Notice: This page is out-of-date and is no longer being maintained. Some of the information may be erroneous and the writing may
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-- Quick Jump --
Gameplay Info |
Behind the Screens |
Cultural Notes |
-- Story --
On a distant planet in another time, there is a space port which is inhabited by thousands of little space
mice known as Chu-chus. The Chu-chus live happily, albeit in constant fear of ravenous space cats known as Kapu-kapus. Then
one day, Kapu-kapus invaded the Chu-chus' space port! The only escape for the Chu-chus are the Chu-chu Rockets scattered around
the port, but in their state of panic, the terrified mice have no idea which way they're running! Except, of course, for
four valiant rocket pilots: Chuih, pilot of the blue rocket; ChuBei, pilot of the yellow rocket; ChuPea, pilot of the red
rocket; and ChuBach, pilot of the green rocket! It's up to our four noble heroes to save their fellow Chu-chus from the
-- Gameplay Info --
There are a few different ways to play ChuČ, but the one premise common to all of them is to herd the mice
(Chu-chus) into the rockets while avoiding various obstacles. Each level is played on a small board from an overhead view.
The boards are checkered, consisting of 12 squares horizontally and 9 vertically, creating an area of 108 tiles. On each
board, you'll find a few or all of the following items: Chu-chus, Kapu-kapus, Rockets, walls, and holes. Your job is to get
the Chu-chus into the Rockets, which is done by placing Yajirushi Panels (arrow panels) in their path. Yajirushi Panels can
point in any one of the four cardinal directions, and the Chu-chus will almost unconditionally follow the direction that panel
is pointing in. If their path is unobstructed, the maniacal mice will continue straight until they encounter a wall, in
which case they will turn to the right. So just aim the meeces into the rockets and all is well. Ah, but if only it were
that easy. You'll also find Kapu-kapus littered around the board, and it just so happens that the Kapu-kapu is the natural
predator of the Chu-chu. The cats react just like Chu-chus toward the obstacles on the board: they follow the Yajirushi Panels
you have placed and turn right when they encounter a wall. If a Kapu-kapu hits a Yajirushi Panel head on, the panel shrinks a
little... two chomps and the panel disappears. Chu-chus have the speed advantage, but that's about it. Bad things will
happen if a cat finds its way into a rocket, and both Chu-chus and Kapu-kapus are susceptible to a dark doom should they fall
down a hole. Well... that's all there is to learn in Chu-chu 101, now for the advanced lessons.
There are a total of nine modes in ChuČ: Help gives simple, visual instructions for each of the eight
4-Player Battle is where the real fun of ChuČ is at. Grab a buddy or three and prepare for some
multi-player madness. Each of the 2-4 players has a color-coded Rocket on the board (Blue, Yellow, Red, or Green). Chu-chus
and an occasional Kapu-kapu pour forth from Hatches, and the object is to herd as many Chu-chus into your Rocket as possible
within the time limit. The person with the most mice in his Rocket at the end is the winner. Should a Kapu-kapu find its way
into your Rocket, it will promptly feast on one-third of your mice. As such, the strategy is to guide as many Chu-chus as
possible into your Rocket while keeping them away from your opponents and at the same time guiding Kapu-kapus toward opposing
Rockets. The catch is that each player can only place three Yajirushi Panels at a time, and the action gets downright
insane. To make matters worse, every once in a while the spawn points will spout a golden Chu-chu, which is worth 50 points;
or a ? Chu-chu. The ? Chu-chu, when it finds its way into any one of the players' Rockets, causes one of eight random effects:
- Chu-chu Fever (Mouse Mania) -- The Hatches go cracker jacks, spewing forth a flowing stream of the maniacal mice.
Well-placed arrows under these circumstances can give you an insurmountable lead.
- Chu-chu Bonus (Mouse Monopoly) -- A whole horde o' Chu-chus get a one way ticket into one lucky player's Rocket. This
really pisses off the other three players.
