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SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: Unranked

Awards: None

Genre: Maze Game
Finally, a Legal Way to Play KC Munchkin. No More Hiding, No More Lies. Pros: Interesting Twists on Typical Maze Games
Cons: Rudimentary Graphics and Sound, The Game Ends Awkwardly
Lights Out! Guerrilla Radio! Turn that SHHHHHHHHH Up!


Overview: KC Munchkin may sound like a harmless white front man that plays post-disco funk songs with his multi-racial band,
but he's actually a very naughty boy that stirred up a lot of trouble back in 1981. Pac Man Fever was taking the US by storm at the time, and the struggling Magnavox Odyssey needed a hit. Programming mad scientists came up with KC Munchkin, and they were pleased with themselves because this game moved some Odysseys fo sho. This made the kings of Atariland very grumpy. Holding the at-home licensing rights to Pac Man, Atari sued the pants off of ole, shy KC and his Magnavox creators... and his skin turned blue and certain members fell off. In a 2-1 split judges decision, Magnavox had to quit selling KC Munchkin. The odd thing about all of this is KC Munchkin is not really like Pac Man at all. Okay... it is... but not really. KC Munchkin may look pretty rudimentary, because it was made for a system with WORSE graphical abilities than the Atari VCS (2600), but it has got the goods where it counts. Those looking for a little spice in their maze game life would do well to consider KC.

Graphics: As I stated before, this homebrew by the 7800 hobby programming legend Bob Decrescenzo (Pac Man Plus), is butt ugly. But that's OK- it's not Bob's fault. This port looks a bit better than the original Magnavox version. KC and the ghost/ monsters feature two colors instead of one, and that looks twice as good, right? Well, except for KC's added teeth. Those chompers are ghastly. The fonts on the menu and mazes look the same as the Odyssey version, although this game's power pellets have a tad more flair here.

Sound: Man, the Prosystem audio is pretty spot on with the Magnavox version. Calm down, that's not a compliment. There are few beeps here and there. Bob did add the trucking music when KC moves, and when he stays still, there is an audio clip that increases the tension. But in my opinion, music when KC eats the power pellet and better sound effects when a ghost is eaten would have spiced things up nicely.

Gameplay: The game is ugly and sounds bad, but gameplay is where KC Munchkin brings the first gen thunder. It is a maze game, but like the ABA was to the NBA, this underdog title brought some fun caveats to the scene. First and foremost, the mazes are smaller, and action tends to get rolling fast. There are only 3 monsters (called munchers) instead of 4, but that's fine. You need to move KC quickly, because the monsters can kill old Munchie within a second. No lie. Get moving, because you only have one life. Yeah, you dumb bastard, you heard right. Quit looking at me with that dumb look on your face and get moving. There's only 12 pills/ dots/ Tic Tacs to eat on the screen, and 4 of those are power pellets, but they all move around the maze. Also, when you die, you can enter your NAME (up to 6 characters) into a high score portion of the screen that can be proudly shown to all of your stuffed animals in your living room for the perpetuity of that game mode. Realizing the game is over and the cartridge wants you to enter your name for a high score is a bit counter intuitive and weird since there are no commands. Games also start over immediately after you die if you do not obtain a high score... which is really odd form. It took me a while to understand that these games were starting over and I wasn't just losing lives. During gameplay, I like how old Munchie can stop on a dime, sizing up the rundown of the maze, whereas Pac Man was always forced to be in motion unless he rammed his face into a wall. There is an option for Invisible maze walls, a level editor, and four different maze options! There's even a random maze option which changes the gameplay from screen to screen.

Interpretation: KCM was a killer app for Magnavox, and this port brings the maze game love to the 7800 and adds disturbing teeth. You're............. welcome? This version features an easier menu interface to get you rolling as opposed to the Videopac's mysterious game selection options that require an instruction book and a keyboard to comprehend what you are setting up option-wise.

Value: The Gameplay scores high marks, but so does the Value category. Truth be told fellow Atarians, the Atari 2600 Pac Man is a much worse game than KC Munckin. I would dare say that KCM is even better than the arcade Pac Man... I'm serious! It looks like poo, but it has tons for variations that makes for interesting situations. Maze 3 forces the player to traverse into the spinning ghost box (where the munchies go to be BORN AGAIN- hallelujah!) which can be quite treacherous. The only way to each corner of the maze is going through there, and it makes it quite an adventure. Maze 4 kinda sucks because it experiments with open air/ no wall spots here and there and I don't think that plays well. Hey, but if you don't like the mazes you can make your own. That's right! It takes second to get used to the level editor, but once you do, its pretty easy to churn out some crazy jive of your own creation since the playfield is quite small.

Overall: The looks of KC Munckin will turn a few people off, because... I mean... look at Ms Pac Man. Hubba Hubba. Ole ugly ass KC can't hold a candle to her... with her beautiful mazes, lipstick, fashion sense, mid game movies and little touches like having multiple lives and letting you know when the game is over. But if you spend some time with KC, you may find that you prefer it to Ms. Pac Man. I dunno... YOU MIGHT! At least we can all agree that this is a clever Pac Man variant that's not as weird as Super Pac Man nor as desperately bizarre as Pac & Pal. Just mind the teeth.

Other reviews of Ms. Pac Man:
Video Game Critic: D




Funkmaster V's Dental Cheat Code: If you do not like KC Munchkin's intimidating incisors, we know a guy who will bust them out with a Maglite on the cheap. Click here...



Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Atari Age for allowing the use of these screenshots for this review.