Chex Quest (1996, PC) by Digital Café
Current UV Speed Leaderboard (speedrun.com)
The 1990’s were such a wild west of video game making and experimentation that we will likely never see again. It’s sad, really. You would never, ever see a game like this made today, there would be lawsuits up the ying yang. Chex Quest was developed by Digital Café as a reskinned Doom clone; using Ultimate Doom’s engine, they redid the music, graphics, and maps into a completely new experience that feels so familiar, and yet is completely new. It’s remarkable.
You play as Captain Chex (or something like that, the story is quite vague) on a mission to send the flemoids back to their home planet. The game plays exactly like Doom, even having the same weapons reskinned into a family-friendly varient. They play the same, but the blood is replaced by mucus; the bullets by a “zap!” that “teleports” instead of kills. It’s quite brilliant and creative, and the colorful graphics, catchy music, and fun map designs make for a really great experience.
The speedrun is almost exactly as a Doom speedrun is. You run, you dodge enemies, grab keys, open doors, and find the exit. There’s not a lot to it. The only enemy you MUST kill is the final boss; every other enemy presents themselves as more an obstacle to get past, rather than an objective. This makes for a unique speedrunning experience unlike most games, as you can’t just run past the bad guys using i-frames to exploit, or jumping over them. If they block you, you’re gonna have to shoot em most likely. It’s fun, and easy to learn.
That said, the controls did not age well. In 1996 these were fine; we didn’t know any better. Keyboard and mouse controls are not very intuitive, and keyboard only isn’t much better, so I was forced to use Joy2Key to remap the controls to an X-Box 360 controller. It worked, but it was not intuitive or fluid at all. I definitely would recommend the newer source ports if you’re playing this in 2022, as the original MS-DOS version has not aged too well.
That all said, I did enjoy Chex Quest. It was fun, it was bright and colorful, and it was a blast to play. You could certainly do worse, and Doom fans will rejoice at this very PG variant of their very rated-R shooter game. I highly recommend this game!
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