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|Number of levels||149|
|First release||1 September 1989 (Atari Lynx)|
|Well-known release||1994 (BOWEP)|
|Latest release||28 May 2015 (Steam)|
|CC1 • CCLP1 • CCLP2 • CCLP3 • CCLP4 |
CC2 • CC2LP1
Chip's Challenge, often abbreviated to CC1, can refer to the very first set of Chip's Challenge levels: those that shipped with with the first game. Strictly speaking, that would be the the Lynx game, but CC1 more often means the slightly modified set bundled with the 1992 Windows port. It consists of 149 levels, one of which is exclusive to the Windows port.
As the original levelset, it naturally served as an inspiration for an entire generation of level designers, though some of the levels are less well-regarded with the benefit of hindsight. Thousands of custom levels have been created since the game's release, and the community is still actively producing more. The Bit Busters Club fansite serves as a hub for collecting the levels (and other information about the game), and the community favorites are regularly collected into semi-official Chip's Challenge Level Packs.
The presence of a time limit inspired players to race through the puzzles as quickly as possible and compare their times, creating what may be one of the earliest speedrunning communities, with records going back as far as 1993. These are also collected on the Bit Busters Club site.
The levelset spans a wide variety of themes and doesn't shy away from playing with its mechanics.
A number of levels are mazes of some sort (as was common in games in the 80s and early 90s), and in fact the in-game story refers to the levels themselves as mazes. Most of them have a unique twist. Strange Maze and Scavenger Hunt are fairly basic, but make use of the basic game elements. Blink introduces teleporters, creating multiple maze fragments that interconnect. Mishmesh and Chipmine heavily feature blue walls, and so must be explored before the maze takes shape. Vanishing Act is comprised entirely of dirt (which becomes floor once stepped on) and invisible walls (which look exactly like floor), creating a maze that slowly renders itself invisible as a player traverses it. Stripes? is partly invisible from the beginning. Cellblocked and Short Circuit prevent you from backtracking and benefit especially well from map-making. Rink, I Slide, and Doublemaze consist largely of ice, making it more difficult to understand the available paths. Apartment and Amsterdam are built out of tiny rooms that frequently connect to their neighbors, offering more options but also more ways to get stuck. Fireflies is two overlapping mazes: one you can traverse and one fireballs can traverse, leaving you vulnerable in the places where they intersect.
As Chip's Challenge features pushable blocks which can clear otherwise deadly water, it lends itself well to Sokoban-style levels. Castle Moat is a more traditional Sokoban: numerous blocks are crammed into tight corridors and require careful thought to extract. Pier Seven has relatively simple block pushing; the puzzle is figuring out where the given number of blocks will reach the center island. Iceberg and Arcticflow feature a series of small islands in icy waters to traverse. Oversea Delivery requires teleporting four blocks through a series of islands without losing any to the sea, while On the Rocks practically invites a player to fill it in. Writers Block, Cityblock, and Pain are infamous for the incredible amount of precise block maneuvering required.
Redirection of monsters by taking advantage of their simple behavior is another common theme. Metastable to Chaos asks the player to disrupt a choreographed dance of bugs by introducing blocks, and Lemmings is a similar idea with rings of fireballs. Traffic Cop has the player direct a fireball across the entirety of the level to press a button. "Underground" levels like Digger, Digdirt, Spooks, and Underground require carefully directing monsters away from the player while digging through a large area of dirt.
Unlike Sokoban and similar turn-based puzzle games, Chip's Challenge plays out in real time, so dodging monsters adds an extra twist. Ping Pong, Problems, and Bounce City offer some relatively simple tasks, but require that they be done while dodging rows of pink balls. Beware of Bug consists of tight corridors that require quick recognition of where a monster will go.
A sort of inverse of maze levels are those that feature patterns and repetition, requiring patience and a methodical approach. Oorto Geld requires setting up an automated button-pressing mechanism, then slipping into several dozen small rooms to collect computer chips. Seeing Stars has a large number of small water gaps to cross in a variety of similar arrangements. Refraction asks a player to collect chips from within a fractal of toggle elements. Reverse Alley is a spiral of blue tanks whose movements are tricky to predict. Telenet, Colony, and Memory feature numerous copies of the same small rooms.
Some levels have no strong theme and are instead general romps through a series of miscellaneous challenges. Nuts and Bolts, Nightmare, and All Full are some well-known examples. Others, like Trinity, Elementary, and Mugger Square, are designed around using the game's four different "elemental" tiles in parallel.
