K.C. Munchkin is an Atari 7800 port of one of the better known games on the Odyssey 2 console. K.C. Munchkin is a maze game similar to Pac-Man, in which you must navigate your Munchkin through a maze to eat all twelve Munchies, all while evading the Munchers. If you eat the special Munchie (which flashes different colors), the Munchers turn purple, allowing you to eat them.
K.C. Munchkin was released for the Odyssey 2 a year before Atari was able to release Pac-Man for the 2600. However, Atari had the exclusive home console rights to Pac-Man and sued Philips to force them to cease production of K.C. Munchkin. Although Atari wasn't initially succesful, they did ultimately win on appeal, and Philips was forced to halt sales of the game.
K.C. Munchkin has two game options you can select before starting a new game:
- Maze: You can select to play one of four built in mazes, or instead choose to have a random maze selected at the start of each level.
- Invisible: If you set Invisible to 'YES', the maze will disappear when your Munchkin is moving. When you run into the walls or you stop moving, the maze will reappear momentarily.
Choosing the 'EDITOR' option from the 'SELECT' screen allows you to create your own mazes. You can use the editor to place and remove walls, as well as copy one of the built-in mazes into the editor for modification. Once you have finished editing the maze, you can then play your new maze in the game.
K.C. Munchkin includes the game cartridge and full-color, four page manual. K.C. Munchkin supports both NTSC and PAL television standards.
Get a K.C. Munchkin Box!
If you'd like a boxed copy of K.C. Munchkin, please select "Box Upgrade: Yes" at the top of the page before adding K.C. Munchkin to your cart. Our boxes are professionally printed and include a box insert to hold your K.C. Munchkin cartridge in place. We want you to play our games, so we have not sealed or shrinkwrapped the boxes in any way, allowing you easy access to the game cartridge and manual.
These boxes are the same size as boxes Atari produced for their games "back in the day". They look great sitting on a shelf with your other boxed homebrew games, or alongside games from the classic Atari library. We only have a limited number of boxes for each game, and there is no guarantee they will become available again once our supplies are exhausted. Click on the images to the right to see larger photos of the box.
|Number of Players||1|
|Label and Manual||Marc Oberhaeuser|
Playing the game and getting a feel for it, and its play style mechanics, while there is an undeniable similarity with Pac-Man, this is a very good game in its own right with considerable and distinct differences.
Off the bat, there are no patterns that can be memorized as an easy way to complete any of the mazes. KC is more like Ms. Pac-Man in this regard, including a variety of maze layouts; like the aforementioned, there are four different ones.
The key though involves understanding that unlike any of the Pac-Man maze series of games, a player cannot change direction on a whim. KC moves in a grid-like pattern throughout the maze*. Once a direction has been selected, KC must complete moving into that next grid space before selecting a new direction.
For those familiar with the Arcade classic Q*bert in which once a direction is selected to hop to, Q*bert must land on that cube, in that chosen direction, before being able to select a new direction, KC moves with a similar movement rule set. There is no way of changing Q*bert's direction midair, and there is no way of changing KC's direction when travelling to the next grid space.
That gameplay movement feature coupled with the typical, trying to plan your movement ahead of time while the "munchers" are coming for you, is one of the ways it is very similar to, yet very different from, (Ms) Pac-Man.
Unlike the familiar Arcade games, KC only has twelve dots ("pills") in each maze. Three pills at a time come together at the start of a new maze to form four groups. The pills though, move throughout the maze. Last pill remaining is extra challenging as it moves at the same speed of KC and cannot simply be followed and eaten, it must be intercepted. There are flashing pills which turn the tables on the “munchers” in the same way energizers allow Pac-Man to turn the tables on the “monsters”.
Players have the choice of which of the 4 mazes they wish to play, or make it random. There is also a level editor for individuals to design their own maze. Last but not least, when and if one 'masters' the four mazes of the game, the invisible maze option ramps up the challenge considerably.
KC Munchkin goes above and beyond the O2 experience by not only providing gameplay mechanics that are spot on to the original**; additionally, there is the choice of graphics. Default graphics being the updated set for the 7800. Hold down the Pause button on the console while powering on the system and throughout the BIOS check/logo and the original O2 graphics will appear.
While it may not be for everyone, especially if one finds themselves insisting to try movement and planning just like (Ms) Pac-Man, if the game can be seen and appreciated as its own standalone experience, it is a rewarding one and worth the endeavor. KC Munchkin is a fun and addicting title.
*Defender_2600 did an excellent job in illustrating the grid of KC Munchkin here:
**High praises for the game came from The Odyssey2 Homepage using terms to describe the 7800 port as:
"...impressively accurate...faithfully recreates...strikingly accurate.”
Have to disagree with Andy. On my 7800, at least, I'm finding the controls to be very responsive with no lag whatsoever. The Atari 7800 notoriously varies in quality between consoles (mine is a console that has no hint that an expansion port was ever going to exist), though, so YMMV.
The one star I docked was because this game was a perfect candidate for the AtariVox / high score device, sadly not used here. You'd really hope there'd be a way to save your scores, especially because you're prompted for your name. It would be nice if there were a way to save your maze creations, too.
here is my video review/ look at