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Chase the Chuck Wagon Atari 2600 Title screen


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Critic Reviews

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The Video Game Critic (Jun 03, 2000)
Chuckwagon is also regarded as being pretty awful, but that's not entirely true. It may be a derivative maze game, but it does feature multiple mazes, a bonus screen, a dog with a little wagging tail, and a nice-looking chuckwagon at the top of the screen. Not too shabby, although I still haven't figured out why colliding with the dogcatcher causes an explosion sound. Perhaps Spectravision was recycling the sound effects from another one of their games?
The Game Hoard (Nov 25, 2018)
The main problem with Chase the Chuck Wagon is how random success can be and how boring it is to succeed when random factors aren’t messing you up. The four maze designs essentially have one path to take to the exit as determined by where the dog catcher is, and the bouncing enemy can move too fast for you to dodge at times, leading to the timer ticking down while your dog is stunned. Even moving through the maze unopposed has some unintentional issues like getting stuck on walls, meaning the only area of the game that really works consistently and as intended is the simple dog food catching bonus game between stages. Too much of the game boils down to doing the same exact thing over and over and hoping it doesn’t decide you will lose this round, making it feel like you have little control over whether or not this dog gets to the chuck wagon at the end of the bland mazes.
Chase the ChuckWagon is for the dogs. Once you get over the uniqueness of it's history, the game itself sucks ass to the point where you'd likely yank it from the console before properly turning the power off or force-quitting your emulator.
Oh, as for the game itself — you're a dog and you have to go through a number of simple mazes to get to the chuckwagon in a certain amount of time (60 seconds on easy, 30 on hard). There's a dogcatcher who aimlessly wanders around the maze and will take a life if he touches you. There also is one of a number of items bouncing around that will freeze you in place for a couple of seconds if it touches you. If you make it to the wagon, you get to play a bonus game where you have to catch a descending bowl of food before it falls off the screen. Then, it's on to the next maze until you've either lost all three of your lives or turn the Atari off out of boredom since there's only four maze designs and no goal other than to get to the wagon in the alloted time without getting nabbed by the dogcatcher.
Bad Game Hall of Fame (Aug 29, 2016)
Yes, Chase the Chuck Wagon is a bad game, but it’s not aggressively bad: It’s not malicious in its intent or anything, and it certainly isn’t representative of the whole pile of half-assed Atari 2600 games that had amassed by 1983. It’s certainly an amusing little novelty though, with a history worth hearing out.
Woodgrain Wonderland (Oct 29, 2016)
As a dog lover, I’m all for seeing more video games with dog protagonists. However, Chase the Chuckwagon is a poor example of this obscure (if not nonexistent) genre.