Say, you look mighty familiar…
Nope, you’re not seeing things. These familiar little characters, whom you no doubt recognize from the 1986 hit Bubble Bobble, first made their gaming debut two years earlier. They were the enemy characters in Taito’s formative platformer Chack’n Pop, which is, incidentally, this week’s entry to Hamster’s Arcade Archives range.
Released in arcades in 1984, before finding its way to a host of preliminary console platforms, Chack’n Pop is a painfully cute cartoon adventure starring a globular character with comically extendable legs. Players are tasked with guiding Chack’n, (for that is his name), through a series of mazes, utilizing his extra-long appendages to clamber over walls, attach to ceilings, and squeeze through small gaps. Standing in Chack’n’s way is a posse of “Monstas” and Mightas,” who must be either avoided or subdued with a supply of bouncing explosives. Chack’n is, it appears, a real demolition blob.
Chack out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Old Classic Retro Gaming.
Chack’n Pop would be a hit in Japanese arcades thanks to its cute ‘n’ colorful nature, before heading into the home via a series of ports on platforms such as the Famicom, the SG-1000, the FM-7, and MSX. The game’s true legacy, however, lies in its introduction of various famous sprites, that Taito would reuse as enemy characters in Bubble Bobble, arguably the title that truly put the developer on the global gaming map. Chack’n himself is considered an important part of company history and has since made cameo appearances in later releases such as Bubble Memories, NY Captor, and Ben Bero Beh.
Chack’n Pop is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.