Battle of the Ports – Peter Pack Rat (ピーターパックラット) Show #297 – 60fps

Battle of the Ports – Peter Pack Rat (ピーターパックラット) Show #297 – 60fps

November 17, 2019 42 By Ewald Bahringer


What on earth is Peter Pack-Rat you may be
wondering? Well, it’s a pretty obscure arcade game in
most parts of the world. Released and developed by Atari in 1985 for
their System 1 arcade board, this platform collecerthon game features art by Debbie Hayes
who worked on animations such as Fire & Ice and Starchaser. The aim of Peter Pack Rat is to collect all
the shinny and interesting items from around the stage then take them back to his nest
where he can proudly display them. A very simple concept yet a fun one. Each stage gives you a number of different
items to collect in order to complete the stage. The game features three unique stages that
repeat in a fixed cycle – a junkyard, a sewer, and a large tree – with the layout, number
of enemies, and number of required objects changing each time. Throughout each stage you’ll come across a
bunch of enemies known as “The Gang” who want nothing more than to stop your fun loving
collection. But don’t worry; throw a random piece of garbage
at them to stun them or even to take control of them. Stunning a flying enemy then using it to whiz
about the stage really saves a lot of time. One unique point about this arcade game is
the ability to select one of four difficulty levels that can be selected before gameplay. So let’s start off the ports with the ZX Spectrum
version. First we are greeted with a rather stupid
picture of a beefcake mouse, well I guess they meant to have it look as if Peter was
packed, you know, all buffed up but to me he looks more like an obesity mouse. Anyway, the game looks and sounds ok but it’s
really horrible to play thanks to the way the screen moves. There’s no constant scrolling here. What we get is either the action pausing while
the screen scrolls to the next one or an instant switch. Either mode is horrible. It makes judging jumps more difficult than
they need to be but worse than that is that you can’t see enemies. Quite often there will be an enemy right at
he edge of the screen which suddenly appears killing you before you’ve even had a chance
to notice it. Add in the difficulty of actually seeing half
the stuff you need to pick up and we have a rather annoying port. Next up is the C64 port and as you can see
it is a lot nicer in the scrolling department. It’s certainly easier to see the objects too. Sadly the controls are rather sloppy with
this port. So bad that I ended up cheating with an invincibility
code due to sear frustration of jumping off platforms or getting stuck. Such a shame because the C64 version of Peter
Pack-rat could have been rather nice. Well, at least the audio by Tim Follin is
good. I wish we could end on a good port but sadly
not because the Amstrad CPC version is a direct port of the ZX Spectrum game. Yep, it’s the exact same game but now played
in a smaller screen area. Oh well. It would seem that the only good port of Peter
Pack-Rat would have been on the PC Engine however that one was never released. Such a shame there isn’t a ROM floating around.