Not even trying to hide the Pac-Man influence.
A bit of background info first:
This is a port of Data East’s Japanese arcade hit ロツク・ン・チエイス.
They later sold the rights to Mattel who published the game for the Atari 2600…with a few changes.
The original was heavily inspired by the Manga Lupin III.
Of course, the writer of the novels Maurice LeBlanc wasn’t a big fan but Japan doesn’t care that much about copyright.
The U.S. was more careful and so they gave the game a more generic and clean look.
More to that later on.
You are a thief in a maze and the only way to get out is by collection all the gold.
You are constantly chased by four policemen and no, there are no power-ups that let you become the hunter.
There are bonus items that grant more points but that’s about it.
Instead, you get an interesting ability.
The ability to close doors.
Yes, my mind was also blown.
You see, the blocks that shape the maze are filled with sliding doors. When you run by them you can press ‘fire‘ and close them behind you.
Only two at a time tho and they reopen after a few seconds.
Still, if a cop is on your heels you can easily catch a breath if you use this ability wisely.
Once all the gold is collected you move on to the next, harder stage.
Lock ‘n’ Chase is a very blocky game but combined with the simple, dark color scheme forms a very intriguing aesthetic.
To put it less pretentiously: I dig it!
Fans of Pac-Man are also treated with the *wakawaka* sound effect and most importantly, the controls are fluid and responsive.
Sadly, there are no gameplay variations and only the standard two player mode.
Feels especially lazy for such a polished game.
Lock ‘n’ Chase is a challenging and addictive game that touches greatness without quite getting there.