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(Cue heavy metal version of the theme music by Psychostick)
(The Nerd appears with a bowl, some milk, and a box of Chex.)
The Nerd: Oh, hey! You're back! Again... You wanna play some more shitty games? Y'know, I just woke up, I just woke up! Can I just have my healthy, balanced breakfast?!
(He pours out the cereal and a CD falls out.)
The Nerd: The Hell? "Chex Quest"? A game... inside... a cereal box? I swear, if a Chex Man comes out and starts turning all my games into Chex, I'm gonna lose it! I just got rid of all that Pepsi left over from that silver son of a bitch! But man... this takes me back.
Yeah, remember getting prizes in your cereal? They were usually some piece of shit toy that would break, but for some reason, we all flipped the shit when we'd find these! They were awesome! It was like a little bonus in your breakfast.
In '96, General Mills went above and beyond by putting a free video game in every box of Chex! And the game... was a first-person shooter. Crazy, right? I remember seeing the commercials with that kickin' guitar riff, and those cool kids eating Chex, and thinkin' to myself: "Oh wow, a free FPS? FPS probably stands for Fuckin' Piece of SHIET!"
I mean, come on! A FREE first-person shooter game? About Chex?! I mean, look at Pepsiman! We all know how that game turned out! And that game cost REAL money! To BUY! ¥2800 in '99, so about forty bucks in the US, nowadays. So, you think a free re-skin of Ultimate Doom would be good? A family-friendly first-person shooter that uses the source code from an id Software game?! Reminds me of Super Noah's Ark 3D. Or, I'm sorry, Super 3D Noah's Ark.
The Nerd: But hey, even if it sucks, at least we get 50 free hours of AOL! That screenshot, right there... That is how I first saw the Internet.
The Nerd: So, anyway, let me finish this, and then we'll start the game!
(He eats. It's crunchy. He looks at the box: "BEST IF USED BY MAR 27 1996")
The Nerd: MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM-- (he keels over behind the box. Stock vomiting sound effects.) ARRRRRGGGH Alright, let's start the game. I really need to go food shopping somewhere besides eBay.
(Puts the game's CD in the Commodore's tape player and shuts it with the CD sticking up)
The Nerd: If you're playin' with the original CD, you get this intro animation explaining the story. It's pretty hilarious. Basically, there's these evil aliens from another dimension called "Flemoids". They survive off of cereal and nutritious foods. They've taken over the planet Bazoik! where all the nutritious foods are made, and now they need to be stopped. So now our hero, Chex Man, goes in to send the Flemoids back to their dimension.
Chex Man: "I'm from Chex Squadron!"
"And I say, 'kill 'em all!'"
The Nerd: One thing I should bring up: There's no guns, chainsaws or BFGs. It's a family-friendly first-person shooter, an FFFPS. So, what did they use? Zorchers. What are Zorchers? They're, um... things that look like... TV remotes.
The Nerd: The box says, "Ready! Aim! Zorch!" So, I guess "Zorch" means to transport the booger guys back to their own dimension. I just never heard the word "Zorch" before, and the zapping looks kinda painful. Non-violent enough, I guess.
The Nerd: Also, it's kinda weird the main character is named Chex Man, when there's a bunch of Chex people in this game! Why is he THE Chex Man? Maybe it's his last name. Like Bill Chexman.
The Nerd: They did start calling him Chex Warrior later on, kinda like Doomguy changing to Doom Slayer.
(♬ bongo-heavy MIDI music ♬)
The Nerd: The music is pretty good. And the graphics... aren't bad for '96! It's pretty much what I'd expect from a rebuild of Doom. The opening screen looks pretty cool, the game moves fast and looks a lot better than Super Noah's Ark 3D! The difficulty choices really rub me the wrong way: Easy Does It, Not So Sticky, Gobs of Goo, Extreme Ooze and Super Slimey!
The Nerd: Sounds like some of the titles in the video store. Y'know, the Movies for Mom and Dad section?
The Nerd: If you're playin' this on a DOS emulator, the mouse sucks. In most first-person shooters, you move with the keyboard and look and shoot with the mouse. In this, the mouse actually moves you around, so playing with mouse and keyboard is a total shitshow. It's easier to just use keyboard only.
The Nerd: The game itself, is... so far, pretty decent! It's Doom, with cereal! Find the red, blue and yellow keys to open doors, and find the exit! There's a buncha different guns — or "Zorchers", and there's even secret rooms to find in each level! I also like the little Chex Man at the bottom of the screen, like the Doomguy. He makes little faces when he gets items, and when he's close to death, he gets more covered in slime.
