Blast From The Past: Mappy (Famicom)
One of the most appealing things about video games throughout the years is that they don’t necessarily have to make sense. A cunning mouse police officer bouncing on trampolines and slamming doors in cat’s faces is a perfect example of this. This is pretty much the premise of the iconic Famicom/Arcade game, Mappy. A gang of cats, called the Mewkies, have stolen some valuable items such as electronic parts and paintings (the Mona Lisa no less) and are hiding out in a rather snazzy mansion. A bunch of goons, made up of cats, are hiding them in their elaborate mansion. In comes the reliable mouse-cop, Mappy, to reclaim all the stolen merchandise and sell it to people on the black market, return them to their rightful owners.
The game is made up of 11 rounds and 4 bonus rounds where you simply collect as many balloons as possible. When all 15 of these rounds have been completed you start over at a higher difficulty. The mansion that Mappy is infiltrating is comprised of six floors. Want to get to the next floor? Just take the stairs. Nope. If you want to make your way to a higher level in the mansion you need to use trampolines to bounce up. When you bounce on these conveniently-placed bouncy mats you are impenetrable to the attacks of the Mewkies who can also use these trampolines to get to you. The trick to using the trampolines however is that you can only bounce on them a few times before they snap. This adds a fun dynamic to the game as you try avoid a mean gang of cats and try collect all the stolen items.
Using the trampolines to avoid the Mewkies isn’t your only line of defense though. Each round has a number of doors that Mappy will need to unlock to get through to the other side of the mansion. If you approach these doors from the incorrect side, you won’t be able to unlock them, making yourself very vulnerable to getting caught. If you manage to time the opening of the doors correctly you’ll slam the door in the face of one of your enemies, temporally stunning them which will allow you to get past them. Some doors are slightly thicker than others and blink. These can be described as radioactive door. When opened they shoot what looks like a sound wave across the level. If this wave hits an enemy they’ll get thrown out of the mansion. In true Pac Man fashion, the Mewkies respawn soon thereafter. The leader of the Mewkies, Nyamco, will occasionally hide behind the stolen items for brief periods. If you collect the item, while he hiding behind it, you’ll be rewarded with extra score points. As Mappy is a score-based game it is well worth your while to try bet these bonus points before Nyamco jumps out at you.
Simple visuals and a groovy little soundtrack add to the appeal of this Namco classic. There are some well implemented ideas that add to the tension and difficulty. It’s no coincidence that Mappy is known as “The ultimate cat-and-mouse game!”