Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers
Chip and Dale, or Chip 'n Dale as they were more commonly known, were Disney's most beloved chipmunk duo. The pair has shared a lot of laughs over the years, and brought many a smile to a young child's face. Things weren't always so cheeky and happy though; Circumstance and personal conflicts nearly drove the two apart permanently. Come with me as we explore the The Story of... Chip 'n Dale: Behind The Nuts.
The comedic duo first hit the screen in 1943 in the Disney cartoon "Private Pluto". The two acted as the antagonists to Pluto, who was ordered by Sgt. Pete to guard a pill-box that the chipmunks were using to store their foraging efforts. The pair was such a hit that in 1947 the writers at Disney decided to see what chemistry could be formed with the chipmunks hijinks and Donald Duck's short-tempered antics. They never predicted the success the three would have. From there, Chip and Dale made a number of appearances with Disney, often starring along side Donald, to do what they did best. While not earning as large of paychecks as the more popular Disney characters, they were able to support a very comfortable living. But this newfound wealth and success would be the start of what nearly left one of them dead.
When the money started rolling in, Chip invested most of what he could in stock options and high-interest, long-term bonds. Dale however, was never one to think for the future, spending his money on whatever caught his eye. In the mid- to late-sixties, Dale began experiment heavily with drugs. Anything he could get his hands on, he would try. Cocaine, heroin, LSD, all in excess. Their completely different lifestyles began to pull them apart, until it got to the point where they didn't even speak to one another for nearly a decade. Coming up after the break, Dale's downward spiral, and Chip's resolution.
In the early 80's, Dale's extravagent lifestyle finally caught up to him. With his fortune spent, he had to resort to begging and petty crime to support his cocaine habit. He even tried to get money from his old friend Chip, but the level-headed chipmunk couldn't stand to see Dale in that state, much less enable it. Things finally hit rock bottom for Dale when he overdosed on a bad batch of Nicaraguan smack. He was rushed to the ER where he clinically died on the table twice, before ending up in a coma. Dale had Chip listed as his next of kin, so it wasn't long before Chip was at Dale's side, wondering where everything went so terribly wrong. As he watched his friend being kept alive by a machine, Chip made a resolution. If Dale ever recovered, Chip would take it upon himself to put Dale through rehab, and then bring him back to what he loved to do: television. Dale eventually did come out of the coma, and successfully completed his rehabilitation program. The abuses of his past would never fully leave, as he was rendered mentally deficient, and his nose was left with a permanent red tinge. Chip sold his entire stock porfolio and began a long and grueling audition to find co-stars for their project. They eventually settled upon a mouse and mosquito pair named Monterey Jack and Zipper, and a mouse named Gadget. (There is an on-going rumour that Gadget got the part by less respectable means, but this have never been confirmed). They also picked up Professor Norton Nimnul and Fat Cat as recurring villians. They completed production of their full-length television movie Rescue Rangers: To The Rescue in 1988, and it went over so well, that they were offered a half-hour spot on the Disney channel. The renewed interest in the pair was just what Dale needed to kick his habits for good; He's been clean ever since.
You may be wondering why I decided to divulge all that information on Chip and Dale's personal lives when I should be reviewing a video game. Well, maybe I felt it was necessary to provide some prologue to fully understand how the game came to be. Maybe I wanted to have an explanation as to why Dale is a fucking idiot with a red nose. Or maybe it's because this game is so fucking short, if I didn't, the article would be over by now. Seriously, it took me all of an hour to play through the game, but am I going to let that discourage me? Well, if you're reading this, then I guess not. So the game starts off with a story about some kid named Mandy and her lost pussy. Gadget also says she going to scatter some things for you. I also don't really understand the point of this, because there's not that much in the game that wouldn't be naturally occuring. There is an inordinate number of crates in the game, and some flower tokens that don't do anything, but other than that you see logs in the forest and apples in the suburbs.
