The Game: It’s got dots and a maze, but this is no Pac-Man. You’re trapped in a symmetrical maze with an enemy homing missile, and the maze is littered with rows of dots. You must maneuver your ship over these dots to collect them, while avoiding any collision with the missile. If the missile locks on to you from the other end of a long corridor, it will speed up drastically and hit you (unless you can round a corner first). You have no defense against the missile – just avoid it. If you survive long enough to clear the maze of dots, you get to try again – only this time with an additional missile (later screens add even more enemies for you to avoid). You can give your ship a boost by activating your engines, but such speed changes are both short-lived and very costly to your already-dwindling fuel supply. (Taito, 1980)
Memories: It seems like around 1980, everyone had a variation on a similar idea. Somewhat resembling Targ and Spectar in the basic tenet of its ships-chasing-each-other-in-a-maze premise, Space Chaser is perhaps the most challenging of its genre for giving the player no option except to flee. There’s no power-up, nothing you can find in the maze that will give you even the slightest advantage over the missiles. The one recourse you have is to fire your ship’s engines, and even that isn’t always the wisest thing to do.
Space Chaser is one of those oft-imitated games that only recently was brought home by name, first as part of a budget-priced Playstation arcade classics compilation for the Japanese market and then in some of Taito’s more recent retro compilations released internationally.