Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Chase the ChuckWagon -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewSpectravision Chase the ChuckWagon for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Chase the ChuckWagon
Manufacturer: Spectravision
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1983
Part #: n/a
Rating: 1 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Spectravision Chase the ChuckWagon Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Spectravision Chase the ChuckWagon Screenshot:
Spectravision Chase the ChuckWagon for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

I wish I could say this review came from having just taken a Chase the ChuckWagon cartridge out of my 2600, but I'm not fortunate enough to own one. Actually, very few people own this cart - you couldn't buy it in a store. It was part of a mail-in promotion from the Ralston Purina dog food folks. Remember those ads where a lazy dog would suddenly see a miniature chuck wagon zoom past him and he'd go crazy trying to catch it. Hard to say if the chase was for food or a kill.

Due the peculiar nature of obtaining this game, its a very rare title. Unfortunately the game is fairly awful. Via the Stella 2600 emulator I've had the dubious privilege of playing this atrocity on my computer. Its value surely comes from its rarity, not the game play. Still its fun to have the opportunity to play it first hand. Purina has been contacted so often about this game that they did some research to conclude all un-shipped games were destroyed.

Ralston Purina ChuckWagon dog food box top Classic Video Game Review

Loosely based on the TV commercial, Chase the ChuckWagon drops you in a maze where you play the dog, Chuckie. Beginning at the center of the maze with 3 lives, you navigate it's utterly simplistic design to get Chuckie to the exit at the top of the screen next to the Chuck Wagon. Go Purina!

Successfully exiting the maze brings you to a reward screen where a dog dish moves vertically. When the dish is level with Chuckie, fire at the right time and chuckie gets a meal and you get 100 bonus points. Next it's off to the next maze. In attempt to make this game suck less, Spectravision added a few foes in the form of blocky shapes (unsure what they are) and a dog catcher.

The blocky things bounce from side to side ignoring the path of the maze. If one of them touches Chuckie, he is temporarily frozen thus decreasing your score. If caught by the dog catcher (who does follow the path of the maze) you lose a life.

Difficulty Switch Settings for Chase the ChuckWagon

Reference is made to "setting a switch" for expert mode. It's hard to say if this regards a difficulty switch setting or something else. Expert mode will increase the speed and limit you to 30 seconds per maze. The only real way to increase the difficulty is cutting off your arm mid-game.

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Spectravision Chase the ChuckWagon

is for the dogs. Once you get over the uniqueness of it's history, the game itself sucks ass to the point where you'd likely yank it from the console before properly turning the power off or force-quitting your emulator.

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