The Game: Plumber Larry Bain is out to earn his hazard pay, trying to run pipes through a rat-infested maze. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that the rats are as big as he is. He can lay a limited number of traps in the maze that will temporarily stop the rats in their tracks so he can double back and eliminate them, but in the end Larry’s best chance of survival is to stay on the run and fill the maze with plumbing. (Sierra On-Line, 1981)
Memories: Cut from the same “let’s do Pac-Man but make it different enough from Pac-Man that we don’t get sued” cloth as his own Jawbreaker, John Harris strikes again with Mouskattack, which was actually advertised as being “by the author of Jawbreaker,” which may be one of the earliest instances of a game being advertised as something that should be bought on the strength of that programmer’s previous works.
Visually, the two games aren’t quite identical, but they’re pretty close, with different play mechanics. Mouskattack plays more like Make Trax than Pac-Man, as players try to “paint” the entire maze with plumbing in order to advance to the next level. The scoring system and the “look” of the maze and its inhabitants, however, are pure Pac-Man: Larry’s a rather yellow plumber. He really needs to have that jaundice looked at.
Sierra On-Line ported Mouskattack to the Apple II, but the game never quite attained the same level of popularity as Jawbreaker. There’s nothing wrong with Mouskattack – it’s actually quite a bit of fun – but it may have been a case of two games, too similar, too soon.