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WANTED: Feedback for K.C. Munchkin for Atari 7800!


dauber
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I'm looking for feedback for the next episode of the Atari 7800 Homebrew Podcast (you can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or use this feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/homebrew78 )

What are your thoughts on K.C. Munchkin! on the 7800 or memories of playing it on the Odyssey2?

This game will be covered on Episode 2.

You can also e-mail text or audio to homebrew78 -at- fab4it -dot- com

Supernatural, perhaps...baloney, perhaps not.

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Memories of O2 KC Munchkin:  This game was totally fantastic back when it came out, and still great today.  It's a nice twist on Pac Man, with the moving dots.  Things can get pretty intense when the dots move so fast you can't just chase them down.  On the down side, I never understood why O2 games only gave you one life.  This game would have benefited by 3 lives and some bonuses.  One other thing is how excellent this game is in comparison to 2600 Pac Man.  No contest.  O2 wins for the first time with a complete knockout of Atari.

 

The 7800 version:  I had a chance to play it at a game show.  It's good, but somehow misses the simple charm of the O2 version.  I couldn't put my finger on why.  It just didn't "feel" right.  The graphics are updated, which is fine.  It think it was mostly the controls, but maybe the joystick I was using wasn't 100% working.  I'd love to know what others think. 

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I really like K.C. Munchkin and I think it's the best of the "Pac-Man clones" if you can call it that. I agree with what RickR said that it's "a nice twist on Pac-Man" because there's enough different about it to make it a different game, even though its still a maze game with a ball gobbling dots.

 

Two memories stand out to me about K.C. Munchkin:

 

1. I remember thinking K.C. Munchkin was the reason I wanted to get an Odyssey. It's the only reason I can remember. Guess that qualifies as a killer app.

 

2. I remember playing K.C. Munchkin at J.C. Pennys and thinking the next version of Pac-Man would have to use some of these ideas of a changing maze, pellets that open and close things and so on.

 

I've never played the 7800 version of K.C. Munchkin but PacManPlus does awesome work with everything. I can't think of anything he's made that's been a disappointment. K.C. Munchkin is on my list to pick up, It looks like a faithful port with some nice improvements and looks better than the Odyssey version in all the right ways. My gripe isn't with the game at all, it's that I wish more were being done with 7800 that could best the NES rather than the Odyssey. NES-quality games are needed on the 7800, but that's a different topic all together.

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Regarding the 7800 version: I think Bob DeCrescenzo has tapped into something great with porting games to the 7800 in the same way OpCode Games has tapped into something with porting games to the ColecoVision via the Super Game Module. I think Bob DeCrescenzo sees the 7800 the way it was designed, not as something to do what the NES does with tiled graphics but as the home console that could truly bring arcade games home in amazing ways. So many of his ports have been of arcade games or games from previous systems, and he makes the most out of the 7800 to deliver great games. I think all of his ports have hit the nail on the head and K.C. Munchkin is no different. Fantastic job! I think it's very cool that Bob DeCrescenzo was able to keep the "Odyssey Font" at the bottom of the screen, and I love the bit of detail he added to the sprites such as the whites of their eyes. Very well done! 

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Only briefly played KC Munchkin on a rented Odyssey 2.

I remember the controller action was weird (did those sticks have centering mechanisms or were they loose?) and, although I forgot about it, what Rick said about single-life play would account for my short time playing it.

Had rented the console and an assortment of games for the week. None of the games or the computer-console hybrid impressed as an essential to have at that price.

 

But as I previously mentioned a while back, this is one console that was kinda legendary for me in its look, possible use (keyboard AND gaming action? Wow) and overall sleek 70s sci-fi stylishness.

KC Munchkin was controversial for its lawsuit articles and subsequent rarity value, but this is ultimately the only extant memory I have from this KC moment in time (besides the sequel).

 

But I give props to the little guy for his staying power and charm.

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I remember the controller action was weird (did those sticks have centering mechanisms or were they loose?)

 

They do center, but they are much looser and have more movement than Atari sticks.  They feel like analog sticks, but they aren't.  I like them, but they are definitely different. 

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Ahhh, K.C. Munchkin!

