Ugh. Or maybe that's AUUGH, as Chuck himself would say.

9:15- That wasn't intentional, but it all worked out anyway.

9:34- The important thing here is a "one-round" kill. The boss hops forward, back, forward, back, then sticks his trunk into the grounds, spits snowballs in the air, and tries to snort you towards him. He then repeats the pattern. He's only vulnerable during the hopping part. With being able to take at least two hits, the boss is pretty easy to get a one-round kill on--just do what I did here. Without that extra life buffer, it's possible, but a lot harder, involving two belly-butts (As here), then a very well-timed jump kick that hits him as he hops back but doesn't go so far as to crash you into him. Then you have to run back to where you were and repeat the process.

At this point, I'd like to make a crazy analogy. This run is like Derek Jeter during the 2001 World Series--you know, the one that earned him the title "Mr. November" when he came up with a clutch home run to win Game 4 of said series. What no one remembers is that Jeter was actually not very good in that series outside of that one hit. Similarly, to this point, I'm actually three seconds behind my previous best run of 12:04. But that doesn't matter, thanks to my clutch performance in the last level...

9:54- Another random, frequently movement-changing enemy, though this specific one isn't a big deal.

10:01- Upon being hit, these guys turn into either angels (Which don't bother you) or devils (Which will follow you and require another hit to take out). Generally speaking, you want to avoid hitting them at all if you can, though which one they turn into supposedly depends on whether they're facing you or not when you hit them the first time.

10:08- I hit a fortunate movement pattern that lets me not take a hit from that enemy below me.

10:13- Having already taken damage and gotten hung up here, I elect to take a small detour and grab the heart anyway, as it's the one and only recovery I have in this section.

10:24- This jump is super annoying--missing it, as you probably will, results in at least one and probably more hits on poor Chuck. Thankfully, I nailed it on the first shot here, and this was pretty much entirely responsible from going from three seconds behind to one second ahead of my previous best after this section.

10:35- I thought this guy was a denture-throwing enemy for some reason. Mental lapse.

10:54- My large life remaining as a direct result of how well I played the previous section allows me to basically kamikaze my way through this one. Incidentally, try not to think about this section of the level too much, by which I mean "You enter the level through the mouth, so you must exit it..."

11:30- And the crowning jewel is a perfect final boss fight, which I could never pull off before. For casual players, the safest way to win this battle is simply to stand on the middle platform and belly-butt him as he walks toward you (It takes a bit to get the timing down. The T-Rex is invulnerable when in his "attack animation"...but said animation actually tends to start before you have any visual indication of it, if that makes any sense), ignoring the fact that Chuck occasionally goes into his idle animation for no reason at all. That's the safe method...but it's slow. The method used here will generally be faster even if you mess it up a couple times (Very easy to do--as mentioned above, this was the first time I'd pulled it off perfectly in an actual run, which by itself was good for about six of the nine seconds of net improvement on my previous best effort)...nailing it flawlessly results in a 15-second speed boost over the belly-butt method.

11:55- The ending. Despite what you may think, Gary is not the T-Rex, but is in fact the human that's crushed beneath him--a fact only clear in versions of the game that have the in-game intro (The Amiga version is one, the Sega CD version another). Also, there's a bit of censorship here--the Amiga's version ending text ends with "...and by the look on Ophelia's face neither can she. Will Chuck ever get his peace..." instead of the stuff about the vacation. Other than that, it's just three minutes or so of credits.

And that's pretty much it. Hope you enjoyed it! For the further adventures of Emptyeye, check out my website. I can be reached at emptyeye AT emptyeye PERIOD com.

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