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Snack Attack (Apple II) artwork

Snack Attack (Apple II) review


"Too many dot-maze games risked little in aping Pac-Man. Snack Attack commendably bent dots-in-maze conventions to bizarre and individual effect. Its three-level loop featured garish orange walls, gumdrops worth one (green) or two (red) points, a wind-up noise to start things, and a stupidly smiling pumpkin that appeared at random intervals in the center. The screen top flashed WRONG at those who dared breach the EDL; axis of moving. So wonderfully childish, and my first concern troll, too..."



Too many dot-maze games risked little in aping Pac-Man. Snack Attack commendably bent dots-in-maze conventions to bizarre and individual effect. Its three-level loop featured garish orange walls, gumdrops worth one (green) or two (red) points, a wind-up noise to start things, and a stupidly smiling pumpkin that appeared at random intervals in the center. The screen top flashed WRONG at those who dared breach the EDL; axis of moving. So wonderfully childish, and my first concern troll, too.

But without the gates, I wouldn't have remembered Snack Attack. Reds blocked your bouncy guppy, and greens repelled the boxy ghosts (red, green, orange, purple.) The levels used them well. The first had long corner loops a cozy two-green-door hideout. I'd maneuver there a lot, especially when my sister called next game. The second level bowdlerized Pac-Man, with green gates guarding a side-warp. You'd have to hit L; a lot to stay in that safe zone and totally flummox the semi-smart monsters. The third level showed possibilities: several green and red doors in a spiral-type maze. It felt like hide and seek.

Each level provided different methods for faking monsters out, whether to avoid or catch them. They generally sensed where you were and would bend their path towards you, so standing in zigzaggy areas until they moved paid off. During pill time, the guppy grew fangs and made chomping noises, but since everyone moved at the same speed, encirclement was important. When chased, you'd get nipped rounding corners without moving ahead. The ghosts' unpredictability forced low-level gambling. Even the green ghost--out of their private pen at the start--could face either way. And gobbled ghosts' jagged bottoms could take a while returning to the pen.

I remember my annoyance when Snack Attack looped--with no cut-scenes despite the bright levels! What really prevented me overplaying it, though, was the speed. You could adjust it, but with no middle ground between impatient and forced mistakes. I got so mad I designed a few levels of my own, though I came back to playing once a year when I forgot my strategies in detail. Of course, one loop's all that's needed, but I think good-idea games like this still have their place--if polished, they'd make fantastic mini-games.

Rating: 5/10

aschultz's avatar
Community review by aschultz (January 23, 2010)

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bloomer posted January 29, 2010:

This game was a bit seminal for me, since this and Snoggle were probably the very first Pacman clones I ever played on the Apple II. I can't remember if I played Snack Attack or a real Pacman machine first.

You perceive more about it than I ever did (the fact everyone moves at the same speed, etc.) but then again I don't think I ever revisited it after I was a kid.
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aschultz posted January 29, 2010:

I played Pac-Man at a roller skating rink, then I remember some family friends had a copy of Gobbler.

While there wasn't much to perceive about the game, yeah, I revisited it. My allowance didn't cover new games, and the bucket of pirated games we got from my father's coworker moving back to Germany lasted a while e.g. "You already HAVE enough games." So I got a lot of educational and InfoCom games. Well, until a friend showed me Ultima IV -and- Bard's Tale II one day.

Our friendship hit a sticky patch when the Apple got Ultima V and Bard's Tale III, but that's another story. Maybe I should make a blog entry.

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