The year is 1996. The time is eight o'clock AM, the day Saturday. I am but wee lad in my scooby-doo pajamas, eating breakfast cereal while watching cartoons. Normally I enjoyed a good spot of lucky charms, or the fruit-shaped Trix cereal, but today I had Chex. The cereal, you see, had advertised that it came with a free computer game. For this reason, my father had purchased the healthier, marshmallow-less cereal instead of the insulin-shock inducing box of candy.
Chex Quest, released in 1996 by way of cereal boxes, is the first, and in my opinion the best, computer game to be released in cereal boxes. Not only is it notable for its method of distribution, but it is also an interesting and incredibly fun game! The game is a total conversion of Ultimate Doom, and thus plays almost exactly like the original Doom, but has new levels, weapons, and enemies.
In Chex Quest, you take the role of the nasally-voiced Chex Warrior, purportedly named "Fred Chexter" who volunteers to go on a rescue mission to the Bazoik research station. You see, a volcano recently erupted on the surface of Bazoik. Chex Squadron gathered pieces from the explosion, on which they discovered slimy creatures which, using psuedo-science, they determined were from another dimension. Not only were they from another dimension, but when exposed to nutritional substances they grow exponentially in size, becoming full-fledged adults almost instantly! In addition to this, through a series of scientific tests and procedures that I will not describe for fear of insulting our readers' intelligence, they were determined to be evil! NOT ONLY this, but they were even determined to be a cereal eating race, which is horrific because it seems nearly all of the citizens of the Chex Quest universe are cereal (which baffles me, as one of the characters in the opening cutscene has a body resembling an orange). And thus, you, the Chex Warrior of Chex Squadron, volunteer to take on the entire Flemoid infestation yourself, all whilst wearing a suit of body armor that is a part of a well-balanced breakfast!
When General Mills started modifying Doom, it was quite obvious that they could not distribute a game anywhere near as violent as a game about slaying hell-spawn. Thus, instead of killing enemies, you now shoot them with your "zorch" weapons and teleport them back to their own dimension. There are a variety of different zorchers to utilize in your "Chex Quest". Your main melee weapon is the bootspoon, an incredibly weak spoon that somehow zorches Flemoids back to their own dimension. Then you have the weak, single-shot mini-zorcher, stronger large zorcher, and the rapid-fire rapid zorcher. The remaining three zorchers are much more interesting: the zorch propulsor shoots a ball of energy that zorches nearby Flemoids, while the phasing zorcher fires a rapid-shot stream of zorching projectiles and is the most useful, in my experience, zorcher available. Finally, you have the LAZ (Large Area Zorching) Device, a zorcher so powerful that, once its projectile collides with a wall, all Flemoids in sight will be sent back to their dimension.
The levels are all fairly straight-forward: explore the area, find all the keys, and hit the switch at the end of the level. There are a few secrets to find, but nothing super-special. The levels are, in order: the landing pad of the Bazoik station, the storage facilities, the laboratory, an arboretum and, finally, the caverns of Bazoik. It is in the caverns of Bazoik that the Flemoids have fortified, as it is where nutrients are mined.
There is a large variety of Flemoids in the game. The Flemoidus Commonus is a legless Flemoid that shoots weak slime-balls. The Bipedicus have legs and spit deadly slime-balls. The Cycloptis is a Flemoid in a floating, spherical suit of armor. The armored Bipedicus, a power-up of the normal Bipedicus, is the most difficult enemy to do battle with in the game. The final boss, the Flembrane, is actually disappointingly weak. Simply strafing to the side while firing as many zorches as you can is enough to defeat it without receiving damage.
The music is quite listenable, though, as in many older FPS games, doesn't match the mood of the game. I especially like the final level's music. The sound effects are quite good, the zorches sounding somewhat ethereal and flashy. The voice-effects of the Flemoids can be downright hilarious, as their yelps and squeels are high-pitched, also sounding gloppy and animalistic.
My biggest complaint is the order that weapons are easily findable in: I didn't find the large zorcher until mid-way through one of the later levels, causing me to refer to it as the "Largely Useless Zorcher".
Even though it has a few flaws, Chex Quest is still the best computer game ever to be distributed in a box of cereal, so get to it and zorch some Flemoids in your breakfast suit!