Latest from the US Gold production line is Ghost Chaser, yet another flip-screen platform game from the States. As Harry the Ghost Chaser your main aim in life is to capture all the spooks at Fairport Manor. Not easily achieved as you have to get to the treasure room which can only be reached once you've negotiated sixteen tricky rooms choc-a-bloc with the local psychic phenomena. Progress is further hindered by a series of locked doors that can only be passed after collecting one of eight keys scattered around the mansion. As you might guess, the keys have not been placed with ease of access in mind!
The various baddies include grey spooks, which can be jumped over quite easily, and random appearances from the Phantom Ghost He follows your trail until you deal him a bad dose of ectoplasm. On later sheets there are bats, skeletons, fireballs and other deadly entities lo be encountered. If you get touched up by a nasty, you go into a fit of fright. Three such fits and you lose one of your four lives. As is often the case with long drops, bottomless pits are also worth avoiding, as these can prove slightly deadly.
Control over Harry is fairly standard, using UP for jump plus left and right to move him. Fire will unleash a burst of the gooey Ectoplasm. After you have completed the top half of the mansion, a painting slides aside to reveal a secret passageway leading to the cellar. At this stage you are given a password so that from then on you can always start on the cellar level.
With a title like Ghost Chaser I was expecting some form of Pacman derivative. Thankfully it's nothing quite so bad - it's only a platform game and a very standard one at that. The graphics are the most impressive and appealing aspect of the program, with some nicely drawn, atmospheric screens and effective use of bland colour (!). The various ghouls and nasties are also of a high standard in definition as is the main character, Harry. Other than the tune played on the title screen there is little else to speak of in the way of sound, except for the occasional spot effect. There are a lot of games of this type available and Ghost Chaser simply mingles with the crowd rather than standing out.
Ghost Chaser is yet another platform variant that hasn't even got any special features to make it stand out from the crowd. I have a sneaky suspicion that when this was first released it was quite acceptable but now it's showing its age, having only just reached us after appearing in the States some time ago. The graphics are fairly detailed and atmospheric, the lack of colour on most screens adding to the game's feel rather than detracting. One minor gripe is the control over Harry's jumps - he pauses for a while before jumping, making those all-important leaps over moving ghoulies difficult to judge. To be honest, such an ancient game shouldn't really be released at such a modern price, even though Ghost Chaser does present a reasonable challenge with its meagre 16 rooms.
This platform/arcade adventure looks as absolutely ancient as the spooks that inhabit the Mansion. The graphics are really muddy, with only a few colours on screen at once, rather like an old Apple game. The game itself is quite good fun to play, although it does seem a bit dated. My major niggle is the actual control of your man while jumping about the place, it's terribly easy to totally misjudge a jump and end up plummeting down a hole. Perhaps it'd be better off with a price label of about a fiver, but as it is it doesn't really stand up to one of a tenner.
Good options and facility to jump levels.
Atmospheric and detailed locations and good sprites.
Equally atmospheric title screen tune but few FX.
Initially, some interesting locations to explore.
... but standard platform action does pall with only 16 screens to get through.
Value For Money 52%
Expensive for such old hat.
Antiquated American software.