Lock ‘n’ Chase
I’m not a big fan of Pac-Man. There, I said it. I know I’m supposed to be, judging by the general age of the games I cover here, but, meh. Maybe because I always thought the 2600 release of Pac-Man was normal (it’s not) and was representative of ‘all Pac-Mans’. I really like the Championship versions of Pac Man on modern consoles, but old Pac-Man? Eh. Maybe because I played too many other things that were similar much more often, and in my opinion, better, so when I went to the honest to goodness arcade version of Pac-Man, I’m kind of let down. I much prefer games like Lock ‘n’ Chase.
Lock ‘n’ Chase was released initially as an arcade game in 1981 by Taito in the US (Data East in Japan,) it’s a game in the same vein as Pac-Man. However, rather than being a yellow circle, you are a drunken red theiving circle. Why drunken? Look at his yellow eyes, he obviously has jaundice or something. Anyway, you’ve broken into a bank vault, picking up coins scattered all around the floor. Occasionally, colored bars appear. These are ‘treasure’, also to be picked up.
Instead of wandering ghosts, you have nameless wandering cops who are out to stop your monetary crusade. Fear not! You can SLAM DOORS ON THEM for a bit, stopping them in their tracks, up to two at a time.. until they figure out how to open them. Clearly, these aren’t the smartest cops on the beat. Once you grab all the gold coins, you can escape out the doors at the top or bottom the screen. The game is never ending, typical of most games of the era.
While this a somewhat obscure arcade game, it was also ported to the Intellivision and Atari 2600. It was very popular on both systems. A later, stylized (for the Game Boy) port was released. Alas, there was no NES port. Too bad, as the Game Boy port with colors like the arcade release would have been amazing. Graphically, the arcade and INTV port look great, considering the game was released in 1981. The Atari port has an art deco look and is fairly bland. It’s not ‘bad’, it’s just ‘not the arcade’. The Atari version is also missing the vertical doors! WTF! That’s 50% of the game strategy. I only realized this much later.
Much like Pac-Man, sounds are pretty limited. Depending on what version, there may or may not be a quick intro jingle. Game Boy, of course, is the most technically advanced of any of the ports, both in graphics and game play. They all handle nice. One odd thing is how the doors work. A door will appear in the closest ‘door jamb’, and this can be a little hard to figure out in the heat of game play. One fun part of this game is it’s alternating two players. I
was never very am not very good at the game, so turns always go quickly.
This is a game where I actually prefer the ‘inferior’ port. Probably because I only recently within the last year or so got an INTV, where as I was brought up with an Atari. I was floored when I saw how accurate the INTV port is to the arcade version. Speaking of, the arcade version is damn hard. I give kudos to our own Patrick Scott Patterson. He has the world record on this game, ya know. If you are a fan of Pac-Man type games, but wish you could slam the door on those effing ghosts, give Lock N Chase the Fair Shake.