The Nerd: I gotta say, for a game that's about a Chex guy Zorching boogers, it's actually... a pretty good game! They didn't just rip off Doom, they actually gave it some real attention to detail!
The Nerd: For health, you collect glasses of water, bowls of fruit, and veggies, and the almighty "Supercharge Breakfast"! It's corny, but it fits the aesthetic of the game.
The Nerd: Well... It's not tedious... It's not annoying... It's not ass, and the mascot hasn't come in and changed all my games! So, I think this is a pretty... good... game? Yeah, I-I-I hate to say that I-I don't hate this! It's good?! (Nerd slightly chuckles) What am I gonna do with that?!
The Nerd: Each level's pretty straightforward, but it still offers a decent level of challenge. The secrets are pretty well-hidden, there's a bunch of good stuff like health and armor power-ups; there's even a super secret Easter Egg in the second level: If ya get on this elevator and jump to these boxes, at the exact moment, you can find a secret door that leads to a room with pictures of the creators, and the LAZ Device. It's basically... the BFG from Doom. And like in Doom, there's a ton of different weapons. And each one is the non-violent equivalent. Your default weapons are the Zorcher, which is pretty much the Handgun, and the Spoon — which is pretty much the Punch.
The Nerd: Y'know, never in my life did I think I'd ever play a game where you're spooning booger aliens.
The Nerd: The other guns are the Rapid Zorcher — which is like the Minigun, Phasing Zorcher — which is like the Plasma Rifle, the Zorch Propulsor's like the Rocket Launcher, and my personal favorite — the most ridiculous weapon, MAYBE in video game history, the Super Bootspork! It's an electric spork that tears through everything! It's basically the Chainsaw. But, c'mon. It's a spork! Where else can you play a game... where you SPORK enemies to death?! Spork 'em!
The Nerd: Yeah! Yeah! Suck spork, ya boogery bitch! Yeah, I'm enjoying this game a little bit too much... But don't worry. I'll find somethin' that sucks!
The Nerd: One annoying thing is you lose all your weapons when you die. I know this was also in Doom, but it really sucks in this game. I made it all the way to the final level and died. And when I came back, I only had my regular Zorcher and Spoon! Don'tcha hate it when you only have your Zorcher and Spoon?!
The Nerd: The final level is damn near impossible with these weapons; there's tons of armored enemies, and if you weren't actively saving, like me, you might as well just reset the whole game! Now, I know; that's mostly on me, but things are a bit unfair. Right here, I'm on this tiny ledge, and I'm gettin' hit by enemies that are way below me. I can't even aim to shoot them! But they can just target get me from completely off the screen.
The Nerd: Also, in some places, the game gets really dark. I was trying to find my way out of this area, and just kept running in circles, before I realized I had been passing the door the entire time. It was just way too dark to see.
The Nerd: And in level four, there's this maze. FUCK this maze. It's very easy to get lost, the way out is extremely hidden, which I guess is what they wanted, but God damn, I was in this maze for what felt like forever. Also, if you try to pull up the map, the whole area is blank. Yeah, they knew. They wanted to fuck with people. The maze is the most sadistic thing in this game. And you KNOW there were kids flippin' their shits back in '96! It was called the Shit Flippers of '96. Y'ever hear about it? Yeah.
The Nerd: The last thing; The keyboard controls feel kinda sluggish. Turning and shooting is a pain. There are a couple of ways you can go about playing this game, so here's the second way: For this method, you have to download a Doom source port. There's tons out there, but the one I find to be the easiest is GZDoom. Using GZDoom allows you to play the game in the best possible way. You can bump all the settings to Max, and go from the original DOS graphics to playing in 4K Ultra-HD! This also gives you proper mouse control, making me Zorch incarnate!
The Nerd: Motherfuck...
The Nerd: Using the GZDoom source port's definitely the way to go. Yeah, only 30 minutes later, I'm back at the end of the game!
The Nerd: The final boss is the wall of slime. There's tons o' enemies, but you just Zorch 'em all and save the trapped cereal people! And that's Chex Quest!
The Nerd: So how come that didn't totally suck?! It was pretty good! And considering the fact that it wasn't made by a major game studio. It was just a small group of people, tasked with the impossible: To make a game — a free game — based on a cereal! Bravo.
The Nerd: The company, Digital Café, only had a budget of 500,000 and a group of eight people. One of them, a programmer named Scott Holman, was only 17 years old at the time. He'd actually work on the game after school!