Finally, and perhaps least popular of all, are levels that rely on random elements. Blobnet and Blobdance are infamously tricky; both are packed full of the randomly-moving blobs and require patience and quick reflexes. Jumping Swarm pits the player against a wide-open space that fills with walkers bouncing in all directions. Forced Entry and Force Field are technically not random, but their dizzying arrangements of force floors are so tricky to navigate that a common approach is to simply mash keys and hope for the best.
Not all of the levels fit neatly into a theme, of course. Southpole, Knot, Cypher, The Prisoner, Totally Unfair, Special, and many others feature novel puzzles unlike anything else in the game.
The Atari Lynx version of Chip's Challenge has 148 increasingly difficult levels which Chip must complete, and there is a 149th level added to the Windows Entertainment Pack version. This original level set is often referred to as Chip's Challenge 1 (CC1), though it should be noted that CC1 can also refer to the game as a whole, to contrast with CC2.
As these were the first Chip's Challenge levels, they begin by introducing the functions of the tiles in the lesson levels, then tie them together in Nuts and Bolts, and add new elements only sparingly from then on out. There are very few levels of high difficulty in CC1 compared to future fan-made level packs such as Chip's Challenge Level Pack 2, as knowledge of puzzle design and game mechanics were comparatively primitive.
The levels were designed in approximately three parts: 1/3 of them by Chuck Sommerville, another third by a professional puzzle designer known as Bill Darrah, and the rest by Chuck's team of programmers and playtesters:
- James Donald
- M. Peter Engelbrite
- Victoria Hanson
- RG Goudy
- Stephen Jungels
- Scott Nelson
- Pete Wierzbicki
Among aficionados of this type of puzzle game, the Windows version (usually referred to as the MS version) of Chip's Challenge is famous for its glitches and busted levels. This was a result of changed mechanics from Lynx to MS and little playtesting in the MS version. Although there were many levels made easier, such as Scoundrel, some levels became far more difficult; the level that would become the Spirals corruption had to be changed because the walkers would spread far quicker under MS rules, and levels with extensive use of hot blocks such as Block N Roll and Special became frustrating trial and error challenges to solve due to the inability to block slap.
The Steam re-release of Chip's Challenge 1 uses the game engine from Chip's Challenge 2, which is the Lynx ruleset with some minor changes.
List of CC1 levels
|#||Level Title||Password||Time Limit||MS Bold||Lynx Bold|
|6||Lesson 6||WNLD (MS)
|9||Nuts and Bolts||KCRE||400||306||299|
|27||Go with the Flow||IGGZ||200||147||144|
|28||Ping Pong||UJDO (MS)
|33||On the Rocks||BQSN||---||684||631|
|42||Beware of Bug||LMFU||300||187||187|
|52||The Last Laugh||PPHT||400||382||381|
|68||Eeny Miny Moe||RTDI||650||489||492|
|79||Drawn and Quartered||JINU||300||220||218|
|83||Up the Block||OVPJ||400||298||297|
|94||Now You See It||EWCS||---||906||906|
|97||Metastable to Chaos||IOCS||300||290||290|
|107||Balls O Fire||ECRE||300||260||258|
|112||Fortune Favours The||NJLA||---||985||985|
|116||Block Buster II||HXMF||750||717||699|
|126||Block N Roll||QRLD||600||443||426|
Top 10 CC1 players
Current as of March 16, 2020
- Melinda score - 5,977,960; +8 is possible on Blobnet and +5 is possible on Cake Walk.
- Highest possible bold score - 5,977,830
- Melinda score - 5,898,160.
- Highest possible bold score - 5,898,080
- Highest possible bold score - 5,972,180
- Chip's Challenge 2
- Microsoft's version of Chip's Challenge 1 on 64-bit machines
- Tile World
- Chip's Challenge Level Pack 2 (despite its name, CCLP2 is the first official level pack produced for CC1)
- Chip's Challenge on Wikipedia
- ↑ Field, Richard. "Message from Chuck Sommerville" (Internet Archive). Retrieved 27 June 2019.
- The full high score list, what the records are, and who set and confirmed which records. Maintained by a team of volunteer scorekeepers. (Originally maintained by James Anderson.)
Older high score sites:
- Jimmy Vermeer's list of the high scores on all CC1 and CCLP2 levels, which has not been updated since 2006.
- Alice Voith's list of the high scores on all CC1 levels, which has not been updated since May 1998.