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Keystone Kapers (Atari 2600) artwork

Keystone Kapers (Atari 2600) review

"More distressing are the toy planes. Taking one of those upside the head is enough to send a Kop down for the count. And, as you might expect, Harry is 100 percent immune to all of these distractions as he merrily dashes for freedom."

Back in the days of black-and-white slapstick comedy, there was this show about bumbling law enforcement types called Keystone Kops. The legacy of these chaps, for whatever it was worth, lived on through the 1980s thanks to Activision and their Atari 2600 cart, Keystone Kapers.

Like you'd expect from an Atari 2600 game, this one wasn't particularly complicated. You controlled a Kop running through a mall in a attempt to nab the dastardly Harry Hooligan (with a name like that, you know he's the kind of chap that's typically up to no good) before he gets to the fourth-floor roof and either escapes or leaps to his lemming-like death.

Unfortunately for your Kop, the mall itself seems to be on Harry's side. Beach balls bounce through some screens, while shopping carts careen across others. Careless employees also left giant radios laying in the middle of the floor. Colliding with any of these obstacles robs you of precious time, which isn't good, because if Harry gets away, you lose one member of your law enforcement team. More distressing are the toy planes. Taking one of those upside the head is enough to send a Kop down for the count. And, as you might expect, Harry is 100 percent immune to all of these distractions as he merrily dashes for freedom.

On the other hand, you do have one advantage over the simple-minded criminal. While Activision does start him a floor ahead of you, all he does is run to the escalator at the far end, take it to the next floor and go all the way across to the next escalator ignoring the elevators perched in the middle of each floor. You on the other hand, have the intelligence (hopefully) to use those contraptions to negate that head start. Of course, as you progress through the infinite levels, the obstacles start to move faster and it's very possible to get drilled by a shopping cart or plane while waiting for the elevator to get down to your floor, so it's not a be-all, end-all solution all of the time.

While not as classic as, say Activision's Pitfall or River Raid were, I did log a good number of hours with this one in my youth. Keystone Kapers is just a simple test of reflexes, as all you can do is run, jump and duck. While the game starts off very easy, by later levels when planes and carts seemingly zip through nearly every screen, it does have what it takes to get the heart pumping. While I can't see me playing it again today, Keystone Kapers did provide a fun diversion during those days of yesteryear.

overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (July 31, 2008)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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