The Game: Mappy the Mouse is back, pursuing his feline arch nemesis Boss The Big Bit and his kitty kohorts through several themed zones of an amusement park. Riddled with ladders, trampolines, secret weapons and treasures, the park goes from wild west to tropical and beyond. Just avoid the cats, lest Mappy become someone’s mousy morsel. (Taxan [under license from Namco], 1988)
Memories: As much marketing muscle as was flexed for the introduction of Namco’s Mappy, you can tell that there was a strong feeling that he was the next big thing. But apparently law enforcement’s #1 rodent didn’t quite catch on; Mappy wasn’t the expected super-hit, going over moderately better in Japan than it did in the U.S.
One coin-op sequel, Hopping Mappy, brought the big-eared one back for more, but its pogo-stick-based action didn’t make a dent; the game was released only in Japan. But had that sequel been more like Mappy Land for the NES, it might have gone over a bit better. Preserving the basic game play mechanics of the original arcade game, Mappy Land throws in a few extra surprises without trashing everything you ever know about playing Mappy. It’s actually loads of fun, and not too difficult – I got a couple of zones into the game the first time I ever picked it up, and this was with no manual and no foreknowledge of how to play.
Alas, since Mappy has always only had limited exposure, Mappy Land didn’t exactly set sales records either, so the cheese-munchin’ cop ended his career here. But for those of us who snagged a copy, Mappy Land is a fond reminder of 2-D days gone by, and an outstanding example of how to reinterpret a classic arcade game for a new platform.