Lock 'N Chase Review
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
Data East had quite a few relatively unknown Game Boy games back in the day. Much BurgerTime Deluxe, released a few weeks ago, Lock 'N Chase is essentially a "sequel" to the original arcade game, with the same general gameplay but with many more levels and even a few new gameplay mechanics.
If you've played the arcade game, the graphics in this version will probably be the first thing you notice. The original game looked very primitive, with blocky characters and only a single level which looked like it was in cyberspace. In the Game Boy version, the characters have been reimagined to look like some sort of walking balls with feet, with your character wearing a fedora and every other character dressed like a cop, with different designs. There are also several different level designs this time.
If you're new to Lock 'N Chase, probably the first thing you'll think is that it is very similar to Pac-Man. You run around a maze collecting gold while being chased around by several enemies that kill you upon a simple touch. On top of that, randomly appearing diamonds allow you to kill the enemies by touching them instead (although they will instantly respawn), as well as money bags which temporarily stun all enemies.
Lock 'N Chase differs from its obvious inspiration however by introducing several other gameplay elements. For starters, along the walls of the paths in every level you'll come across several marked spots where you can set up an electric barricade, allowing you to easily force an enemy to take the long way around. Of course, these can not be used continuously, so you'll have to manage your use of them carefully.
On top of barricades, you'll be introduced to several other gameplay elements as you go along, like sets of doors which are connected to each other and act as warps, barriers which only open for you and close again after a while and alarm clocks which wake up sleeping enemies on the stage. Eventually there will even be hidden passages within the walls which are not visible in any way, and although that means you'll have to search hard for them, it also means enemies can never get into them, making them a safe haven.
Probably the biggest thing it has over Namco's extremely simplistic Game Boy port of Pac-Man, however, is that it has a ton of stages, each of which is completely different. There are 12 areas total, each with three stages. The first six are rather simple and introduce you to new gameplay elements, and after that you'll actually get a credit roll and a password to access the second half of the game, which has much tougher levels.
Unlike BurgerTime Deluxe, unfortunately, there are no passwords between every single area. There are, however, slot games between each area where you get one roll for every diamond you grabbed, and if you get particularly lucky you could manage to get 20+ lives in a matter of seconds like us.
As stated earlier, the game's graphics are a noticeable improvement over the original arcade game, with quite a bit more character. The music is also quite nice, with several catchy tunes and a new song in every one of the first six areas.
Like BurgerTime Deluxe, Lock 'N Chase is a nice update to an old Data East arcade game. However, while BurgerTime didn't really add anything new and only added a decent amount of new stages, Lock 'N Chase offers several interesting new gameplay elements which are switched between regularly, as well as a large amount of new stages. The Game Boy version of Pac-Man is quite disappointing, so why not pick up this much better game inspired by it instead?