FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Forget emulation, it doesn't need to be perfect - I need a Chuckie Egg fix, right NOW! Where do I go?!

err ... right, then. Got a Java enabled web browser? Then go and play the original BBC 32K, AMSTRAD, SPECTRUM 48K or COMMODORE CM64 version online with Hob, JEMU, Jasper or JaC64 - all of which are emulator applets. Find them on the Links page. No Java? OK. Then, if you have a modern browser you should head on over to Mark Lomas' site to play his fantastic DHTML Chuckie Egg port online. If you're stuck with an older browser, hopefully you have the Macromedia Flash plugin for it so you can try Neil Crutchlow's popular Flash port of the BBC 32K release of Chuckie Egg which will let you register to compare your high scores against other online players. Alternatively, if playing online is not an option, then it's likely you're running Microsoft Windows of some description so check out the Retro Remakes page. Based on the BBC 32K version, Mike Elson's DirectX Chuckie Egg is the most featureful, oldest conversion of the original and is easy to install. Alternatively, Mark Lomas' Native Chuckie Egg for Windows is probably the most faithful direct modern port and is also available as an SDL version for Linux. Finally, if you have an iPhone or iPad, you could purchase ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection (Vol. 1) for Apple iOS. If none of these are suitable or you require a 100% faithful offline experience, emulation is likely to be your simplest option. You could even create a wallet-sized, mini CD-R with a bootable version of Chuckie Egg that will run - without requiring installation - on most PCs with a CD-ROM, from the directions on the Bootable CE page.

Q. How many levels does Chuckie Egg have and what happens when you reach the end?

"The released version of the game cycles through the eight different platform layouts five times giving 40 levels. After that it just repeats the last eight levels forever."
- Nigel Alderton (author of SPECTRUM 48K release), 80snostalgia.com interview (2002)
"It looped round and then there were more birds. The second time around the duck came out of the cage, it would dive-bomb you all the time. On the third time the hens walked at double speed and then on the fourth time, if you got that far, you got the fast hens and the duck. You could even go around another time. That gave you about 40 levels altogether. We didn't expect anyone to get that far because the time limit came down, too. There was no end screen, you just kept going and going. We expected people just to play until they got fed up with it, but people kept playing it and scoring millions. We were flabbergasted, really."
- Doug Anderson (author of BBC 32K release), Edge magazine 109: April 2002 - The making of ... Chuckie Egg
"... the real killer ... kicks in from (I think) level 48 onwards - the initial clock time decreases. You have 100 fewer ticks each time around the level cycle, until eventually from about level 120 there are only 100 ticks before the Harry loses a life. That makes the game tough even without any bad guys..."
- Mike Elson (author of retro remake, DirectX Chuckie Egg), March 2005
Speccy Spoilers, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum game endings archive, contains snapshots for both Chuckie Egg and Chuckie Egg 2 (Choccy Egg) - the former resets after level 256. You can experience any level of the BBC 32K release using the pokes documented on the release page, including Level 00 - the 256th absolute, final level before the game starts again. In Chuckie Egg 2 (Choccy Egg), there are four different toys, pictured on the Game Play page, used to create the easter eggs. After that, the toys loop round again. The RZX Archive contains a complete walk-through of Chuckie Egg 2 (Choccy Egg) which can be played back over approximately six hours, using Spectrum emulators that support the format.
- Editor's Note 19/10/2004

Q. If I port BBC 32K Chuckie Egg to a new platform, how can I ensure my conversion feels like the original?

The best place to start is probably the GPL source code provided by Mark Lomas for his Native SDL Chuckie Egg port. This project was designed and fully documented from the start to remain faithful to the original. Mark has also produced several articles discussing Chuckie Egg development, including a discussion of his DHTML port.

Q. Is there actually any difference between the SPECTRUM 48K and the BBC 32K original releases?

It's fairly apparent that the different machine architectures resulted in ports with different speeds - as well as the overall speed, the relative speeds of the characters and objects including Harry, the hens, Mother Duck and the lifts were different across the Spectrum BBC, Dragon etc. Another well-known notable variation between the two releases involves the physics of Hen House Harry's movement - particularly when jumping - and has led to the long-running debate over which release is better. Most players tend to prefer whichever version they grew up with.
A distinct difference in level layout occurs between the BBC 32K release and the SPECTRUM 48K version on level eight which is loosely based on Donkey Kong's last screen, the rivet level. On the SPECTRUM 48K version, the eggs are placed centrally in the gaps, whereas on the BBC 32K release they are stacked against the edge of a gap. This means it would be defensible to assert that particular level is slightly easier to complete on the BBC 32K once the player has worked out how to bounce from the pair of eggs nearest the highest ladder - leading to the top platform - down to the lowest level, collecting two other eggs along the way.
A difference in game engines results in the behaviour where, on the SPECTRUM 48K release, Harry can only move halfway across lifts on levels that have them tucked up against the edge of the screen - such as level 7. In the BBC 32K version, however, Harry can walk across the full width of the lift. Similarly, the BBC 32K game engine results in the infamous Fall Through Lift behaviour, detailed on the Game Play page.
The SPECTRUM 48K release has a couple of extra colours on screen, a fact which irked some BBC micro users who knew that their machine was just as capable of displaying the extra colours. In recent years, a new patch has been developed for the BBC 32K release which adds the missing colours - see Hacks and Upgrades.
The final, obvious difference is that the SPECTRUM 48K suffers from the infamous Spectrum colour clashes whenever Harry or the birds climb or walk through ladders, eggs or seed.

