In our second Antstream Arcade Archive series, we take a look at another specific game from the Antstream Arcade Retro vault, giving you the lowdown on its plot, gameplay and tips, as well as what to expect when you play the game. This month we present Data East’s brilliant maze classic, Lock ‘N’ Chase, a frenzied arcade game from that fantastic era of video games, the early Eighties.
So what’s it about?
Larceny, robbery and the emptying of bank vaults – in other words, grand theft cash! In a neat twist, Lock ‘n’ Chase places you in the role of a jolly little thief named Lupin, complete with goggling eyes and unsubtle hat wear. There are a bunch of bank vaults for Lupin to break into and pilfer all the shiny coins helpful strewn around each one. Every now and then, a bonus dollar bill sign will flash, collect it and there’s a big cash bonus for the valiant villain.
What about the cops – presumably you don’t get to just run around these banks uninterrupted?
Ah, yes, the long arm of the law is never far away in Lock ‘n’ Chase. Four tubby coppers, named Scaredy, Smarty, Silly and, erm, Stiffy, constantly chase down this courageous crook, and should they collar him, it’s curtains. Fortunately, this fantastic felon has command over the doorways of each bank, and if he’s smart, can temporarily trap plod, gaining a nice money prize in the process. There are some cute touches to the gameplay: the thief arrives in an old jalopy, and if you collect the dollar cash, the police officers burst into tears.
Yes that’s right. Stiffy. No smirking at the back.
Actually, it all looks rather familiar to another arcade classic…
Don’t know what you mean. Oh alright, yes, it’s a twist on Pac-Man, only instead of ghosts, it’s cops, and instead of fruit it’s various items of value, presumably from the bank’s safety deposit boxes. The wraparound corridor is also still there, although once you’ve collected all the coins, Lupin then has to be carefully guided to the exit and his waiting getaway vehicle.
Sounds easy peasy.
It isn’t. Unlike Pac-Man, there are no magic power pills in these mazes that enable you to turn the tables on your pursuers. With only a moment’s reprieve possible, Lock ‘n’ Chase is a constant battle of endurance and wits against the dogged constabulary that relentlessly hounds you.
Crikey. Ok, any help for a budding lawbreaker?
Watch for the light blue lines in the walls – these are the handy locations where you can briefly close the doors behind you, and apart from the top left corner, can also be used to trap a trailing policeman. Also each cop has a particular trait, similar to the ghosts in Pac-Man. The one to watch out for his Stiffy, as he gets faster and faster as the levels progress, eventually able to catch up with the player.
Yes, really, and probably the worst name for a video game character ever.
Ok, I’m sold. So what challenges can I expect on Antstream Arcade with Lock ‘N’ Chase?
There are five great challenges for Lock ‘n’ Chase on Antstream Arcade: Mr. Money Bags is a simple race to collect the most amount of money in two minutes, while Groundhoggin’ challenges you to warp around the screen as many times as possible without losing a life. Mental Block asks you to complete the first level as quickly as possible, On The Lamb is all about avoiding the cops for as long as you can, while the final challenge, Inner Circle, is gained by completing level one without using the inner corridors – not quite as easy as it sounds!
What are my chances of getting high up on the Antstream Arcade scoreboards?
While Antstream Arcade user VeeRay has notched an impressive crime-does-pay top score of 61660, with Jonathan Turner (45140) and RetroSalaryMan (32060) in second and third place, there’s every chance you can half-inch your way into the top ten, depending on how light your fingers are.
What about the home conversions?
The Mattel Intellivision got an excellent port of Lock ‘n’ Chase, lacking a little graphical finesse, but playing superbly. Even less similar aesthetically is the Atari 2600 version, but again it plays decently. The only home computer appearance was on the Apple II, while a Gameboy reboot, released in 1990, mixes it up with different mazes and items.
Right, I’m hooked on Lock ‘n’ Chase. But is there anything similar to it on Antstream Arcade?
With hundreds of carefully-curated retro games available, of course there is! There are more maze-based antics with the ZX Spectrum game Hungry Horace or Dizzy spin-off, Kwik Snax. Alternatively, staying in the arcades, we recommend the tremendously ovular fun of Scrambled Egg, from Technos.
And he’s really called Stiffy?