Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chubby Gristle

This is the tale of a fat, obnoxious parking attendant who loves to eat food. Pillar of the community, Chubby Gristle, is always hungry and will roam each room looking for grub to nosh on in Grandslam Entertainment's old skool platformer.

It first feels a lot like Monty Mole with each screen designed in a similar fashion and, if you're old like me, the instant appeal will be a huge trip down memory lane!

However, that's where the fun ends and the frustration kicks in because Chubby Gristle is incredibly tough. Controls feel rather finicky and I never progressed to a point where I felt fully comfortable and confident with them. Each screen has ledges, moving platforms, ropes, and the expected angry sprites zipping back n' forth which are often awkward to avoid (without losing a precious life). Unlike good ol' Monty, Chubby moves a little too quickly for a fat man on a grub hunt so it's far too easy to bump into something sharp or accidently walk off a platform edge to yet another splattery death! Always unfair and unforgiving, so many more extra lives are needed to balance the game's high difficulty.

Visually, it's perfectly 8-bit and I mean that in a good way because it happily blasts you back into the 1980s. Sprites move so smoothly and are animated with a style I simply adore - Peter Harrap would be proud. However, I am disappointed with the audio which plays the same tune over (and over). It's great but we really needed a selection. Oddly, music can be silenced but I found no way to activate sound effects which surely isn't too much to ask?

Chubby Gristle is an enigma. This could so easily have been a massive hit with ancient gamers (like me) however, the basic mechanics fail miserably and, eventually, you will throw down the joystick in anger. If you're willing to use the infinite lives cheat, then are you able to travel deeper into the game and see some of its charm and character. But we need entertainment and challenges without suffering for them, so it's sadly hard to recommend Mr Gristle.

LINKS

 - Download from Klaz' Hideaway who has the floppy and a hard drive installable game (with lives cheat)
 - Old Games Finder has access to all the floppy disk Menu CDs you could ever need.
 - I recorded a video and did quite well but gave up on the last screen... far too annoying!
 - AtariMania has this flabby fat man listed in their ST database website.
 - Cheating is never good but Chubby needs extra lives like no other game on the planet. To enable infinity lives type in "buuurrp" on the title screen and you will hear a burp that confirms success. (untested by me)