 

The O2 was the first system I owned and this was one of my favorite games on the system along with Pick Axe Pete!

 

It'll be interesting to hear how it turned out on the 7800, which I hear is a fine system.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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BTW, Thursday, Jan. 12, noon CST will be the deadline for K.C. Munchkin! feedback, audio or textual. (You can submit video if you want, but this...is an audio podcast, so...kinda....would not translate very well!) Any feedback received after noon on Thursday will be addressed in the next episode, or if it's REALLY REALLY REALLY late (like, say, two weeks later!) I'll address it in an episode after the next!

Supernatural, perhaps...baloney, perhaps not.

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K.C. Munchkin was one of two O2 games that I spent a lot of time with as a kid (the other being Demon Attack). My cousin had an O2 before I had my Coleco Gemini and we shared a lot of weekends at his house playing K.C. I have K.C. for the O2 and still enjoy playing it even today. In terms of gameplay, I do not share the opinion that K.C. is better than the 2600 version of Pac-Man in every way. K.C. has a lot of depth, but I find 2600 Pac-Man to best K.C. in a few areas:

1) The control in 2600 Pac-Man is smooth like butter, and while K.C. controls well, if you do not apply continued pressure in the direction you want to go, K.C. stops. This can cause unintended death and/or serious hand cramps. Admittedly, this is less of an issue with the original O2 controllers but if you have a modded O2 or are using 2600-style controllers, extended play is tiring.

2) While the audio in 2600 Pac-Man is somewhat harsh, I find it helpful to have both audio and visual cues letting me know when the power pellet effect wears off. K.C. uses only visual cues - purple to flashing - to signal the end of the effect.

3) The defeated ghosts in Pac-Man immediately find their way to the center after being chomped to respawn. This compares to K.C. where defeated "Munchers" often continue to roam the screen. While this roaming can create room for a bit of breather for the player, I'd prefer that they simply return and respawn.

4) Multiple lives. Oh, how I wish that you got more than one life in K.C.

Where K.C. bests Pac-Man is in variety, graphics, color use and character design. The stock mazes are excellent and with the ability to create your own mazes, the possibilities are endless. This enhances K.C.'s replay value tremendously. K.C. & the Munchies also seem to have a bit more personality than 2600 Pac-Man's flickering ghosts. There's no flicker here. Just solid, brightly colored character sprites against a black background. No orange and blue mazes for you K.C.! In terms of gameplay, the "floating Munchies" provide an interesting element. Unlike the wafers in Pac-Man, K.C.'s snacks float around the screen. By the time the last munchie is left, it is moving around the whole maze as fast as K.C. does. Often, you have to intercept it. It's a really cool twist on the Pac-Man formula. Lastly, K.C. also includes an option to randomly pick the maze at the beginning of each level or have invisible mazes when moving. These play modes definitely keep you on your toes!

7800 K.C.:
I really like the 7800 version of K.C. It retains all aspects of the original, including control, sound and maze building. It updates the character sprites to give them a more developed, cartoonish look but in a restrained way. For those that prefer the original O2 graphics, they are embedded in the game and accessed by holding the PAUSE button at start-up. Finally, given the litigious history between Atari and Magnavox over K.C., the novelty of playing this game on an Atari console cannot be overstated. It is just cool.

That being said, I think there were some missed opportunities here. Firstly, it would have been great to see K.C. get the Pac-Man collection treatment with the inclusion of K.C's Krazy Chase. I'm not a programmer and I don't know how much effort that would've taken, but it would have added tremendous value to the cart. Secondly, it would have been nice to get an Arcade option, where the stock mazes rotate in a predictable manner a la Ms. Pac-Man. Thirdly, it would have been nice to have had an option for more than one life. Finally - and this isn't a criticism of the game itself - I much prefer the awesome U.S. packaging for nearly all O2 games. For whatever reason, they chose to use the European Videopac box art for inspiration.

Overall, PacManPlus has done a fine job bringing K.C. to the 7800. If you don't have it for the O2 (or don't have an O2) then this is a great way to play. If you already have it, it will probably be a pass. For myself, I bought it for the slight graphical tweaks, the novelty of playing K.C. on an Atari machine and to support homebrew development.

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Edited by atarilbc
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