- Neko Fever (Cat Mania) -- It's like Chu-chu Fever, except with Kapu-kapus.
- Neko Present (Cat Attack) -- One lucky schnook gets off scot-free while the other three players score a Kapu-kapu sent
straight into their respective Rockets.
- Timeout (Place Arrows) -- All Yajirushi Panels are removed and the game is paused for a few all-too-brief seconds, giving
players the opportunity to place their arrows again.
- Everybody Switch! (Everybody Move) -- All four rockets perform the switcheroo!
- Slow Down -- The game slows down to half speed.
- Speed Up -- The game picks up to double speed and there is no God.
Press the L-trigger when you're losing and the R-trigger when you're king of the hill, and your "rocketeer"
will spout an appropriate taunt (ie, "I'm sorry!", "Too easy!", etc.).
If you can't find three other players, you can set the computer to control the remaining opponents. The AI
difficulty can be set to: Weak, Hates Cats, Loves Mice, Tough, or Random. There are a total of 24 boards to play on, and the
number of matches can be set from 1-5, although the default is 2.
Rules for Team Battle are identical to those of 4-Player Battle, only the players are paired up into two
opposing teams: Blue & Red versus Yellow & Green. The team with the most Chu-chus at the end of the time limit (default is
three minutes) wins.
Stage Challenge is the most unique of the ChuČ games. The object is to complete a specified task within a
30 second time limit. The tasks are divided into five types with five increasingly difficult stages in each set (for a total
of 25 stages):
Stage Challenge is virtually impossible to perform playing alone... you'll definitely need a friend to lend
a hand. Each player can only place three Yajirushi Panels at once, and it all happens in realtime (no planning your moves
like in Puzzle mode), so you usually have to work together to form a strategy for completing the challenge. Complete all 25
stages and you can change the Chu-chus into Chao from Sonic Adventure. The whole mode plays like a time attack, with your
best times for each individual stage and your total for all the stages being recorded for entry on the network rankings.
- Get mice!! -- Steer all the Chu-chus into the Rocket within the 30 second time limit.
- Run away!! -- Steer all the Chu-chus into the Rocket whilst avoiding the Kapu-kapu within the 30 second time limit.
- Lunch time!! -- Feed the cat! Steer all the Chu-chus smack into the Kapu-kapu within the 30 second time limit.
- 100 mice -- The Hatches are spawning Chu-chus and Kapu-kapus non-stop. The object is to horde 100 Chu-chus into the Rockets
within the 30 second time limit.
- Cat soccer!! -- It's like a two-on-two Team Battle, with the computer controlling the opposing team. Steer as many
Kapu-kapus as you can into your opponents' Rockets.
The frenzy takes a breather in Puzzle mode, which plays at the pace you'd expect a traditional puzzler to
move. The only ChuČ game that is strictly one player, the object is to herd all of the Chu-chus into the Rocket(s) while
avoding Kapu-kapus and holes. Should even a single Chu-chu meet its end at the massive maw of a hungry Kapu-kapu, or fall to
its dark fate down a hole; or should even a single cat break into any one of the Rockets on the board, the puzzle is blown
and it's back to square one. The catch is that you're given a specific set of Yajirushi Panels to work with, and you've got
to determine exactly where to place your quota of arrows to herd the nezumis to safety and keep the nekos at bay. Take your
time to examine the setup, then place your arrows, and pull the R trigger at any time to set the board into motion. Pull the
R trigger a second time to speed things up. The L button restores the board to its original state. Complete the first set
of 25 boards (Normal), and an additional 25 open up (Hard). Complete those, and another set can be accessed (Special).
After completing the first 75 stages, the final quarter opens up (Mania). Clear all 100 boards, and you can change the
Chu-chus into Nightopians from NiGHTS.
Puzzle Edit allows you to create your own Puzzle boards to sic on your friends. You can pretty much do
anything you want, but your puzzle cannot be saved unless it is possible for all the Chu-chus to make it to safety. Other
limits include a max of 100 Chu-chus, 20 Kapu-kapus, and 30 Rockets on any given board. Once your puzzle is complete, you can
save it to your VMU (3 blocks per puzzle, 25 max) and upload it to the ChuČ Lobby for all to appreciate your genius. You can
even name your puzzles.
