Monday, 29 June 2015

Keystone Kapers (Colecovision review)

Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision
Released: 1984

Keystone Kapers is a cops 'n' robbers game that was originally released on the Atari 2600 in 1983.


You play the role of officer Keystone Kelly and must use the handy radar at the bottom of the screen to find and capture Harry Hooligan who has escaped from prison. There are four floors and you can either use the escalators (these only go upwards) or the elevators. Using the latter covers ground much quicker but you'll have to wait for it to open on your current floor. To make things tricky there are obstacles that get in your way including beach balls, shopping trolleys, biplanes and radios. You only have 50 seconds to catch the crook and touching an obstacle either deducts nine seconds from your total or takes away one of your three lives. Points are awarded based on how many seconds you have left once you arrest Harry but you can also collect items such as briefcases that give you 50 points each. The first few waves are easy as everything around you moves slowly. However, before long the difficulty ramps up as obstacles start speeding through the level leaving you little time to react. The short time limit and fast paced action keeps things intense and it's fun working out the best way to catch the crook while trying to avoid the many obstacles. Despite the simple nature of the game it does have some elements of strategy. For example, you have to be careful about navigating to the top floor as once you're on the roof there's no way back down. It's only worth going up there if you're 100% sure you can catch the crook. My only real complaint is that the layout doesn't change per wave so you end up doing the same thing over and over again.

Keystone Kapers is a great arcade game and a fun way to waste 10-15 minutes. Repetition does start to set in due to the lack of stage layouts but it controls well and you'll definitely enjoy the frantic gameplay while it lasts.



Random trivia: The game has been ported to a number of systems including Atari 8-bit computers, the MSX and the Xbox 360 Game Room.

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