is a classic Platform Game
written by Nigel Alderton, simultaneously released on the ZX Spectrum
and BBC Micro
(the two versions having somewhat different Jump Physics
). In the style of the older platformers such as Donkey Kong
(which the author acknowledges as an inspiration, along with Space Panic
) there is no scrolling; the action takes place on one screen, which is replaced by another once its objective is completed, and so on and so on.
Your task on each screen is to collect twelve eggs, avoiding blue ostriches, which move on the platforms and ladders in predictable patterns, and the Mother Duck, which flies towards you in front
of the platforms. Birdseed can be collected to pause the level timer
for a while, unless the ostriches eat it first.
And... that's about it. For such a simple game it's amazingly addictive, perhaps because of its virtually flawless difficulty curve. Most players find, as they get better at the game, that they can steadily get just a little
further each time, while the earlier levels gradually become easy enough to get through without losing any lives. This allows you to build up a big reserve of lives midway through the game, and you'll need them
.Chuckie Egg 2: Choccy Egg
was released two years later (without Alderton's involvement; in fact, he disliked the game) and involves Harry exploring a factory to find the necessary ingredients to make chocolate eggs.
- Chekhov's Gun: "If you see a duck hanging on the wall in the first level...."
- Collision Damage
- Damn You, Muscle Memory: The default controls on the BBC Micro version are the standard ZX Spectrum ones, Q/A for up/down and O/P for left/right. Very confusing, as BBC Micro games tend to do the opposite, Z/X for left/right and @/? for up/down. Fortunately, you can redefine the controls.
- Difficulty Spike: The game really gets serious from around Level 17 onwards, with both mother duck and the ducklings requiring you to carefully manage movement.
- Endless Game: After the Hard Mode Filler (see below), if you complete Level 256 you can continue playing from Level 1.
- Every 10,000 Points: One extra life, which eventually allows you to get an extra life each level due to the bonus being around ~9000 points each.
- Fan Nickname: The ostriches are often called "hens", either because they look smaller than ostriches or because the main character's name is Henhouse Harry, but Word of God says they are meant to be ostriches.
- Hard Mode Filler: Level (n + 8) has the same layout as Level n. The first iteration has just the ostriches; the second, just the Mother Duck; the third, both; the fourth, additional ostriches; the fifth speeds up the ostriches. Subsequent iterations just decrease the time limit.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Only the Commodore version has difficulty levels. They control the global speed of the game.
- Ladder Physics: You can jump and catch onto a ladder, but you can't step off one midway unless there's a platform there (but jumping off is allowed). Also, if the bottom of a ladder is in mid-air, you can't let go; you must jump up to fall off the ladder. Finally, probably a glitch, but you can climb ladders sideways, so that your character retains his normal walking animation.
- Meaningful Name: Henhouse Harry.
- Nintendo Hard: The early stages are easy, but the later stages require careful jumps and level navigation.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder
- One Winged
- Road Runner PC: Even the speedy ostriches that appear from Level 33 onwards cannot outrun the player.
- Sequel Escalation: The sequel replaces the single-screen gameplay with an entire factory.
- Shout-Out: The layout of Level 8 echoes the "rivets" level of Donkey Kong.
- Urban Legend of Zelda: No, there are no levels with two Mother Ducks. See below.
- What Could Have Been: Alderton had several ideas for additional iterations of the levels that were never implemented, such as a second Mother Duck and breaking or removing some of the ladders.