Q. Chuckie Egg was excellent. I remember when I/my mate/my family relation (delete as applicable) reached that level where there were two Mother Ducks chasing Harry. That was cool, wasn't it?

Ah, no. No, you don't "remember" that. Your feverishly, over-Chuckie-ed, brain has invented that. You can see that the quotations above, obtained from the original Chuckie Egg authors Nigel Alderton and Doug Anderson, clearly deny any further changes to the level design from Level 40 onwards - the game cycles around these last eight levels ad infinitum with an ever-decreasing time limit. There is NO known original release of Chuckie Egg which contains two Mother Ducks. You can prove it to yourself on the BBC 32K release by using the pokes described on the release page to jump to the later levels - if you find a level with two Mother Ducks, let us know ... ;)
That said, it's interesting this delusion comes up time and again, however, as this is one of the features that Nigel Alderton claimed to have wanted to include in his original version, according to his 80snostalgia.com interview.
UPDATE: Recently, Edo Broekman released his Chuckie Egg retro remake, EggStatic, which includes many additional features including those that Nigel Alderton, according to his 80snostalgia.com interview, had hoped to include in the original Spectrum release but was forced to drop, citing time pressures, such as missing ladders and platforms to disrupt a player's patterns later in the game and the popularly mis-remembered second duck (a hawk, in this remake), that has a different speed and acceleration to the first.
- Editor's Note 15/08/2005

Q. I'm sure I read somewhere that some later level of Chuckie Egg had invisible hens, apart from that you could see their eyes. Or something?

Never heard of it ... but it sure sounds cool! :)

Q. How do I become a Chuckie Egg Professional?

See the High Scores page to find out how to attain Chuckie Egg Professional status.

Q. What is the Chuckie Egg Professional's Resource Kit?

The Chuckie Egg Professional's Resource Kit is a collection of all the known releases of Chuckie Egg. See the Emulation page for further information and download details.

Q. Are there any cheats?

Shame on you. The first Chuckie Egg release with a built-in cheat was for the Tatung Einstein. There are also cheat modes for the Android 1.5 (Cupcake) version of Chuckie Egg and for both the original and sequel games on the AMIGA and ATARI ST. Alternatively, there are pokes available for the BBC 32K, the AMSTRAD and the COMMODORE CM64 releases. Check out their release pages for full details.

Q. Overall, which is the best official release of Chuckie Egg?

A very subjective question. In the whole BBC 32K vs. SPECTRUM 48K debate that's been raging for the last thirty years, passions run high. Looking objectively, without bias to any preferred platform and after an exhaustive analysis of the alternatives, it is not uncommon for the Chuckie Egg professional to surprise both camps in the holy war and stand firmly with the lesser known AMSTRAD release, which combines the speed and playability of the BBC 32K version with the more colourful SPECTRUM 48K graphics, albeit at the expense of some slight vertical squashing. Of course, if you're willing to accept unofficial hacks and upgrades to the original codebase, the emergence of the Chuckie Egg XT extended edition arguably brings the flag firmly back into the BBC 32K camp. Check out the Polls page to see how popular the releases are with other visitors to the site and to cast your own vote.

Q. I want to design my own custom levels for Chuckie Egg - is that possible?

Yep - that's possible for the BBC 32K, DRAGON, SPECTRUM 48K and ELECTRON ports, take a look at the Hacks & Upgrades page to find out how. For any of the other releases, you'll have to resort to hacking the program (let us know how you get on!). Of course, if you're using Mike Elson's DirectX Chuckie Egg retro remake, all the levels are stored in a nice text file and it can take advantage of custom graphics too!

Q. Ugh! What's with the site's awful colours?

They're taken from the BBC 32K release to give it that Chuckie Egg feel. If you don't like it, just check the morph colour scheme button in the links column on the left until it reaches a colour scheme you prefer.

Q. It hurts! How am I supposed to read text at that size?

If the font size is too small for you, just hit the increase font button, labelled A+, in the links column on the left until it reaches a size you're more comfortable with.