If you were to corner the 20 people in the Western world who've played ADK's Crush Roller and ask them to describe it, at least 19 would include "Pac-Man clone" in their response.
There's a good reason for that, of course--Crush Roller (aka Make Trax) is awfully similar to Namco's classic quarter-muncher in terms of gameplay. (Both titles have players race through single-screen, maze-like stages while avoiding ghost-like baddies.)
That's not to suggest Crush Roller is an unoriginal bore. Actually, it's quite a lot of fun--especially once you come to terms with its, er, "crushing" difficulty. (Which, it has to be said, largely can be blamed on the fact that the aforementioned baddies often are a smidge faster than the paint-brush-shaped protagonist.)
To be completely honest, Crush Roller's challenging nature nearly caused me to give up on the game in disgust on a few occasions. What prompted me to soldier on? Its charmingly crafted graphics and its earworm-esque backing tracks.
Also, its gameplay becomes pretty darn enjoyable once you accept that a bit of frustration is part of the deal (and keeps it from becoming a cakewalk).
Anyway, all of the above is supposed to help explain why I recently went ahead and bought a copy of this game--despite the fact that I don't yet own a Neo Geo Pocket Color system to play it on.
In my defense, I only bought it after noticing that a local game shop (Pink Gorilla) was selling it for a mere $15. (I'd been keeping an eye on a copy that was going for more than twice that on eBay, so $15 seemed like a steal.)
Now that I have said copy in hand, I have to say it was worth every penny I spent on it. I mean, just look at that awesome, snap-closure case. And the colorful cover art. Oh, and the little cart protector that exists despite the fact that the outer case is plenty sturdy. What's up with that?
One thing you can't marvel at in these photos is the size of Crush Roller's packaging. Although it's not as small as, say, the boxes that encased early Japanese GameBoy titles, it's small enough. Maybe I should take a few snapshots of it sitting next to a bunch of DS, GameBoy, Game Gear and Wonderswan boxes soon?
See also: 'Did you know that Japanese Game Gear boxes are about the same size as WonderSwan boxes?' and 'WonderSwan cartridges (and boxes) in context'