ChuChu Rocket! is considered to be the first truly popular online video game released for a major video game console, and existed to demonstrate the online capabilities of the Dreamcast. In Europe, it was given away for free to customers who visited the Dreamarena online service with the Dreamcast browser. In Japan, there was a limited edition set which included a clear orange controller.
In a far away time on a far away planet, there is a space port where thousands of ChuChus live. The ChuChus are space mice who lived happily until one day when the Space Port became infested with KapuKapus. The KapuKapus are space cats with voracious apetites and naturally will eat the ChuChus if they catch them, therefore the ChuChus must ran away and escape in rockets. Albeit they're never seen anywhere in the game, the rockets are piloted by four color coordinated ChuChus:
Chuih: the blue ChuChu with starry eyes. This ChuChu really knows how to party.
ChuPea: the red ChuChu female with a heart on the tip of her tail. She's a moody daydreamer ChuChu.
ChuBei: the yellow ChuChu that is chubby. He's a careless ChuChu who feigns ignorance.
ChuBach:, the green ChuChu that has swirly glasses. He is a steady and reliable ChuChu, who does things at his own pace.
Just like the story suggests, the objective of the game is to guide one or more ChuChus around the stage into a rocket, while avoiding the KapuKapus that stalk the stage or any holes on the floor.
Chuchus run in a straight line, will turn right when hitting a wall head on, follow corners and turn around when in a dead end. KapuKapus move exactly the same but slower. If they hit any ChuChus they will eat them, no matter how many and if they hit a rocket they will damage it and one third of the total amount of ChuChus is lost.
To control the directions both ChuChus and KapuKapus go, the player can set four directional arrows (color coded for each player: blue, yellow, red and green) on the floor and any of them passing through will follow said direction. Though any number of ChuChus can pass through an arrow, KapuKapus can only hit one twice (the first shrinks it and the second vanishes it). Eventually, the arrows also disappear past some time (they will flash first) and only three arrows can be placed without the older one disappearing. Both ChuChus and KapuKapus will disappear if they fall on a hole but they will spawn at their correspondent color coded hatches (blue for ChuChus, red for KapuKapus) and only a set number of ChuChus and KapuKapus can be at a stage (at least one KapuKapu is always present for example).
There are three different species of ChuChus:
Blue and white ChuChus: most common throughout the game.
Pink and red "?": ChuChu: it will randomly select a different gameplay option when hitting a rocket:
Speed Up!: All ChuChus and KapuKapus move more quickly.
Slow Down!!: All ChuChus and KapuKapus move more slowly.
Mouse Mania: All KapuKapus disappear and large numbers of ChuChus pour out from their hatches. In the GBA version, yellow ChuChu rarely appear.
Cat Mania: All ChuChus and KapuKapus disappear, and then KapuKapus will come out from their hatches (only four at once).
Mouse Monopoly!: ChuChus flood into the player's rocket.
Cat Attack!: A KapuKapu hits each of the other player's rockts.
Place ↑ Again!: All the arrows disappear and the game pauses for a few seconds.
Everybody Move!: The rockets switch places randomly.
Night Time!: The entire board is darkened except for the players' rocket locations, making it hard to locate ChuChus.
Kitten Mania!: All ChuChus and KapuKapus disappear, and then small KapuKapus come out of the hatches.
Blindfold the Winner!: The leading player has the ChuChus and KapuKapus disappear from their screen for a few moments.
"50" yellow ChuChu: gives a total of fifty ChuChus to the counter.
Modes of play
4-Player Battle: In this mode the player can battle a stage up with a maximum of three other players. The objective is to save as many ChuChus as possible by directing them to a rocket within the time limit. Obciously, the player with the biggest score, that is equal to the number of ChuChus saved, will win the stage. The player can also choose the number of points needed to win the match, which correspond to the number of stages one player wins.
Team Battle: In this mode the players are split into two teams (blue and red team and yellow and green team). The team who collects the most ChuChus within the time limit wins.
Stage Challenge: In this mode there’s a set task given per stage to complete, within a thirty seconds time limit. There are no special ChuChus and a second player can help as well. The objectives of stages A and B is to get all of the Chu-Chus into the rocket, C to have the KapuKapu eat all of the ChuChus, D to get 100 Chu-Chus into the rocket and E to play Cat Football which is hitting the opponent's rocket with a KapuKapu to win. There's a final stage which plays like Battle Mode, and which objective is to lead one hundred ChuChus to a rocket before the CPU does.
Puzzle: In this mode the player has to guide all of the ChuChus to a rocket, while managing to avoid KapuKapus and holes, that along with KapuKapus hitting a rocket is a level failure. As an addiction, there’s a pre set number and directions of arrows the player can set and everything must be set before the stage starts playing, where the player can't input anything else. There are three levels of diddiculty: normal, special and mania, the latter levels getting unlocked as the former are completed.
Puzzle Edit: In this mode the player is free to make their own puzzles. After completing the custom stage once, the player can save and upload them on the net and any other player can download and play them as well.
Network: Though not a mode per se, the player is able to battle with others online (up to four), chat using the a keyboard (virtual or physical), download or upload games, access the ChuChu rocket homepage (when it existed, anyway), see various informations including the Stage Challenge records. In 2016 The webpage and online mode where brought back by fans.
After beating some of these modes, the following characters are unlocked: Chao and Nightopians. It's also possible to download other characters. There are also eight wallpapers hidden on the disc.
Below is a listing of the songs available to played through the Music test in the Option menu.
01: Title Screen
03: 30 Seconds Left! (multiplayer)
04: Speed up! (multiplayer)
05: Slow Down! (multiplayer)
06: Mouse Mania! (multiplayer)
07: Cat Mania! (multiplayer)
08: Winner! (multiplayer)
09: Challenge Mode
10: Single Player
11: Network Connecting
12: Puzzle Editor
14: Winner! (network)
[hidden] 15: Sonic Team Jingle
In 2001, ChuChu Rocket! was ported to the Game Boy Advance, featuring the same gameplay as the original Dreamcast release, complete with single-cartridge multiplayer gameplay across multiple GBA handhelds. The original 100 puzzle levels were included, as well as 2,500 user-submitted levels from the online service. This version was one of the system's many launch titles in Japan.
This version's level editor is capable of creating levels for 4-player battle, team battle, stage challenge and puzzle mode. Numerous new features and effects were added to the GBA version as well, some taking advantage of each player having their own screen. Predictably graphical and audio quality took a hit in the transition between the two systems.
ChuChu Rocket! on the Game Boy Advance is often incorrectly cited as being the first game to be published by Sega for a non-Sega console. It was the first Game Boy Advance game to be published by Sega, but not the first Nintendo game (this title goes to Sakura Taisen GB2 for the Game Boy Color).
Mobile phone ports of ChuChu Rocket! was were handled by AirPlay, and were first available on September 30, 2006. This version is also available at PlaySega (subscribers only). More recently the game has been brought to iOS and Android devices by Binary Hammer, which were removed from sale in mid-2015.
In Sega Superstars ChuChus are one of the twelve full games to play in main mode. Movement over a certain target on the screen will cause a bridge to raise, which the chu-chus then follow to the goal. The bridge also must be dropped at certain moments to prevent KapuKapus from destroying the score.
In Sonic Battle, Tails' landmine appears to be a ChuChu. The Skill Card describing the landmine gives its name as the "ChuChu Rocket".