|Publisher: PlayFirst Genre: Arcade|
|Min OS X: 10.4 CPU: G4 @ 800 MHz RAM: 256 MB Hard Disk: 32 MB Graphics: 800x600|
Click to enlarge
The story is told as diary entries; here, a level objective (to serve 16 customers) is also being set
Graphics: Turkish DelightGraphics in The Great Chocolate Chase are certainly very attractive without being spectacular. They're hand-drawn in much the same kind of style as the other games in the Chocolatier series, and although there are few flashy effects and relatively limited animations, the overall effect is very pleasing, and the chocolate-box inspiration for the various decorated action buttons and other elements is very clear. The artwork itself is generally very apt and attractive.
Perhaps my only practical quibble relating to the graphics was with the chocolate itself: when an empty chocolate pot is initially filled with chocolate, its colour can be deceptive; dark chocolate in the pot looks a much paler colour than it does in its solid form, which on several occasions led me to make an error as I mistook it for milk chocolate. I got used to it eventually, but it's an inconsistency.
As usual, these are straightforward bitmap graphics in a fixed 800×600-pixel screen size, and the game can be played either full-screen or in a window.
Sound: Quality StreetAs mentioned above, I would have appreciated an audible rasp or some other obvious cue to let me know that I had not been able to pick up an item that wasn't yet ready during the game; that would have made a genuine improvement to playability. Aside from that minor quibble, though, there is very little to complain about with the sound. The use of sound is as good as one could expect from a game of this type.
Moreover, as with the other Chocolatier games, the music is excellent. The orchestral main title theme is very catchy and memorable, and I found myself whistling it when away from the computer. Each game location also has its own appropriate theme, and again they're very good, and of a high enough quality not to become annoying with repetition. So, full marks for the music.
Conclusion: All GoldI really enjoyed The Great Chocolate Chase. I felt that the few minor gameplay problems mentioned above did let it down in a very minor way, and are the sort of problems that might well be fixed in a future follow-up title. Nevertheless, they didn't hamper the game significantly once I had got used to them. Perhaps these minor shortcomings led me to feel that there was a slight loss of slickness compared with some of PlayFirst's other Dash-series titles, but it certainly wasn't enough to spoil my enjoyment.
On the other hand, the upmarket subject matter, very attractive graphics and period setting of this game give it a unique appeal within the Dash-style genre. Moreover, its detailed story, which is presented through diary entries between all the levels, is far more extensive and pervasive than in any other action game of this type that I've seen before. Although I have to say that it's not always exactly riveting, at least some significant effort has been put into the story, and it does engage the player's interest to a far greater degree than I've seen before in a game of this type.
So I can certainly recommend this game to any player, and particularly to those who've enjoyed the Chocolatier series already. Obviously it's entirely different in nature, but the appeal is very similar in terms of visuals and chocolate content! So, if you're on a diet, don't eat that chocolate biscuit; just play The Great Chocolate Chase instead! It's much easier on the waistline.
Pros• Kinder to the hips than the average chocolate confection
• Unusually detailed story for a game of this type
• Great music, attractive graphics and good fun for all the family
• Plenty of rewards to aim for
• Ten more levels than the usual Dash-style fare (60 rather than 50)
• Well-judged, gradual increase in difficulty throughout the game
• Interesting reuse of characters and content from an unrelated game series
Cons• Occasional frustration from apparently unregistered mouse-clicks
• Occasional uncertainty about what will happen next when making chocolates
• Mastery seems almost impossible to achieve on the most challenging levels