His name is Alfred.
And he is, indeed, a chicken.
Today, I’ll be talking about his game: Alfred Chicken on the NES.
Released back in 1994 for the Game Boy, the game was also on the Amiga, the NES and the SNES, though the latter was different and long enough to be considered a sort-of sequel.
You play as Alfred, a punky-haired chicken who may not fly very well or be able to jump on enemies to destroy them but who boasts some nifty tricks nonetheless. Being a chicken, he can peck pretty good, which comes in handy when getting rid of all the balloons you’ll need to find to finish the levels.
What am I? A chicken?
Alfred can also dive beak-first onto enemies, springs or breakable surfaces, his main attack.
For a chicken who never looks fully awake, he’s rather good at turning into deadly rockets at the drop of a hat.
Do be careful with dive-bombing, however, as missing an enemy could get you stuck on the ground for a bit.
Chickens don’t bounce back.
The levels are completely out there and make very little sense. At least Kirby was dreaming! Alfred Chicken’s reality is somehow just as surreal.
The first level is covered in cheese and is populated by fake mice, to give you an idea.
There’s also an underwater level full of angry clocks…
And a toy level with letters all over the place.
I could go on about the levels but suffice it to say that they are trippy and a lot of fun to manoeuvre around, even if they are sometimes surprisingly challenging. Alfred Chicken may sound like a baby game but it is nowhere near as straight-forward as you’d expect.
I would advise keeping your eyes peeled for secret areas throughout as those will offer much needed powerups. Chances are though, the first time playing this one, you’ll burst into feathers and be reborn again more times than you can count.
Because Alfred Chicken is either immortal or there are thousands and thousands of eggs out there containing the exact SAME chicken and that’s a little discomforting.
You’ll know you’ve found a secret area when Alfred wanders through a wall somehow.
I love it when that happens.
This usually leads you to meeting some smiley flower called Mr Peckles who throws a pot of jam at you.
Who would have thought that flowers even knew about jam?
Or could talk!
Mr Peckles is crazy useful in this game: he gives you stuff, congratulates you, sends you through portals, out into space.
Because chickens, as we all know, can totally breathe in space.
It seems like Alfred is in the middle of some huge cosmic battle we’re not really given much information about, which is why all this stuff comes off as so weird to us. It’s also why Alfred looks mostly cool with whatever comes his way: he knows what’s going on, he’s just not telling anyone.
Because he’s a chicken.
Alfred’s arch-enemy is some big green robot shaped not unlike a snowman and he doesn’t exactly explain why he hates our chicken hero so much though he does introduce us to a truly fascinating notion.
How is that not a Saturday morning cartoon?
The Mighty Meka Chickens!
Get on that, Nickelodeon.
Believe it or not, the game is much more cerebral than you’d expect.
I mean, it’s not, like, making you solve complex chicken equations or anything but it’s not akin to some of the Sonic games where you can kind of get through the early levels by just running around like a maniac. There’s some problem-solving involved here and it requires you to stop to figure stuff out every so often.
This bit, for example, involves pecking the arrows which control this bomb which you need to lead through the breakable blocks in the middle, leaving yourself enough space to squeeze through and push the button without bumping into the bomb.
It’s way more tedious than it looks but hugely satisfying once you finally get it done.
The game ends with Mr Peckles giving you a reward.
So I guess, in this world, flowers have the power to not only speak and make jam but create chicken life out of cartoon egg hearts!
AND spread the power of love around the chicken coop.
What I’m getting from this ending then, story-wise, is that Alfred was working for Mr Peckles, who is some kind of mad flower scientist, fighting against green robot snowman’s Mighty Meka Chickens, whom, I’m guessing, are Mr Peckles’ chicken creations gone wrong. Alfred agrees to this mission on the condition that Mr Peckles makes Alfred a partner as love is the one thing Alfred Chicken yearns for, being the only robot chicken with feelings.
Alfred, in this scenario, would be some kind of robot, though not quite a “meka chicken”. Maybe a half-chicken, half-robot type of thing. Like a chicken replicant. Which would explain why he can breathe in space and is pretty good at shooting rockets.
As convoluted as this whole plot may be, especially considering I’ve probably made all that up based on incorrect assumptions, the game is enjoyable, light and fun. Like Hatris, it sounds thoroughly stupid but it’s a decent enough game.
I can’t NOT recommend Alfred Chicken!
It even includes a pretty awesome twist after the credits as Alfred’s new girlfriend is revealed to be none other than…
MAD FLOWER SCIENTIST.