I had intended at this point to make some comment about the size of chipmunks in relation to the size of apples and to the size of the average dog. Unfortunately no one wants to tell me how big a chipmunk is. So I asked Lexxe 'how big are chipmunks?' and got the answer! Chipmunks are 18 inches by 24 inches. Now in the screenshot above, the apple looks about the same height as Chip, but looks wider. Therefore, I estimate that the apples in this game are two feet wide and two feet high. Now that's a big apple. Not only is it big, it's also unaffected by gravity. Despite sweating profusely when he picks one up, Chip can throw giant apples perfectly horizontal. The first level takes place on the streets, on telephone wires, and inside of a laboratory. There's really no better way to describe the level, just look at the pictures.
Once you're done with level one, you come upon a large crate. When you touch the crate, cheese pops out. When the cheese pops out, Monterey Jack runs on screen, grabs the cheese and plows right through the wall. When your cheese gets stolen, you get pissed and go take out your frustrations on the next thing you see, which happens to be the first boss. In other articles I've written, I usually have a few screen shots of the bosses. That's probably not going to be the case this time around, because most of the bosses are pretty lame. This one takes the cake though. It looks like a pile of pink tires with arms. Now, if the arms moved and attacked you with those brushes, it might be acceptable. It doesn't. All it does it shoot lightning bolts at you. Really, really slow moving lightning bolts. To beat this piece of crap you have to grab the red ball and throw it up at the green ball a couple of times. If you can't do that, you deserve to be struck by lightning.
When you beat the first level, you find out that the whole lost kitten thing was a ruse by Fat Cat to kidnap Gadget. In typical video game villian protocol, Fat Cat then tells you where he's hiding and challenges you to come and get her back. You are then presented with a map showing some levels and some choices about which path to take. Looking at the map, you might think that level B is more difficult than levels A and C. It isn't. You might also think that there is some benefit to go through level E. There isn't. I feel it is my duty to dispell any misguided expectations you may have as to whether or not any effort was put into making this game. There wasn't. For the sake of writing this article, I played through every level anyway, and it still only took an hour to beat. Well, let's continue shall we?
Level A takes place in a tree. It has caterpillars and flying ninja squirrels for enemies. It's also damn short. At the top there's a hole that leads to boss A.
You might think that after entering a hole in the side of a tree, the boss battle would take place inside of a tree. You'd be wrong. The battle takes place on the shared branch of a pair of conjoined trees. Here you have to fight an owl, using another conveniently placed red ball. This boss impresses me, not because he drops feathers at you and dives, but because the owl is actually a predator of the chipmunk. Either someone on the design came back from the crapper at this point, or it's just a coincidence. I have a feeling it's the latter. After the fight you find out that Gadget can communicate with you through a phone she built. If you happened to skip level A, you'd never know this. Would it make any difference in your life? Probably not.
Level B takes place in the kitchen. Is it the kitchen of the house that the laboratory was in? I don't know, and I really don't care. If you're still expecting any form of continuity from this game, you're delusional. The most interesting thing about this level is that there are shape-shifting aliens. When you get close enough to them, they transform into your exact likeness. Then they lock you away, steal all your shit, go to your house, have sex with your wife, teach your kids how to knife someone if he pisses you off, and take over your entire fucking life. Hey, that sounds like a good idea for a movie. I can totally see Cage and Travolta in the leading roles. No wait, I don't want Travolta, he might get offended when I tell everyone that Scientology is a brainwashing cult, and then he might refuse to promotional work for the film. Nevermind.
This boss is an alien ship. I know this because it drops aliens. That, or it's a giant nose that flings globs of snot at you. Occasionally it will try to run you over. Unless you have no hands, this boss is a joke. Let's move on.
Level C takes us through a library, and is kind of long. On top of that, it doesn't even have a boss. Maybe the designers felt that if you were stupid enough to play two levels when you could have played one, you probably couldn't handle fighting another challenging boss battle. Maybe not. I don't fucking care, can we just move on?
Moving right along our handy-dandy map brings us to level D. This level takes place in a toy room of some sort. It's actually a fairly challenging and diverse level. Those tough characters Gadget was talking about are actually bodybuilding roosters in black wife-beaters. They take two hits to kill, and they punch boxes. There are also rabbits that try to kill you by lifting the carpet and sending deadly ripples toward you. Is it a very threatening concept? Not really, but at least it's different.
