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Flicky (Genesis) artwork

Flicky (Genesis) review

"Flicky was one of those games made back when Sega needed a mascot. Did he have a chance with this game? please read to hear my thoughts. "

Everyone loves a mascot, Nintendo has Mario, Disney has Mickey Mouse and Sega has…oh…let’s see here. I know people like to see Sonic the Hedgehog as a mascot and I guess you’re right, but it’s been a hell of a ride getting there. It seems that until Sonic Sega had been trying desperately to find something marketable enough to be considered Sega’s mascot only to fail, either due to being too generic or simply not being marketable. Some of the more famous ones were Opa-Opa, Alex Kidd and the subject of this review: Flicky.

Flicky was an arcade game released in 1984 and designed by future Sonic Team Alumnus Yoji Ishii, it was subsequently released to as many different home computer and consoles as possible including this Mega Drive port, released in 1991.

The basic premise of the game is that you are Flicky, a flightless bird who has to rescue his/her Chirps from the resident house cats and a pet green iguana. One thing about Sega games is that their set-ups are suitably insane and original, this game is no different, though I guess a magic mushroom eating plumber or the president getting kidnapped by ninjas are pretty mad too.

Gameplay is simple, you run, jump, collect the Chirps and get them to the exit while avoiding or taking out any cats or iguanas along the way. However like any good arcade game there are plenty of opportunities to die as well, honestly this game is mercilessly hard, you see for one control is somewhat slippery, kinda like playing Luigi in a Mario game, Flicky doesn’t start or stop on a dime and it takes some getting used to, additionally there’s a little bit of a physics engine in there because walls –and even floors if hit just right- are bouncy, sometimes this is required to reach that one pesky Chirp but if you are being chased by a cat and you accidentally hit off the edge of a level and bounce straight into it you may just get angry enough to break a controller…or want to get some fried chicken if you’re especially vindictive... not that I’ve done that or anything.

Another problem is the way the levels wrap around, in some of the smaller levels it’s entirely possible to leave a cat behind you, jump to a higher level and run into the same cat who just decided to jump up to your level as you are running past, killing you instantly due to the 1 kit kills, oh did I not mention that already? 1 kit KO, you also start off with just 2 lives and there are no continues my friend.

The final thing I haven’t mentioned is how to defend yourself against your enemies, I mean even Pac-Man had the power pill, well mercifully in Flicky you have access to weapons, they’re small pick ups in the levels, however there is no dedicated fire button in the game, only a jump button, that is also a fire button, what you do is you walk over the weapon, say a chair and Flicky takes it with him, you then jump when you wish to fire it, said weapon will then bounce back and forth along the screen, moving lower each time and taking out enemies making point combos…it’s not as destructive or as easy as it sounds, if you pick up the weapon on the lowest floor of the level you are on once you try to jump you fire the weapon. I honestly don’t know whether that adds a layer of strategy or is just incredibly annoying.

At the end of the day though the game is all about point combos and it’s possible to rack up some serious points, after picking up a Chirp they follow you like a mother duck to the exit (assuming the line of Chirps isn’t broken by a cat, the Chirps aren’t invulnerable, if you jump over a cat but the cat still goes through the line of chirps the line is cut at that point and you have to collect them again) where you get a bigger point combo for every Chirp at a time in addition to a time bonus.

Breaking up the monotony is a small minigame where Chirps are flung into the air circus like by See-Saw while Flicky is trying to catch them with a butterfly net. It only appears every few levels and is nothing more than another point scoring opportunity (well it WAS an arcade game after all).

Graphics and sound are primitive, in fact with its fairly simple –though highly colourful- graphics and unimpressive beeping music and sound effects (not at all like most FM synth music that I hate so much) I actually thought I was playing a Sega Master System game, the one button controls didn’t help either, the graphics and sound were probably all right for a mid 80’s arcade game but for a 1991 Mega drive game I’m less sure. They do their job admirably however and nothing is BAD about them…it’s just that they won’t exactly take your breath away.

Overall Flicky is a decent game, one thing I probably haven’t been able to put across is how maddeningly addictive this game is capable of being, even despite –or maybe due to- the immense difficulty, I first encountered the game on the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection for XB360 a few months ago and I discovered that to unlock Fantasy Zone (a favourite of mine) I had to get a certain score in this, after getting and beating that score I ended up still playing this, especially since the difficulty seems to rise on an exponential curve, after level 3 good luck getting anywhere without some serious practice. I give it a 7/10, just due to the mediocre graphics, sound and the fact that while there are meant to be about 50 unique levels, even getting past level 7 is like trying to broker world peace.

As an aside what happened to poor Flicky? Well after his 15 minutes of fame Flicky was relegated to where the rest of Sega’s failed mascots go. Cameo land, Flicky has made appearances in a few games like outrun and super Monaco GP as well as a guest starring role in sonic 3D blast…he needed the money.


maboroshi's avatar
Community review by maboroshi (September 04, 2013)

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Linkamoto posted November 08, 2013:

Haha, loved the way you ended it with the little quip about money. It's always nice to have a little surprise game when you buy one of those collections.

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