One thing that seems to be very popular on various computing platforms is the "Movie Tie-In". This is where a big film title is converted onto an assortment of computer systems, usually with varying degrees of success.
The "Xmas Chortles" movie was no exception! Not content with corrupting peoples ears with shouting, swearing and flatulence on audio tape and warping peoples minds with the bizarre images featured in the movie now you could get to join in the fun!
The game options screen (which was inspired
by the Commodore 64 game 'Archetype').
The "Xmas Chortles" game was programmed on the Amiga by Mat Recardo with additional graphics produced by Kenz and a splendid array of soundtracks from FeekZoid. There were also contributions from Rich Morrish, Jon Wells (who inspired the front end presentation), Lee Collett (who supplied subgame ideas and did some playtesting) and various others.
Lee and Mez give the Chortles game a good hammering!
The game does actually have a "plot" of sorts! Basically, "The Blob" (a cartoon version of the famous movie monster, drawn by Mez) has pinched an object from various "Chortles Chums". You have to work your way through eight main levels to retrieve the objects. The game begins in the "Lads House" and then moves into the garden and then into outer space! The games "finale" takes place on the "Blob Homeworld" where you get to have a fight with a massive MOTHER-HUBBARD of a Blob!
This is the first level of the 'Xmas Chortles' game!
(Watch out for the pair of yellow pants Kenz!)
The main part of the game was inspired by the Speccy classic "Atic Atac" with the action taking place from an above view (with strangely forced pseudo 2D/3D perspective). Most of the baddies in the game were characters or objects featured in the Movie although a few C64 and Spectrum game characters do make cameo appearances too!
Here's a neat animation of all the freaks and weirdo's
that feature in the game (including Lee Collett).
You got to choose from three "main" characters for the game itself - Kenz, Mez and Collett. Each character was laser-scanned and carefully rotoscoped and digitised with the resulting characted being rendered in hyper realistic 2D. Erm, well, sort of. (Okay, Kenz drew three gumby characters in Deluxe Paint!) Each character did have a lot (well, a bit) of attention to detail. Lee was complete with hunch-back (an old school joke), rugby shirt and scruffy hairdo. Mez was wearing a stripey jumper which does feature in some actual Chortles footage and Kenz is there, all in black with his mop of hair and shades!
Lee is in the garden being scared by a huge spiderous spider!
Each main level is introduced by our newsreading hero "Mike Shaft" who tells you what object to find for which Chortles Chum. You then get to race around the screens being chased by "Poo on the floor", a "one-eyed golly", "Robot 1", "Ned" and assorted other weirdo's.
I thought the graphics were getting quite good by level 8!
To add a bit of variety Mat coded an assortment of cool subgames which appear after every couple of main levels. These include an amazing digitized cushion fight, Mortal Kombat-esque water fight (which is still playable to this day!), a journey into outer space, farting competition (complete with over 200k of sampled farts) + more!
Yaaaaah! Luke has just hurled a cushion at the unwitting player!
There is even a hidden cheat mode in the game! Silly Sam the Odd Chap appears in the corner from time to time and shouts "Toastie!" (in Mortal Kombat stylie) and you have to press a combination of keys to activate the cheat. Unfortunately, none of us are buggered if we can remember what keys to press to make the cheat work! Hehe!
The game also came with a lush Psygnosis-esque intro sequence (well, I thought it was) which showed The Blob arriving on earth and invading the lads house. There was also an end sequence (featuring a portaloo and an exploding shoe) along with full film-style credits! There's even a teaser picture right at the end hinting at a possible "sequel!" (which might actually appear on the PC at some point in the distant future!)
This is part of the intro sequence which shows a massive ship
ejecting a capsule which contains ... THE BLOB! Eeeeeek!
Whilst writing the game in 1994 Mat actually kept a diary which chronicled the production of the game more or less from the start to the end. There's some clinically strange spelling in there but it's an interesting read nonetheless and shows how the game took shape. Click HERE to view the diary in a new browser window.
Here's some of the objects featured in the game
including a POT NOODLE! Slurp! Slobber!
Now thanks to the incredible unyielding power of the mighty internet you can download a 2.77mb Zip file which contains the entire "Xmas Chortles" game! This is designed to work on the "WinUAE" Amiga emulator for the PC (provided you have set up a Workbench environment with hard-drive access). You will also need to install the "Amos.library" file (supplied in the Zip) into your emulators virtual "libs" directory for the game to run properly. Click on the FIERCE BLOB below to download the game!
There were some ideas floating around for other "Xmas Chortles" games including "Chortle Kombat"! This would have featured digitized versions of the Chortles Chums kicking the crap out of each other. This didn't really get past the test stage but Mat did produce a neat demo with a controllable digitized character, animated blood splat tests and even a "Mortal Kombat" style logo with a big Silly Sam on it! I think the game may have been a bit much for poor old "Amos" to handle on the Amiga but another "Xmas Chortles" game may still happen, watch this space!
This is part of the end sequence from the 'Xmas Chortles' game
(you will need to watch the film to understand the Portaloo gag!)
Take me back to the main section pleeze