Network is Chu-chu Rocket!'s star attraction. In the ChuČ Lobby, you can play against (or just chat with)
players around the globe via the oh-so-convenient Dreamcast modem. When playing online, there's about a two second delay
between when you push the button and when the Yajirushi Panel actually gets placed... this lag can be remarkably aggravating,
but at least everyone's forced to work with the same disadvantage.
Homepage takes you to the ChuČ page on the DC network. There you can read about upcoming events in the
Lobby, check out gameplay hints, download special VMU files, and all that good stuff... just like the Sonic Adventure network
page. Here's a history of updates:
- Sonic Team Challenge (Japan) -- Available on December 17, 1999. Twenty-five new levels for Puzzle mode presented by
Famitsu DC. A few of 'em are tricky, but many of them can be solved with less than the alotted set of Yajirushi Panels. 75
- Test character (Japan) -- Changes the Chu-chus into weird yellow tadpole thingies and the Kapu-kapus into big red Q-bert
things. Posted very briefly as a test. 34 blocks.
- Doraneko character (Japan) -- Available on December 24, 1999. Changes the Chu-chus into super-deformed mice and the
Kapu-kapus into super-deformed cats based on the Doraneko Theater (stray cat theater) manga series from Aspect Comix. 34
- UFO character -- Available on April 28, 2000 in Japan and May 5, 2000 in the US. Changes the Chu-chus into cows and the
Kapu-kapus into flying saucers. 34 blocks.
As with all Dreamcast internet games, all of the network servers are history, so going online with ChuČ is
no longer possible.
The final option is, um, Options. You can toggle between Japanese and English voices, enjoy a sound test,
or change the Chu-chus and Kapu-kapus into one of the bonus or downloaded characters.
-- Behind the Screens --
Rumors a few weeks before the game's official announcement spoke of a four-player online fighting game with
wacky characters... two out of three's not bad. Officially unveiled as the third title in Sonic Team's "Enjoy 4" collection
of the fall '99 Tokyo Game Show, Chu-chu Rocket! threw alot of people off. Sonic Team, famed for their high-speed action
titles featuring memorable characters and surreal worlds, was doing a puzzler with cats and mice that looked like they were
ripped straight out of a fifth grader's doodle pad.
The game was released in November of '99 in Japan, along with an infamous television commercial that simply
cannot be described. Whether because the game is in fact freaking fun or merely because the TV ad had all of Japan scared
into submission, the game received very positive reviews, and for its first week shot straight to the top of the sales
charts. (Unfortunately, it plummeted back down thereafter, but even a week at the one spot was remarkable for a Dreamcast
title in Japan.) The full package included a limited edition transparent orange DC controller.
The internet functions were put to immediate use, with a couple of promotions in tandem with the
well-respected Famitsu magazine. The first, which came immediately after the game's release, offered prizes to contestants
who could finish 25 special puzzles designed by Famitsu's editors. In Christmas '99, an additional contest was made
available featuring 25 special holiday puzzles, along with a VMS (VMU) download to change the Chu-chus into characters based
on the popular Doraneko Theater manga.
-- Miscellanea --
- "Chu" is the syllable used in Japan to describe the sound mice make. It's the equivalent of "squeak" in English.
- The similarity between Chu-chu Rocket! and Psygnosis' classic PC puzzle game Lemmings is probably more than coincidence.
Lemmings is one of Yuji Naka's personal favorite games, and it's safe to assume that the mass suicide of maniacal rodents is
the theme that inspired ChuČ.
- Chu-chu Rocket! was the first game both produced and directed by Yuji Naka.
Written content and original graphics copyright © 1997-2006 Jared Matte. Hosting and administration thanks to Nathan Tsui. Chu-chu Rocket! characters,
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