The boss of level D is a step in the right direction. You actually need an IQ greater than 50 to beat him. He may only move on and off screen, but he fires a spread of lethal gumballs at you that varies in quantity and colour. You also actually have to jump and throw to beat it. I get a feeling we're soon going to be separating the men from the boys.
Level E is long. Really long. It's so long that you have to travel from a boreal forest all the way to the desert and back again. Along the way you get to ride in a boat, and use a hammer to get through a block of cement. You don't fight any enemies while doing either, so I don't really understand why these elements were included in the game. I'm guessing either to entertain kids, or to annoy me as I try to write this article. I knew Disney always had a grudge against me. As you may remember from the map, you don't have to play level E. To make it so long and pointless is exceptionally cruel and inhumane.
Speaking of cruel and inhumane, let's beat the shit out of some more animals. In this battle we have to take on an electric fish. I knew a guy once who made a rat fight a salmon in a fish tank. Needless to say, being severly out of it's element, the rodent lost. Things turn out differently for Chip though, because he's wearing a fedora. Once you fry this fish, and realize you've just wasted your time playing level E for nothing, you get the privilege of playing level F.
Level F really just involves dodging a few falling balls and then climbing up a ventilation shaft on shifting bars. When you get to the top there's. . . , nothing. No boss, no nothing. Well, at least we're getting closer to the end. Right?
Welcome to Fat Cat's casino. It has slot machines, just in case you missed the fact that it's a casino. The level takes place on the floor and on the flourescent lights. It's really a boring level, so let's just get this over with.
Here's another boss for the mentally inferior. It throws coins at you in five very predictable directios, depending on where you're standing. The spikes may throw lesser players for a loop, but otherwise you kill the cat and save Gadget. That's when things go from bad to worse.
No! Hell no! I call bullshit. It's not over? I have to go through three more levels of this crap? Why? What did I ever do to deserve this? Maybe it's punishment for going into outer space, and returning to earth in a rocket, when just flying to the new area in a plane would have sufficed. Whatever, here we go.
Not only do the game designers make you go through three "bonus" levels, they also start rehashing enemies. In the sewers you will find flying squirrels and aliens, just like in real life. Level H doesn't have a boss to slow us down, so maybe the designers decided to show a modicum of remorse and let get on with our lives.
The next level is somewhat interesting. It has the obligatory fans that blow you backward, but lacks the fans that suck you in and mutilate you. It also introduces us to the pelican. If you throw a box at a pelican, it catches the box in its mouth and throws it back at you. To beat them, you have to duck and throw the box, thereby breaking their legs and putting them in excruciating pain until you finally euthanise them. This level has a boss too, so let's get to that.
After getting hit, this boss will walk to the center of the screen and fall apart. The emotionally strain of playing second fiddle to a fat bastard like Fat Cat is just too much to bear when coupled with getting the shit beat out of you by a chipmunk. The flying body parts may be difficult to dodge at first, but they always bounce in the same pattern, so once you learn it, the boss is a joke. If you expected anything more, you're kidding yourself.
Alright we're finally at the last level, (I hope). It appears to be some sort of cat food factory. Some of Fat Cat's goons are back, and this time they're armed. They either shoot plungers at you, or blatantly ripoff Oddjob. Aside from that, you also have to dodge mechanical axes before you reach the final countdown, er, showdown.
Throughout the course of this article I've been giving the subtle impression that this game is really easy. Which it is, for the most part. The last battle, however, may take a couple of tries to win. Fat Cat's only attack involves him flicking his cigar, firing a spread of ashes. The tricky part is that you never know exactly where the ashes are going to be coming from next, so they're hard to dodge. You really have to grab that red ball and throw it as fast as you can. After you beat this fat bastard it shows the team giving themselves a pat on the back, and says Fat Cat will probably come back, therefore implying a sequel.
So what's my final verdict on this game? Well, it's pretty subpar for a game from 1990, but as a short little diversion, it's not all bad. I can think of worse things to waste an hour on. Like daytime soaps, a new Law & Order spinoff, or CSI: New York.
Posted by: Valdronius
These two gumshoes are picking up the tracks