Friday, February 5, 2021

Matter of Import 010: Panda Chase (Atari 2600, 1983)

 

Panda Chase is... well, it's hard to say. Visually and superficially it reminds me of Atari's E.T, but simplified and with worse controls. On the surface it looks like a platformer with deceptively simple goals.

Panda is Hungry, so he needs to find food which is bamboo to feed himself. In this screen you will find tall bushes and huts on the plains. But in order to enter the huts and bushes, he might face some difficulties which he has to over come. Once over come all the difficulties, he gets his energy restored plus a special bonus.

So the plains are an overworld map containing huts, bamboo forests, and traps. When you enter a hut you enter an underground tunnel and are attacked by wild boars, and you need to jump up the steps to get to the bamboo. The manual has this to say about jumping.

When jumping, you must jump the stairs in a proper position, otherwise any part of panda's body touches the staircase wall he will fall down to the bottom, so you will have to start all over again.

And when you fall you end up behind the stairs, unable to jump, and at the mercy of the wild animals coming to kill you.

So that's frustrating, and very tricky as your jumps aren't very precise... all it takes is just a touch and you've fallen through to the bottom again.


 And that's basically it... repeatedly entering these different platformer levels that aren't a lot of fun to play. I will say that the visuals are nice – panda looks like a panda – and if the controls were tighter I'd give the game a higher rating. As is, I'm compelled to give it a D.

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