Yup, you read right Boomers, this issue, the review zone is going back in time to 1991, a retro review if you may.

The game is Decap Attack, the software upon Sonic the Comic's beloved comedy strip was based on, but do not expect much in common between the two other than a few character design similarities. Whereas STC's Decap Attack is comedic, and features the misadventures of an odd trio, Decap Attack the game features Chuck D. Head in a quest to save the world, aided along the way by the Doctor, and Igor.

I'm sure the largest difference is right there, in STC, we all know Igor wouldn't help Chuck at all...

But, this review is about the game more than anything. Upon starting this, it must be stated that the review is taking into account that the game is now 17 years old! As such, the viewpoint of the review is “what is this game like to play now? Has it aged well to be worth the hunt to find a copy?”

Well, to begin with, the plot isn't exactly special, and is the loose original version of battling back against Max D. Cap, who has split the skeleton shaped world into fragments. Chuck must travel to each fragment and bring it back into the greater whole again. Each fragment consists of a level, which is divided into 3 acts (to use terminology anyone reading this will understand) each. Each of these levels is given a body part related name, often in the form of a large pun. For example, we have El Beau Island or Last Leg Land. (*Groan* ~ Megadroid)

You control Chuck in a classic 2D platforming style of game play. The controls are tight and easy to use with a rather reliable large jump with which to go about your business. For those who miss a jump, or know they are about to miss a ledge, there is a handy “glide” of sorts when you tap the jump button frantically, making Chuck kick his legs like a madman and slow his descent. This is indeed essential to get by a few of the more acrobatic areas, and successfully nailing it can feel pretty cool. In essence, whoever designed the levels took good thought into how the player moves.

Of course, no level is without it's baddies. In this case a large selection of monsters featuring ravens, monster-eating plants, arrow firing critters and miniature werewolves. None are particular tough (although the plants give some pause for thought) and often die to one attack, but their placement ensures that you give good due to timing of jumps to create another form of challenge. Boiling water pits and other such “instant death” obstacles exist (along with the good old classic, the falling blocks when you stand on them) to aid the levels attempts to defeat you.

Speaking loosely on attacks there, Chuck has possibly one of the greatest attacks in the history of video gaming. As we all know from the comic strip, Chuck could extend his neck to headbutt people at range...well...that's exactly what you do. There's always a modicum of fun related to giving someone a headbutt from over 3 feet away without moving your body. To enhance this attack, you may find Head around the areas. Although in the game he is just a random skull with no name, he functions in the same manner, to simply throw him at enemies. Functioning like a boomerang, Head will return to you after each throw until you are hit, upon which he 'heads' off. (I can assure you such a pun will never happen again, if it does, he's fired ~ Megadroid)

To compliment your abilities, there are multiple items Chuck can find and store for use. These take the form of potions found when smashing statues, and will increase your speed, jump height, attack distance or give you invincibility, destroy all enemies on screen and even stop everything else from moving. They are useful, but it often falls into a case of not knowing when or how to use them, for fear of needing them later on. However, the first 3 levels (9 acts) required no uses at all, so they may simply be a complimentary add on.

The levels look particularly nice in places, and showcase a somewhat surreal design, often you will encounter strange designs that defy description in a real spooky sense. It's all in parody of course, but it sets the scene well. However they do occasionally feel a little over cluttered, and even more often exactly what you are allowed to stand on it very unclear. The first level is very guilty, with “see through” blocks that are easy to miss when frantically dodging enemies. Furthermore on a slight negative slant, the “glide” ability can often result in being able to skip almost all of the level most of the time in the more open stages. It could be thought of as “a good tactic” but you end up missing on all the platforming, even if you didn't really mean to.

To get the final large criticism out of the way, each levels third act contains a “special” item that must be found before exiting can be acquired. This reviewer completed the first level, defeated the boss and went to stroll out...only to be told to go back and find an item that had not been previously mentioned. This felt tedious, especially as the item turned out to be back at the beginning of the level in a very un-noticeable area, inside a statue of which there are dozens scattered along the whole stage. The exact appeal of this feature was approximately 'nothing.'

On the whole though, levels are fun, different in aim now and again (one has you running from a killer totem pole, while another has a very “up then down” slant to it's layout) and always keeps the player thinking. While not exactly challenging, the game isn't “easy” either. You probably won't get through on your first few lives, and the nicely thought out continue system will help you well.

One thing of great note is the music. It can be a tad repetitive, and often repeats in later levels, but it's catchy and suits the pace of the game well. It's hard to fault really.

But of course, this is a 17 year old game, does it still hold up now? Well, at full retail price, obviously not, but that isn't our focus. It's a tight, solid and fun platformer from an age when such things were in good demand. Were this to be released on modern consoles arcades, I would recommend giving it a bash this Halloween for a little fun.

Final Countdown!
Tight gameplay.
Good music.
Nice level of challenge.
Some slightly confusing areas.
Annoying item collecting.
Sega Superstars Tennis
Console - Megadrive
Released - May 23rd 1991
Developer - Vic Tokai
Publisher - SEGA
Reviewer - Iain Stewart
STC's Rating System:
Under 40 = Yawnsville
40-70 = Normalsville
70-80 = Fun City
80-90 = Big Time City
90+ = Mega City
Review Zone