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Chex Quest

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Chex Quest is a child-friendly non-violent first-person shooter video game, created by Digital Café. It is a total conversion of the more violent video game Doom (specifically the Ultimate Doom version of the game). Chex Quest, notable for being the first video game ever to be included in cereal boxes as a prize, was found in boxes of Chex cereal in 1996.[1] In addition to the original game, Digital Café later made a sequel to Chex Quest called Chex Quest 2, which was only available for download on the Internet. Eventually the promotion ended and the game's availability effectively stalled until it was posted for download on fan pages several years later. In September 2008, a second sequel, Chex Quest 3, was developed and released as a service to fans by former Digital Café members Charles Jacobi (art director and lead artist) and Scott Holman (programmer).[2][3]

Within the active Chex Quest fan community, numerous unofficial projects have been undertaken and several completed. Examples which have arguably entered the fanon include a fan-made Chex Quest 4 (which for many years the author did not allow to be distributed), and such .wad and Game Maker sequels as Return of the Chex Warrior, Chex Quest Project Z, and the Chex Quest platformer. There are fan-made Chex Quest WADs designed for nearly all major Doom ports, even the original Doom engine.

Chex Quest won both the Golden Reggie Award for Promotional Achievement[4] and the Golden EFFIE Award for Advertising Effectiveness.[4][5]

Story

File:Chexquest.png

Set on a distant planet named Bazoik, the game follows the Chex Warrior, a humanoid in an anthropomorphic piece of Chex cereal armor, as he fights to eradicate the Flemoid invasion. These slimy, green creatures have infested the planet and captured many helpless citizens whom the Chex Warrior must save.[6] His only weapon is a device called a "zorcher", which teleports his enemies instead of killing them. The game starts at the landing pad of the research facility on Bazoik, after which the protagonist is teleported to the storage facility. The other levels include the laboratory, the arboretum, and finally, the underground caverns of Bazoik, where the Flemoids seem to be making a home for themselves.

Relations to Doom

Some parameters used to start Doom are also used to start Chex Quest. Despite Chex Quest's major changes from its predecessor, there are still a few remaining relics (e.g. levels from other Ultimate Doom episodes and some in-game text).

While Doom has a cheat code scheme in which every cheat starts with 'ID', the codes in Chex Quest are based on the names of the people in the production crew of the game, with a few exceptions. PC speaker sound effects from the DOS version of Doom have been modified and are used in Chex Quest. Whereas Doom is rated M for Mature, Chex Quest was made to be a child-friendly game for all audiences. Nearly every graphic and sound effect from Doom has been replaced, from textures to enemies to weapons.

The Leftover Levels

Chex Quest has only the first five levels from Ultimate Doom converted for the game.[7] Some leftover levels are playable (as Chex Quest conversions) only via the level warp parameter at startup. These leftover levels include maps 6 through 9 from episode 1 as well as all maps in episodes 2, 3, and 4. In these levels the music reverts to the original score from Ultimate Doom. After the level warp parameter is used to access maps E3M1 or E4M1, the remainder of the levels (through map 5) within the episode selected can be accessed by completing the levels in the episode in order (just as with the standard level progression in Doom or Chex Quest). Unfortunately, bugs prevent any of the other levels from launching upon completion of the level before it, and similarly E4M9 cannot be reached from E4M2 as previously. Completion of E2M5 (via either exit) displays the end graphic originally displayed at the end of The Shores Of Hell, the second episode of the original Doom, and completing E3M5 displays the end sequence from Inferno, the final episode. Likewise, completing E4M5 displays the end graphic from Thy Flesh Consumed, the final episode of Ultimate Doom. Both of the latter two end sequences feature a decapitated rabbit named Daisy.[7]

Episode intermission texts which originally (i.e. in Doom) were displayed upon completion of E1M8, E2M8, E3M8, and E4M8 are now found in modified form for Chex Quest.[7] Thus completion of E1M5 in Chex Quest now displays the new message: "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THE NEXT MISSION? PRESS THE ESCAPE KEY TO CONTINUE..."[8] Interestingly, completion of the leftover level E2M5 now displays the message: "YOU'VE DONE IT!!"[9] which never appears in the original Ultimate Doom. Likewise, the episode intermission text displayed upon completion of E3M5 reads: "WONDERFUL JOB!",[10] and that displayed upon completion of E4M5 reads: "FANTASTIC"[11] again neither of which ever appeared in the original game. Charles Jacobi says that he knew Scott Holman, another programmer, ran through the text strings and changed any that seemed inappropriate, without knowing where they went.

The skins for the more difficult enemies from Doom have not been converted as these enemies were not employed in Chex Quest levels, but rather the skins have been removed entirely[7] in order to tone down Doom's hellish imagery. This introduces an additional experience for those playing the "leftover levels" as these difficult enemies still exist in a completely invisible form. This also goes for items like the partial invisibility, berserker pack, light amp goggles, and all skull keycards. In addition, the music from the original registered Doom as well as the overworld graphics (depicting Gigeresque scenes of death and hell) and maps that were not modified (E1M6 through E4M9) were left intact,[7] allowing anybody with WAD file editing knowledge to create their own copy of registered Doom (specifically Ultimate Doom).

Chex Quest Multiplayer

Starting in the summer of 2008, there have been Chex Quest cooperative and deathmatch games hosted on the Doom Multiplayer Client Skulltag by ChexCommander. Games were hosted daily from July to August, and were popular among many Chex Quest fans. This has proven that Chex Quest, along with many of its GZDoom mods, is able to be played online between players across the world. More information is available on the Chex Quest Fan Forums.

References

  1. Ross Miller (2008-04-18). Ask Joystiq: Chex Quest, He-Man and broken 360 gamepads. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2008-07-16.
  2. http://www.chucktropolis.com/gamers.htm
  3. http://chexquest.org/index.php?topic=918.0
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hyers, Dean. Digital Café Projects. DeanHyers.com.
  5. Vale, Heather; Comm, Joel. Closed Door Session #5 - EXPERT: Michael Koenigs. Closed Door Session DVD Series. 2008.
  6. Moby Games - Chex Quest for DOS. Moby Games. Retrieved on 2008-07-16.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Digital Café. Chex Quest (in English). (Digital Café). PC. (1996)
  8. Digital Café. Chex Quest (in English). (Digital Café). PC. Level/area: E1M5. (1996) ""MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THE NEXT MISSION? PRESS THE ESCAPE KEY TO CONTINUE...""
  9. Digital Café. Chex Quest (in English). (Digital Café). PC. Level/area: E2M5. (1996) ""YOU'VE DONE IT!!""
  10. Digital Café. Chex Quest (in English). (Digital Café). PC. Level/area: E3M5. (1996) ""WONDERFUL JOB!""
  11. Digital Café. Chex Quest (in English). (Digital Café). PC. Level/area: E4M5. (1996) ""FANTASTIC""

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