The Nerd: But the real crazy thing is that even to this day, this game has a die-hard cult following! Who would have thought?! A game based on cereal?!
The Nerd: I mean it's basically just Doom with a new coat of paint, all the characters and weapons behave the same as they would in Doom, but the graphics are colorful and memorable! Even though it's really just a reskin, it still feels like its own thing, if that makes sense.
The Nerd: Regardless, this game moved six million units and quadrupled the sales of Chex cereal! Considering most people just buy Chex to make party mix and those Muddy Buddy desserts, that's a lot of extra profit!
The Nerd: There's even two Chex Quest sequels! Chex Quest 2 was a free game available on chexquest.com when the first one came out, and Chex Quest 3 was made in 2008! The demand for a sequel was there, even in the days of Xbox 360 and PS3!
The Nerd: Each game adds new levels, and even new enemies and bosses. And they're all pretty fun, while I might say the first is still the best.
Chex Quest 2: Flemoids Take Chextropolis
The Nerd: The second one takes place in Chextropolis! The evil Flemoids have somehow gotten back to the home planet of Chex Man, and now he has to stop them, It's kinda like Doom 2: Hell on Earth.
The Nerd: I love this part where you go in a movie theater, and all the Flemoids are watching some weird cartoon loop. There's even posters of cereal-related movie parodies!
The Nerd: Seems the game developers enjoyed working on this, and adding their own flavor! To a game... about a cereal... with no flavor.
The Nerd: The game doesn't beat you over the head with constant advertisement. It's a game first, and a commercial second. There are ads here and there, but take Pepsiman for example, where there were entire levels comprised of Pepsi logos! Then look at Chex Quest: Sure, there's some billboards, but that's about it! The main collectibles aren't just boxes of Chex, and the objective is to save your people from evil aliens! It's like, y'know... a game!
Chex Quest 3
The Nerd: The third game has you fighting against the Flemoids, again, as they prepare an end-all invasion. The levels are also MUCH bigger in this one.
The Nerd: Like I said, it was released ten years after the first game. The game starts you at Chex Central Command, and has you take a ship back to Earth, or General Mills planet, or whatever, and eventually taking the fight to the Flemoid mothership. It was made in response to the demand for a new sequel. The fact that people were still goin' nuts about a free cereal-based first-person shooter, ten years after its release, really speaks to its merit. These people took an idea that should've flopped, and made it into a total win!
The Nerd: Yes, I'm sorry I didn't have more negative to say, I was really tryin' here, um... I know I haven't filled my curse quota for this episode, so... fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
The Nerd: There we go! I've single-handedly saved the planet and returned the Flemoids back to their home dimension! All is well in Cereal dimension, I am the supreme Chex Quest champion!
The Nerd: So, overall... pretty good. And if you're not convinced, if a family-friendly first-person shooter isn't really your thing, if you need some carnage and mayhem, if you don't wanna send the Flemoids back to their dimension, you wanna send 'em to fuckin' Hell—! Well... I got the game for you.
The Nerd: Motherfuckin' BRUTAL Chex Quest!!!
The Nerd: That's right! With GZDoom, you get access to a bunch of awesome mods, one of them being the Brutal Doom mod, which also works on Chex Quest. Play through the entirety of all three Chex Quest games, but get rid of those pussy Zorchers! Lay waste to the Flemoids! Make sure they can never come back to Cereal dimension, because they're fuckin' DEEEEEAAD!
The Nerd: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU—ck!
The Nerd: This basically takes all the family-friendliness out of the game, and makes Chex Man the fuckin' Chex Hitman! Chex "The Hitman" Hart!
The Nerd: So after you get your fill of the original Chex Quest, pop in Brutal Chex Quest, and murder the shit outta some Flemoids! I don't know what a Flemoid is, but I fuckin' killed their ass!
The Nerd: And when you play a game as brutal as Brutal Chex Quest, what you need is a brutal cereal to go with it!
BRUTAL CHEX! It's Chex... on steroids! ILLEEEGAL steroids! Made from broken glass, rusty fuckin' nails, and whole grain rice. This cereal will start your day... if it doesn't end your life! Fortified with calcium from the bones of fallen angel wings! The only cereal eaten by both God and Satan! It's a straight kick to your Muddy Buddies - and Brutal Chex turns your milk RED, FROM YOUR OWN BLOOD POURING OUT OF YOUR FUCKING SCREAMING MOOOOOOOUTH! (50 free hours of America Online included.)