Sunday, April 13, 2008
Xbox Live Arcade Desires: Chu Chu Rocket! Live
The Xbox Live Arcade service has proven to be a great platform for revitalizing older PC and console titles and delivering them to a newer audience - however there are some games missing that may prove to be excellent additions to the service. Consider this....
Chu Chu Rocket! Live
Sega really has a hard time releasing their games. The Xbox 360 has little Japanese penetration, the PS3's price is still forcing slower-than-desired console sales, the PS2 has little online connectivity or unique style, Sonic has crapped all over the house, and cult-classic titles sell whimsically in the US. Seems like the Wii, with it's global popularity and unique control scheme to boot is a logical choice, no? This is very true for larger titles like Samba De Amigo and Space Channel 5. One would believe there is little case then, for Sega to release much on the 360. Believe it or not, a Chu Chu release for the 360 is probably one of Sega's best ways to get their foot in the door.
The Xbox Live Arcade service's games are typically smaller, more "compact" titles that are simple, yet engrossing. In essence, most games on the service play like a true arcade game - short 3 minute games that are fun but quick to end. Chu Chu Rocket! is very much like this - a truly fun but simple and short puzzler with some whacky multiplayer on the side. Sega doesn't need 500 reasons to release this - there's one simple reason: it would simply fit in perfectly with offerings currently available. Seem weak? Those same offerings are selling like hotcakes according to official Microsoft figures, which peg downloads at 25,000,000 and counting. On the technical side the game's base code is small and compact, likely easily placed onto an Xbox Memory Unit, and the GBA port from years past also means the code base has likely been placed onto a universal platform, which makes for easy porting.
The Xbox platform also lends itself to some enhancements to Chu Chu that would be the next logical steps for the puzzler. The mayhem of multiplayer simply screams to be taken online and could easily be integrated into the game without skipping a beat. Different board types and configurations could also be stepped up to create new ways of directing the rodents to their ships. Kapu Kapus could be expanded into a variety of different kinds with different traits, such as speed, ability to jump, explode, etc. Take these gameplay changes, combine them with the multiplayer level editor and then throw in the seamless Xbox Live experience and you've got a seriously killer package.
Where is it?
Chu Chu Rocket! Live is a simple concept but is tied down under a 400 pound gorilla named...Sega. While it certainly seems certain parts of the company have managed to pull their head out of their ass and get some decent titles into the pipe (including a quiet XBLA release of Golden Axe), there are still powers that be in the company that haven't figured out any sort of road map for the company. Sega still exhibits an extremely disjointed mentality where the left hand does not know what the right one is up to. Unfortunately fixing this problem likely entails literally breaking the company down to its individual parts and forcefully extracting some deeply penetrated people that have somehow managed to screw things up for ten years without anyone figuring out who they are. Oh well, at least we can dream...