In a world ruled by penguins, only one man, er, bird, is tough enough to defeat the armies of general Putzki. That bird is Hardboiled Chicken. He’s got action hero moves Rambo looks and the voice of the worst Stallone imitator in the world. Lucky for him, it’s shooting and destruction that’s required, not long speeches. Those belong to his enemy, Putzki, an Ahnold looking penguin bent on world domination. Putkzi’s so diabolical that he’s even cloned Hardboiled Chicken in order to better learn how to defeat him.
As badass as he is, controlling Hardboiled Chicken from a player’s perspective is easy. He can crouch or stand at the touch iof a button, but sometimes that’s problematic, as your enemies can crouch too, and either shoot at you or avoid your shots altogether, and it can be a lot of up-down, down-up fighting. This is ok when it’s just one opponent, but it becomes trickier against multiple enemies and downright deadly if you get stuck between foes on both sides. Hardboiled Chicken’s gun is accurate, but enemies are a bit harder to kill than expected. It takes quite a few shots to from most weapons to take them down. Since the same is true for the people firing at Hardboiled Chicken, it’s fair but a little annoying at times. The jetpack combat takes a little longer to get the hang of, and if you fire too much and can’t get the falling ammo, you’re in for big trouble. Luckily, the continue system doesn’t steal too much of your progress, allowing you to start again mostly at exactly where you left off when you died.
While the levels are very linear in design, they’re highly detailed and interesting to travel through. There were times, like at the cloning tanks, where the enemies are unaware of you, that they talked to each other or just to themselves about their situation, and I felt that made the game-world richer and more immersive. Sound also helps ground you in the world of Hardboiled Chicken. When he’s caught in Putzki’s prison cell and during the exploration of that section of the level, he can hear the sound of a chainsaw and someone screaming. It adds to the creepiness on that level, and later, when you pass by a bloodstained room, you wonder just what happened, and to whom.
Hardboiled Chicken has some wonderfully fun fights as well. I especially loved the jetpack fights in the air outside the zeppelin. You face a good variety of enemies in the jetpack combat, and learning how to effectively fight them is challenging and fun. I also enjoyed trying to escape the zeppelin after you sabotage it, though that was easier than the jetpack fights to get right.
Hardboiled Chicken rewards exploration in the form of extra ammo and health. You can also flip signs on each level for an achievement. Some you can do yourself, but others require trick shooting an enemy into it. This can be a pain if you kill all the penguins before realizing you need one to flip the sign, as they don’t respawn. Brain bugging is also a good deal of fun, as you can explore a bit of the world without having everything attack you all the time. I did have a bit of trouble figuring out how to aim the bug so that it would hit enemies beyond obstructions, but I did eventually manage to get it to work correctly.
Hardboiled Chicken is a lot of fun, has a good story to keep the action humming, and enough hidden places and puzzles to make completing the game feel like an accomplishment.
Hardboiled Chicken is available for PC at Steam.
Hardboiled Chicken was released on PC on 10/15/2012. This review was completed after finishing the single player campaign.