Keystone Kapers

Keystone Kapers
Company: Activision
Model #:
Alex DeMeo
Year: 1984
Enhanced port of the 2600 game


Talk about classics, this game goes back to the 1930's!  Keystone Kapers is a fast paced action game that hearken back to a time when cops were armed with billy clubs and crooks still wore those classic black and white stripes.  What better subject for a game than those lovable Keystone Cops?


Harry Hooligan (don'tcha just love these names?) is on the loose again, and he's been spotted robbing a department store.  Officer Kelly (that would be you) must catch Harry before he can escape to the rooftop of the building (so where does he go from there?).  You must carefully make your way through four levels of the department store avoiding shopping carts, rubber balls, toy airplanes, and even radios?!?! (gotta watch out for those deadly radios!).  Each time you hit an obstacle you'll loose precious time and Harry will get further away from you, but if you get hit by a toy airplane you'll lose a life (think tiny propeller stuck in your skull).  There are good things to collect however, suitcases and moneybags scattered about the level are worth a few bonus points so you might as well pick them up.


As you make your way along each level you'll notice an elevator entrance.  Using the elevator can save you a lot of time, but you must wait for it to come to your level.  Not only is there a wait, but if Harry sees that you've gotten ahead of him he'll head the other way down towards the building entrance.  And while the escalators between each level will take you up, they won't go back down, so the elevator is your only way to get back to a lower level.  Use the elevator with caution; it's usually more trouble than it's worth.


As the levels progress the obstacles become more of a nuisance.  The rubber balls will change their pattern, shopping carts and toy airplanes move faster, and the radios seem to multiply.  Later on your troubles multiply as multiple obstacles appear on the same screen (two shopping carts, two airplanes, etc.).  To help you out, the department store has kindly decided to turn on its video surveillance system, which appears as a "radar" at the bottom of the screen.  You can use this "radar" to track Harry's progress and to see what floor the elevator is currently on.


As usual, the 8-bit version has been given a graphical overhaul from its 2600 counterpart.  The main difference is that inclusion of objects and furniture in the background of each floor.  Now instead of having the occasional gray block in the background, the floors are filled with tables with umbrellas, columns, desks, and even a little building for the staircase on top of the roof.  While these graphical enhancements may look pretty, they tend to distract players as they're trying to concentrate on avoiding obstacles.  Therefore many players actually prefer the original 2600 version to the 8-bit version (this is one case where less is definitely more).


Keystone Kapers is one of those titles that aged well.  Even in the age of Playstation 2, GameCube, and X-Box, there's something addicting about Keystone Kapers that the newer games just don't have.  I find myself playing a few rounds at least one a week, even though it came out almost twenty years ago.  Now that's a game that can go the distance!


Version Cart Text Description
?????? Keystone Kapers CZ-006 (C) 1983, 1984 Activision, Inc.
Final Version


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