Chicken Run Review

By: Brother Doe

You are a chicken held prisoner in a concentration camp-style prison camp awaiting execution. Your prime directive is to make good your escape. The prison camp in question is Tweedy's farm and you are in danger of becoming the main ingredient in the Colonel's secret recipe. However you do stand a chance of making the great escape if you have the stealth, know how and nerves of steel it takes to make it past the fence where you can enjoy your freedom as a free-range foul.


Shamelessly ripped off from the gameplay of Metal Gear Solid, Chicken Run also owes much of its inspiration to Hogan's Heroes and Junkyard Wars. Hogan's Heroes was a popular 60s sitcom which explored the hilarious premise of American prisoners captured by the Nazis and held in Stalag 13. What could be funnier? Junkyard Wars, on the other hand, is a new hour-long show in which two teams of engineers, mechanics and inventors compete by having to create the superior working machine from spare parts found in a junkyard. Mix one part Junkyard Wars to four parts Hogan's Heroes, turn all the humans into chickens and combine with everything cooking on the Metal Gear Solid engine. Simmer until popularity of MGS declines and stuff into new packaging while lukewarm. Serves one.

A clever adaptation of the movie, Chicken Run the video game is engaging and can be considered fun once all the comparisons and stone throwing is competed. The graphics are great and the cinemas are true to the movie. Plenty of entertaining, British-voiced voice-overs bring the characters to life though they are spread out and sparse in places. The film was done with computer animation that mimics the style of clay-mation; similar to Eddie Murphy's, The Projects. Much of that style is captured here and looks about as good as it could on the PSX. Even the characters facial expressions are brilliantly captured.

Planning and implementing your escape is the heart of the gameplay. You try to avoid the guard dogs while you explore the compound searching for and collecting items that will aid in your escape. A cinema shows you what you could expect during a selected escape plan. Some of the scenarios are not confidence builders. The escape plans vary from cutting the fence and making a flat-out run for it to building fantastic flying machines from items found in the yard. A radar appears on the side of the screen and indicates where some of these parts and special tools are located. It also tells you where the dogs are and in what direction they are heading.

Chicken Run is basically MGS-Lite with less emphasis on violence and more emphasis on family-orientated gameplay. Puzzles and Mini-games are popular alternatives to disemboweling enemies or blowing up cities. It's nice to know that a good game can be developed without resorting to gratuitous bloodletting. I don't know of too many intelligent gamers who would balk at a chance to use their imagination in exchange for their semi-automatic. Chicken Run allows one to entertain mild but amusing long-term strategies and get busy implementing them immediately. A wry sense of humor, great graphics and a presentation that is oh-so-close-to-perfection makes Chicken Run a good catch.






Back To PlayStation Index