I once heard an anecdote talking about how after the success of the first Die Hard every new action movie was pitched to executives as “Die Hard but _____.” Die Hard but on a boat. Die Hard but in a mall. Die Hard but in space. I feel the same could be said for Pac-Man and it’s countless clones. “Pac-Man, but you’re a piranha,” for example. Well, Lock ‘n’ Chase is Pac-Man, but you’re a bank robber.
That’s not to say Lock ‘n’ Chase is bad by any means. The game has clean graphics, smooth controls, and great background music. However, the game’s one big drawback is that I suck at Pac-Man-like maze games. I really enjoy playing Lock ‘n’ Chase. The music lifts my spirits and the character sprites are my favorite Game Boy aesthetic – cute and simple (see: Kirby). My brain just doesn’t work in the way it needs to work to get good at these kinds of games. I struggled to get past stage 1-3 but had no problem retrying over and over because the game is that fun. That was until the Yokoi Kids Twitter pointed out a gameplay mechanic that I had no idea existed. Apparently, you can block off certain parts of the maze as you pass through, effectively locking the guards behind you. Hence the “Lock” in “Lock ‘n’ Chase.” I thought this was a game-changer for sure. Now I would be able to blast through the game, evading every guard, and finishing the game a very rich blob-person. Well, it didn’t help. I still suck. I still can’t get past 1-3.
Lock ‘n’ Chase, although I will likely never be able to beat it, is a very good game. I can confidently say that the Game Boy version is one of the best Pac-Man clones I’ve ever played. Whether you suck at Pac-Man or not, I highly recommend Lock ‘n’ Chase.
Follow Scott on Twitter @MothrasBoyfrnd .