Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Another Year of the GameBoy: Lock 'n' Chase

I had my eye on the GameBoy port of Lock 'n' Chase for a long time before I finally added it to my collection.

Why the wait? Well, to tell you the truth, I thought Lock 'n' Chase's gameplay looked kind of boring until I experienced it for myself.

Thankfully, a few months ago I went ahead and picked up a copy of this 1990 release despite my misgivings. I say "thankfully" here because now that I've thoroughly put this portable version of Lock 'n' Chase through its paces, I'd describe it as anything but a yawner.

Is it as worthy of praise as the Namco-made quarter-munching classic--that would be the original Pac-Man--that clearly inspired it? No, but how many games of this type are as worthy of praise?

Lock 'n' Chase does what it can to earn your attention even though it's "only" a Pac-Man clone at heart.

A good example is the game's behatted protagonist, who is as cute as a button and, at least initially, seems more visually interesting than his pellet-chomping counterpart.

The badge-sporting "baddies"--Lock 'n' Chase's equivalent to Pac-Man's multi-colored ghosties--are similarly adorable. Plus, they sport names like Stiffy (see below), which give them a leg up on the latter game's Pinky and Clyde.

And there are the different treasures--coins, money bags and jewels--that Lock 'n' Chase's main character nabs as he runs around each stage. They're quite an improvement over Pac-Man's "Power Pellets," don't you think?

Aside from all of that, though, Lock 'n' Chase doesn't do a whole lot to differentiate itself from Namco's genre-creating effort. I mean, the levels in the former often take up more than a single screen, but that's not always a positive.

Also, Lock 'n' Chase's levels are far less symmetrical than Pac-Man's but, again, that's just as liable to be annoying or off-putting than it is to be entertaining.

Still, this Data East title is worth checking out if you've got a GameBoy of some sort or other and you're looking for a cartridge that will grab your attention when you've got a few minutes of free time.

This is especially true if you can find a Japanese copy of the game. After all, the various aspects of that version's packaging feature some really spiffy illustrations, as you can see in the photos included throughout this post.

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