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Keystone Kapers (Activision)




You’ll likely remember how in Sunday’s review I criticized Barnstorming for being ‘style over substance’, well I think Keystone Kapers may have finally balanced these two opposing forces. The premise is fairly basic, you are a cop who needs to catch a burglar who is escaping through a shopping mall, you must avoid obstacles in order to catch the thieving fiend. Everything in this game screams effort, from the animated escalators, to the running animations of both the cop and the burglar, to that classic Activision sunset, it all looks great and is filled to bursting with color. Playing the game is a fairly simple affair, run, then jump, and occasionally duck. Keystone Kapers is a screen-by-screen obstacle avoiding madhouse, starting out with bouncing balls, leading up to stationary ‘Cop Catchers’, all the way to shopping carts and instant-kill RC airplanes. The Burglar starts on the second floor and you must keep him from reaching the roof, thankfully you can run faster than he can, and you are given a little advantage, the elevators. The elevators can be a blessing and a curse since as soon as you get in front of the burglar he turns around, but you can’t go down the escalators, but he can. Both you and he start in the same place, but on different floors, and run at the same speed for the entire game but with the myriad obstacle put in your way you’ll be hard pressed to catch this crook! Loose carts for this game are very cheap, on Ebay you can get these for less than ten bucks all day, I would recommend against trying to get this boxed since the prices are rather inflated, but if you can find one for 15-20$ I would say go for it.


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I've long believed this game has the best graphics in the 2600 library. The gameplay doesn't quite live up to the visuals, but it's still very good! I've always been amazed that this game was Garry Kitchen's follow-up to Donkey Kong... visually, it's quite the step up! I wonder if after wrestling with the 2600's limitations to get DK working if he wasn't inspired to create the best looking game possible given those limitations. If so, mission accomplished, Mr. Kitchen!

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