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|Title:||Maze Craze- A Game of Cops 'n Robbers|
|Rating:||4 out of 5|
Atari's Maze Craze is a wonderful example of a simple game with loads of options that will delight players in head-to-head competition. It's easy to overlook this game as a one-trick pony in which players race to be the first to solve the maze.
Those who read the manual and give this title a chance will discover a whole new perspective to it's seeming simplicity. Aside from the manual (which I recommend reading) the biggest clue to the expansive options of Maze Craze lies in it's sub-title: A Game of Cops 'N Robber. Wait what?
If you just fire up this cart with a friend, it seems like a simple race to see who can find the maze's exit first. Read your manual or find a PDF of it as needed to see what wonders you're missing out on. Did you know your character is a police officer? This is a much different game than I was aware!
Each player controls a blue or red cop. Your cop's beat is a maze of city blocks. Your goal is to navigate the city streets to move the cop from the left side of the maze to the exit on the right, as shown in the screenshot.
There is an obvious simplicity to this game, but here's a mental trick to give it a better perspective. Upon first glance the screen looks like any of the maze books you may have taken a pencil to as a kid. If you think of it as the winding city streets that are part of your police beat, it seems less like a kiddie maze.
Regardless of your viewpoint, the first player to reach the exit on the right side wins the game. Depending on the variant you choose to play, you may encounter armed robbers, blockades, and other obstacles to prohibit you from finishing your beat. You may encounter blackouts that prevent you from seeing part or all of the screen. In these situations, you have to rely on audible clues to make your way.
The joystick moves your cop in the desired direction and the fire button takes on a number of roles depending on which game variation you're playing.
2, 3 OR 5 Robbers - This time the robbers are out to get you. Avoid them as the lurk around corners because if they touch you, you lose the game.
Capture - your goal is to tag the robbers as you travel through the maze.
Auto Peek - When the screen is blacked out, the auto peek feature will reveal the whole screen for a brief time, giving you a chance to get your bearings and set a course.
Player Peek - Like Auto Peek, when the screen is blacked out, your fire button will let you briefly reveal the screen.
Wounds - It's not as awful as it sounds. Wounds occur if a robber touches you. This slows you down and you gradually resume your normal speed.
Blockade - Use your fire button to set up a blockade. It will look like the street has suddenly reached a dead-end, but our can pass through it. It is a tactic to confuse your opponent. Only one blockade can be deployed at the same time - new ones remove the previous ones.
Terror - You may think you're winning or about to win, but this variation requires your opponent to be tagged by robbers before you can exit the maze.
Scouts - Feel like a partner would even the odds in an invisible maze? scouts are just that - partners that reveal the way... although you don't have to follow their advice (guidance).
See! There is a lot more to Maze Craze than you may have thought. We won't say it rivals Warlords, but it's a great head-to-head game for 2.
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