K.C.’s Krazy Chase! – Odyssey 2
Platform: Odyssey 2
Developer: N.A.P. Consumer Electronics Corps.
Publisher: Phillips Magnavox
Release Date (NA): 1982
Nerd Rating: 5 out of 10
Hey guys and gals, want an Odyssey 2 review? No? Well too bad, because today you’re getting one. Why? Eh, because it’s novel, I guess. Not to mention it’s Retroary 2016. And since the bulk of my reviews are for games predating 1999, I have to go way back to celebrate properly.
As such, this review is going to be of an old Pac-Man clone by the name of K.C.’s Krazy Chase! No, I’m not excited about this at all… the exclamation point is in the title.
So, how exactly does one review an Odyssey 2 game, anyway? This is an early home console from the second generation. We’re talking the pioneer days of video gaming. It was a time when the arcade was king. Your after-school schedule was reserved for the local arcade: a slice in one hand, the joystick in the other. A soda nearby to keep you fueled. Quarters were consumed at the speed of light, feeding your obsession.
Some families owned home entertainment consoles, and for those kids, it was a respite from rapidly throwing away their money. The technology was young, and the idea of playing arcade ports at home was neoteric, so detail and quality were not major factors. As such, there was a simplicity – a charm, if you will, that this older generation of games possessed. There was little in the way of story and objective – just simple tasks to complete and basic tests of motor skills. Not much thinking was involved. It was a more modest time.
Were these games better than today’s?
To some they may have been, and I can certainly understand where that camp is coming from. But honestly, in my opinion, this generation was still too new, too far back in the developing stages. You can appreciate these games for what they were in their heyday, and some of them can be fun for a while, but if you didn’t grow up with them, chances are they won’t hold your interest much beyond the novelty of the console itself.
On that note, right before I take on K.C.’s Krazy Chase!, I would like to quickly note that some of these older systems are amazing, space-age-looking machines. They are more fun to collect than their games.
Alrighty then. Onto K.C.’s Krazy Chase!
The gameplay is simple. It’s kind of like Pac-Man, as, well, you’d expect from a Pac-Man clone. You command K.C. through a series of mazes with two alien-like creatures and a giant snake/worm who are all after you. But no need to fear! K.C. is just as predatory as his pursuers, under the proper conditions of course.
Trees sprout from the ground, and both you and the snake/worm will eat them. Eating pines will get you nowhere beyond ancillary points, so what’s a guy like K.C. to do? Why, he must avoid the aliens and eat the tail of the snake. Once you consume the first pellet of the snake/worm’s body, the aliens become white and bug-eyed as they attempt to escape your deadly tracks. This is much like how the power pellet in Pac-Man turns the ghosts blue. They do return to their original form after a while, but this shouldn’t be an issue as your continued devouring of the snake’s tail will keep the aliens white and at bay. Just be careful, for while you may be invulnerable to the aliens after snacking on snake tail, if the owner of said tail greets you head on, you’re finished.
This controls differently from Pac-Man. There’s a little more freedom as you are not constantly on the move like Namco’s yellow, spherical hero. Instead of having pellets covering every square inch of the map, you have the odd tree here and there. Your goal is not to clear the field so much as it is to chase the tail of your enemy, which is fun and fairly unique. And while we’re talking controls, I must add how I love the Odyssey 2 joystick. It’s smooth, sturdy, versatile. The analog stick is small and easy to maneuver, with a solid paddle to grip. One action button is present for any other necessary function. It makes K.C.’s Krazy Chase! a joy to handle.
You have four modes to select from the console’s numeric keypad. It appears as though the only difference between 1-4 is the build of the maze. And aside from a color swap, the layouts do not change within modes. The only difference with each map is a hastened pace as you progress. And if you die once, you start from the beginning. There isn’t much of a sense of progression here, but this is fine. Many games from this era felt this way.
So, graphically…well, what do you expect? It’s minimal. You can’t really judge it against others from its time. What I will say, however, is K.C. is a very cute character. And despite graphical limitations, they’re able to give him a bit of personality. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but his cheery smile, the way he moves, the occasional spin when he’s idle, and particularly the little ear movement, all make K.C. a character of his own. And he’s just downright adorable!
In fact, the enemies are pretty cute too. And believe it or not, the giant worm you’re up against changes its expression after eating a tree. It’s as if this arboreal consumption takes the worm on an acid trip. His eyes get wide, his body starts flashing different colors…let me tell you, it’s a trip man. And he frowns whenever a bite is taken from his tail. You have to appreciate what they were able to accomplish within the confines of second-generation console technology.
One interesting thing to note is how on the bottom of the screen you’ll see several question marks. If you input any key on the alpha-numeric pad it will show up there. I guess this is sort of a way to name your K.C., like a high score. I dunno. It’s weird that you’re supposed to do this during gameplay and not beforehand like you’d expect. If one were so inclined to add their name, they’d have to do it quick, or get a friend to do it.
Yeah, that’s great 2-player interactivity. One person plays while the other is in charge of name duty. Fantastic. At least you can hand off the controller to said friend and see if s/he can beat your score…with the same name…
Well, I suppose if that person does trump your score, then you get to be on name duty and input their name.
There’s no music here. Just a series of beeps and blips that make up the soundscape of any early-generation home console. It’s pretty cool if I may say, even if it’s not actual music.
K.C.’s Krazy Chase! is a fun, amusing little game that may keep you occupied for the 15-20 minutes before you have to leave for school…or work…or whatever soul-crushing, oppressive institution you are expected to attend. As long as you can take it for what it is, you should be able to enjoy.
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