Crazy Otto - Atari 7800
Crazy Otto was developed as an enhancement kit for Pac-man cabinets by General Computer Corporation (GCC). GCC also created an upgrade kit for Missile Command titled Super Missile Command, for which they were sued by Atari, but the suit was dropped and the two companies entered into a business arrangement. GCC went on to develop the arcade games Fight and Quantum for Atari, as well as games for the Atari 2600, 5200 and 7800 game consoles.
As a drop-in upgrade for Pac-Man, Crazy Otto brought many changes to the game, although basic gameplay remained the same. Most notable is the main character (Crazy Otto) had legs and blue eyes. The monsters also have feet, as well as animated antennae. Other changes included new mazes, music, sound effects, and bonus fruit. Otto and his female counterpart were featured in three new intermissions, the last of which shows the arrival of baby Crazy Otto, "Junior".
In October 1981 Crazy Otto was licensed to Midway, who had the rights to produce Pac-Man in North America. The only changes between Crazy Otto and Pac-Man are the visual representation of characters and various text strings. The decision was made to use the female character as the protagonist, and the game was renamed to Ms. Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man went on to become the most successful American-produced arcade game, selling 115,000 cabinets.
Atari 7800 programmer Robert DeCrescenzo has taken Atari's version of Ms. Pac-Man for the 7800 and updated the graphics to match the Crazy Otto arcade game. As this is a graphics hack, gameplay is unchanged from Ms. Pac-Man.
No box or manual is included with Crazy Otto. Available in NTSC and PAL television formats, please select above.
|Number of Players||1 - 2|
Enter Robert "Bob" DeCrescenzo to port piece of forgotten video game trivia to the 7800. I guess "port" is not the correct term. Crazy Otto was a hack of Pacman, and Ms Pacman was a hack of Crazy Otto, so our homebrewer Bob has hacked 7800 Ms Pacman back into Crazy Otto for everyone to enjoy. It turns out that despite the description, Crazy Otto is a little bit more than just a graphics hack.
*For starters, the default number of lives is changed from 5 to 3, causing games to end a little more quickly.
*The title screen is modeled after Pacman instead of the newer Ms Pacman screen. The monsters have all been renamed as well.
*Also, a couple of minor corrections to the Ms Pacman pallete have been made, making the game more arcade accurate. Most notably, Blinky is the proper red color instead of dark pink, and the pink color of the first maze has been changed to orange as well.
*Bob has fized the maze height so that the Crazy Otto mazes are full size instead of one line short like the 7800 Ms Pacman port.
*During the Meet and Chase cut-scenes, Otto is seen flirting with his red female counterpart, Anna. One slight bug I noticed based on screenshots online (I did not get this far in the game myself so it may have been corrected) is that the Otto Jr dropped by the stork during the third cut-scene is missing it's legs (unchanged from the original sprite in Ms Pacman), although they were clearly present in the sprite art based on MAME screenshots.
Graphical changes aside, Crazy Otto stands out as a slightly more arcade accurate port than the original 7800 Ms Pacman game. Interesting to note if you've ever noticed the marquee on the side of a vintage Pacman machine, the Pacman artwork actually has two long skinny legs with outward facing feet, much like the sprite art for GCC's Crazy Otto hack! But Crazy Otto is still just 7800 Ms Pacman with a slightly different skin and subtle tweaks. The physics and behavior are all exactly the same as Ms Pacman, and as such Crazy Otto still remains more of a curiosity or historical footnote than a brand new game.
Sans graphical edits, all of the tweaks and gameplay enhancements present in this hack can also be found by playing Ms Pacman mode in the exquisite Pacman Collection, plus an endless variety of gameplay options. But if you already own and are happy with 7800 Ms Pacman, Crazy Otto really doesn't bring anything new to the table besides the funky new graphics. For that, I'm going to dock a joystick or two as I don't really consider it an essential part of the 7800 library. But if you are a hardcore Pac-fan who has to own every variation, collect historical video game oddities, or simply enjoy goofy graphics hacks, there is still plenty of fun to be had with Crazy Otto.