Chickens are not the most terrifying of creatures. Very few horror films are made about them, and generally if a chicken is coming after you, it’s not a great source of concern for most people. A Cyber Chicken is a different thing altogether. A bipedal chicken with military-grade cybernetic augmentations and a full arsenal of weaponry is something that not only catches the eye but is something to be wary of. This terminator-style cyber chicken is the eponymous hero of Cyber Chicken a 2.5d side-scrolling action platformer set in a dystopian New York City of the future released on Windows, Mac, & Linux
You’ve been lied to. While the major corporations such as Fakebook, Big Bucks Coffee, and the intergalactic leader GW send you off on trifling city-cleaning missions against small time street punks and thugs. These corporations get away with murder. As a trigger-happy justice-driven chicken, you can’t stand by and let this happen. You load up with all your best weaponry and head out. It’s time to take these corporate giants down.
Each level of Cyber Chicken is made up of a semi-maze like series of platforms that you maneuver your way through. Of course, there are the various punks and thugs who attempt to stop you. These can be dispatched by either punching them or shooting them. Punching them obviously has a much shorter range than shooting but you don’t need to worry about reloading. Shooting is aimed with the mouse and has screen range meaning you can shoot anywhere, but you do need to reload and you have to stand still while doing it.
These aren’t the only dangers you’ll face, mutant rats and Molotov cocktail throwing punks to name the first two. As long as you keep control and use the right weapon you’ll be fine. You have a limited amount of stun grenades as well, which stun all the enemies on screen if things are getting a little crazy.
That is the basic premise of Cyber Chicken, but what would any self-respecting military upgraded chicken be without top-spec upgrades? Dotted around each level are vendor points, where you can spend your hard-earned cash. You can grab health packs and coffee which are pretty useful. Health packs for staying alive and coffee for triggering you caffeine related bullet-time.
You can also buy new skills and combat upgrades as well, which open up new areas and pathways through the levels.
There is a fairly unique debt system as well. So you can spend a little over your budget and still get that shot of Joe or health pack to save your life, but if you stay in debt for too long The Collector will hunt you down, kill you and then steal all your mods. He’s not a fan of debt.
Graphics & Sound
I loved the look of Cyber Chicken, but that’s because it reminded me of a lot of Sega Genesis and NES platform games that I spent most of my childhood playing. There’s a brilliant kind of quirky humour that references so many games, films and celebrity’s that it almost becomes a side game trying to spot them.
My favourite part is the inclusion of the below George W Bush quote in the intro.
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
You control the Cyber Chicken with a combination of keyboard and mouse. Most of your controls are mouse driven, standard sort of WASD controls, while your mouse controls the aiming and shooting of your firearm. I had a little trouble at first with moving and aiming accurately with the mouse but this is due to my general low-level of dexterity than the control system.
The challenge of this game tends to rear its head when you don’t prepare appropriately. Have you topped your health at the vendor stands, and reloaded your ammo before a fight. It these little things that can mean a rather untimely end to your cyber-poultry brand of justice.
The game ticks past at a healthy rate, with the difficulty increasing accordingly. It’s never too hard that it’s frustrating or so easy that it’s boring.
Back when I was young of course, I used to spend hours and possibly days on platformers like this desperately trying to get to the end before school started. Although back then games were simple and not having a save function forced you into long periods of play or risk losing all your progress.
I can’t see that Cyber Chicken will consume huge parts of your year. Sure, the gameplay is fun enough but there isn’t much in the way of reasons to come back and replay it all once you’ve done. This isn’t a problem with this game per se more a problem with the platformer genre in question.