Friday 23 April 2010

Quik the Thunder Rabbit

Yet more speedy hares to add to the collection

The latest addition? "Quik the Thunder Rabbit". A game featuring a small blue running creature that attacks enemies by rolling into them... sound familiar? Developed by a company known as Stywox and released in 1994 by Titus, Quik the Thunder Rabbit was one of many Sonic alternatives for the Amiga, DOS computers and the short-lived CD32 console. Its creators have dropped off the face of the earth and these days the game is considered abandonware. But it's a Sonic clone... you can't not take a look.

Believe it or not but Sonic himself was a rabbit at one point. The concept was replaced in favour of hedgehogs, but the designs were channeled to another Sega IP, Ristar, before being scrapped entirely. Fast rabbits (or hares) date back to Aesop's fable where one was placed against a tortoise in a race, a theme that is heavily referred to in the DOS game Jazz Jackrabbit, the most well known Sonic clone. Less obvious is the coffee-stained Toxic Bunny, which throws beverages into the mix. But that's not the end of it - Konami's 1993 Mega Drive hit, Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure is also obviously influenced by Sonic. There's clearly a theme going on here, and it's a bit surprising that a developer would wish to re-create the wheel, but here we go anyway.

The differences between versions mainly lie in the backgrounds - the DOS version has no backgrounds, the Amiga has basic backgrounds and the Amiga CD32 has sexy parallax backgrounds. Music quality is also obviously different between the three, as are other negligable things like screen resolutions and loading times. The CD32 also adds a nicer introduction cutscene (in which a blue hedgehog is knocked off the road) and is generally accepted to be the best version of the game, but unfortunately emulating it means messing around with disc burners and that's not something I can be bothered to do. This means today I'm reviewing the regular Amiga copy, which was likely the most successful of the bunch anyway.

You might of guessed that the game's a platformer. You have to get from one end of the map to the other without getting killed and occasionally obtaining some sort of item or two in between (which can be found when travelling back in time and avoiding birds). Unfortunately Quik the Thunder Rabbit is the very definition of obscure - very little information exists on the internet about it, and so I'm wandering into largely unexplored territory here.

Quik can run and jump through colourful worlds, and occasionally finds powerups that can allow him to run and jump faster and higher. I'm not entirely certain what the story is, though I suspect there's carrots involved. Either way it seems perfectly acceptable to attack woodland critters such as foxes and... snakes. And it also seems to make sense having half dressed human ladies standing by the exits.

Quik unfortunately falls down in the same areas that most other Sonic clones do. Sonic's fast speeds meant the designers set it so that every time Sonic jumps, he spins, and can therefore destroy enemies in mid-air. In Quik, spinning is assigned to a separate button to jumping and only lasts for a couple of seconds, and so it's easy to be punished for going too quick. The physics are also very different than Sonic. For example, when Quik hits an enemy, he will rebound, leading to potentially disastrous results. He'll also bounce if he hits the floors or walls in this state, so you need to get used to that.

There are also three separate life meters. One which acts as a traditional life meter, which decreases when you're hit, and the other two gradually decrease over time unless you collect food and drink. So essentially you need to keep this rabbit alive through traditional methods too. It's not the most friendly of systems, as often the items will blend in with their surroundings making it even more tricky, and the temptation is always there to run around like an idiot and lose everything.

After every four levels you'll be taken to a labyrinth stage, where you'll eventually confront a boss. The stages are spread across two disks so as you may imagine, it's a reasonably sized game. It's also a good looking one with a nice graphical style (especially the CD32 version), similar to what several indie or flash titles do today. The soundtrack is great also, but this is to be expected of an Amiga game.

Overall I can safely say I enjoyed this game. Perhaps not as much as Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but it's worth giving a go. For some reason I feel this game should have been brought to the Super Nintendo, probably because lesser Amiga titles like Oscar and Magic Boy were. I guess for whatever reason Titus didn't want to challenge Sega in the console market, though it would have been nice for this game to receive the recognition it deserves.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, with a title like "Quik the Thunder Rabbit", I'm amazed they weren't sued by Nestlé.