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Keystone Kapers Review

Developer: Activision Publisher: Activision
Release Date: N/A Also On: None

Other than Atari, Activision is probably the best-known publisher of games on the Atari 2600. Activision released a fairly large quantity of games for the system among a diverse set of genres. One of the latest of their releases was 1983’s Keystone Kapers, a sort of platformer. How does this game compare to other games of its period on the Atari 2600? Read on to find out.

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Keystone Kapers follows the exploit of a cop who specializes in chasing criminals up buildings. In each level, the cop must ascend the building by running back and forth and catch a criminal who is running from him within a specified time limit. This isn’t easy even at the beginning, but it gets harder each time you catch a criminal as the next one will have more and deadlier traps that you must evade to catch him.

Among these traps will be bouncing discs, things that look like shopping carts, helicopters, and even bombs. Touching these things will, at best, slow the cop down, but some of them will kill the cop completely and send him back to the bottom of the building for his next life. The cop will also lose a life if he runs out of time without catching the criminal. To combat these things, the cop has three maneuvers at his disposal: he can run by pressing left or right on the joystick, he can duck by pressing down on the joystick, or he can jump by pressing the button. By combining a jump with the running, the cop can jump forward, a tactic that will see much use in this game.

Aesthetically, the graphics really aren’t bad for a game released in 1983. The lack of scrolling screens is a glaring omission, but might have been purposeful rather than a sign of laziness. Other than that though, the graphics are quite good. The sound effects are a bit on the generic side, but they aren’t bad by any means. Overall, the aesthetics are decent, but they are nothing to get too excited about.

So, should you try this game? Granted, it can get a bit repetitive since the level itself is laid out the same way each time through, the only thing changing being the locations and types of enemies in the different screens. Still, it is a fun game while it lasts, and it will last a reasonably high amount of time if you’re a fan of platformers where the objective is survival rather than getting to the end. I recommend you consider getting it if you can find it reasonably cheap.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7
Written by Martin Review Guide