I had this game as a preteen. I remember the day I got it. My father (who knew I was a Pacman fanatic) got it for my birthday, as I remember it. He said he had gotten me a new game and kinda rolled his eyes a bit as if attempting to remember it’s name and said something like “was it Pacman …?” My eyes got very large. I had been wanting a Pacman game at home for some time. I can’t remember if Atari’s really poor Pacman cartridge had come out yet or not, but I wanted to play Pacman at home more than probably any other game.
I didn’t even know that Lock ‘N’ Chase was an arcade game. I just thought the Intellivision guys had come up with a clever Pacman-like game since they couldn’t get the license to make an actual port (I got used to that idea with an Intellivision in the house).
I’ve spent some time replaying this game on my gaming cab. It plays great! The gameplay is very Pacman-like. Although the Intellivision has the problem of being somewhat “granular” in terms of the maze layout. Underlying the screen is a definite grid of locations where Lupin can exist, and as you move around the maze you’re really moving from grid location to grid location. This makes the control of Lupin a bit strange at times. It’s this “blockiness” of control that is causing me to give this game a 4 instead of a 5.
Update: Since writing this review, I’ve gotten hold of the 8k version of this game (you can read a bit more about that version here). Supposedly, Lupin is easier to control in that version. I haven’t made the time to install it on my arcade cabinet and really give it a shake-down yet, but when I do I’ll add another update to this page with the results.
There is a stationary dollar sign that appears in the center from time to time that acts somewhat like an energizer from Pacman. If you grab the dollar sign, the cops all freeze for a bit and squeeze/expand vertically, as if in anger. They also all turn a purplish shade, adding to the “angry” effect. Also as you grab each one the point values go up, much like eating successive monsters in Pacman.
There are treasures that change for each screen, just like the fruit in Pacman. I recently played this game for a solid hour or so, saving my game at the end of each screen so that I could replay any screen on which I died. Here’s as far as I’ve gotten up to this point:
That’s the tenth screen. I know I never got that far as a teen on the original Intellivision. Being able to save and restore is great! The documentation mentions that “one of ten treasures” will appear in the maze, so this should be all of them. The treasures in order appear to be Top hat, Crown, Briefcase, Phone, Clock, Camera, Glasses, Lamp, Key, Heart.
Update: I’ve played on this level again and again attempting to get to level 11. Eventually, I gave up on finishing this level with one man and went ahead and spent all 6 men I had earned clearing this board. So I got to level 11 and saw that the screen doesn’t look any different than the screenshot shown above. I played on level 11 just long enough to see if another treasure would show up, and another heart appeared. So I don’t know if on levels 11 and up you get nothing but hearts (paralleling Pacman’s key boards) or if it starts picking randomly out of the 10 treasures already seen.
Another thing I don’t remember from my teenage days is getting an extra man at 20,000 points. It’s documented in the manual, and I played this game a lot as a kid so I’m decently sure that I must have done it; I just don’t remember. When the extra man is awarded, a whistle sounds — very reminiscent of the whistle in the Football game.
This game gets hard on these later levels! I was dying (followed by a quick restore to the beginning of that screen) 5-10 times on each board on boards 8-10. The documentation for the game talks about what happens at 100,000 and 300,000 points. Those scores might as well be easter eggs. I don’t see how I’ll ever get that far. Maybe someone has come up with some patterns to beat these boards?
On the later boards the cops seem to move much faster (one of them actually caught me on a straight-away, he was faster than I was), and they seem to be smarter about attempting to head you off at a turn. In particular, the yellow and blue cops get down right nasty! It seemed like everywhere I went, they were either right on my tail or running parallel to me attempting to head me off. The red cop seems to attempt a different pattern of attack, but he’s not too far off usually either. The green cop seems to be the “clyde” of the group, usually off doing his own thing. But he’ll chase you also if you get close.
All told, this is a very fun game. It works very well on an arcade cabinet.
The controls mapping for this game is very simple. Just the normal 4-way cursor mapping to N, S, E, and W on the INTV controller and an arcade button mapped to one of the side action buttons. The arcade.kbd configuration is fine for this game.
How does it compare to the original arcade game?
I actually like this game better than the arcade version. That may be a bias coming through since my first exposure to this game was the Intellivision version. The sounds in the arcade game just seem to be a bit more shrill. The sound of Lupin picking up the coins is much more irritating on the arcade version.
But the game elements all seem to be there. The maze is a decent recreation of the arcade maze — given the switch in portrait to landscape orientation. The cops do turn purple and look angry when Lupin grabs the money from the center just like the Intellivision version, although the animation is better on the arcade box. But that’s to be expected. It’s a home version of the game from a time when home versions were pretty bland in comparison.
Definitely one of the best arcade ports available for Intellivision.