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Video Game / Mappy

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Mappy is a 1983 arcade game by Namco (now Bandai Namco Entertainment) starring the titular mouse, a "Micro Police" officer whose job and intent is to collect and recover stolen loot and other valuables from a house of burglar-cats (one has to surmise that he is retrieving stolen goods).

The baddies who are in hot pursuit of our hero are the "Naughty Folks"—a gang of five pink cats called Meowkies (Mewkies in the Japanese version)—and "Boss the Big Bit", a large red fat cat called Goro (Nyamco in the Japanese version). There are a total of 16 rounds in the game, after which it returns to the first round. You get from floor to floor by jumping on trampolines. Various doors are your only defense against the cats. The game music, composed by the late Nobuyuki Ohnogi, appears to be based on ragtime.

Levels 3, 7, 11 and 15 are bonus rounds. Each red balloon you pop is worth 200 points later. The last balloon, with Goro behind it, is worth 2000 points later. Bouncing on trampolines here is still worth 10 points. If you get all the balloons, you'll get a total of 5000 points plus a bonus of 5000 points. To completely clear rounds 11 and 15 requires noting a difference between rounds 3 and 7. If you wait too long after the HURRY UP message, a green spinning disc with Goro's face on it will appear. (It's been said that this is the spirit of Goro's ancestor.)

The original game was based a pair of of "Maze-Solving Robots" that Namco released between 1980 and 1981. The first one was the Nyamco robot, which would go on to be the inspriation for Goro, and that was followed by the Mappy Robot (the term "mappy" being a slang term for policeman in Japan).

This game was and still is more popular in Japan than it is in the USA, possibly due to cultural differences. There have been sequels to this game (e.g., Hopping Mappy), but these were released only in Japan, with the exception of Mappy-Land for the NES. However, Americans probably do know about this through Microsoft's Revenge of Arcade collection, the "Plug-n-Play" games collections by Jakks Pacific, or the various Namco Museum releases.

It also got its own "Arrangement" version in 1995, adding in stronger trampolines that take two hits to change color, dual-sided doors, and trapdoors that can be used to jump or dive into other floors. Sega's Flicky was also heavily influenced by Mappy.

Mappy contains examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Mappy is depicted on the cabinet artwork as being chubby, but he's surprisingly agile in-game.
  • All There in the Manual: Many of the world names for Arrangement are only provided in the Namco Classic Collection vol. 1 soundtrack release.
  • Animal Jingoism: A clever inversion of the usual "cat-and-mouse chase", in that you control the mouse police trying to catch the cat burglars.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The game is hard enough as is, so it has some features to ensure the player at least has a fighting chance:
    • As long as Mappy isn't touching the ground, contact with airborne enemies will not harm him, as it would otherwise make the game downright unplayable.
    • To ensure players don't camp out in the air for too long in order to abuse the above advantage, the trampolines vanish after using them a certain amount of times (to say nothing of the time limit). However, enemies using a trampoline will not affect them in order to keep the level playable.
    • With the exception of Goro or his ancestor, the cats cannot open normal doors from the knob side themselves without being stunned, as otherwise, it would rob the players of a means of attack (though they're exempt from opening it on the other side, however). They're also programmed to not open special doors so they don't rob players of a chance to use them either.
    • Just like Mappy, the cats can switch paths while jumping up, but not while falling down. Again, this is to keep the cats from getting too much of an advantage over Mappy.
  • Bonus Stage: The aforementioned balloon levels.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Mappy is a police officer sent to retrieve stolen artifacts from thieving cats, and sticks to his given task with few issues.
  • Casino Park: World 5 in Arrangement is the Casino House, an area adorned with neon lights and giant neon Goro signs.
  • Cats Are Mean: Goro and the Meowkies are hardened criminals. And even though Mappy is ostensibly chasing them, they do the lion's share of the chasing in the game proper.
  • The Don: Goro evokes the appearance of a mafia boss, wearing a suit and tie and pilfering priceless treasures and artifacts with his subordinates.
  • Door Fu: You can use the doors to stun the cats. Sometimes, they do this to themselves.
  • Early Game Hell: The amount of objects in the house that can be used to attack the cats (doors, bells, etc.) increases as the levels go on. The first level isn’t extremely hard, but because it has the fewest of these objects, it’s easier to end up cornered by Meowkies with no way to fight back. There are ways to avoid this happening, but a player can only learn these ways through trial and error (or learning from someone else who’s played).
  • Eternal Engine: In Arrangement, World 6, the game's final world, is the Mechanismnote . The floors are metallic with levels having trap-doors everyhwere, the background is full of constantly spinning gears, and a techno tune with the sound of a clockwork plays in the background. Both boss fights also take place here.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Two species of cats, a giant coin possessed by a deceased cat criminal, the tramples if you hop on one too many times, and the trap doors in the fourth mansion.
  • Fake Difficulty: Not that the game doesn't try to give the player a fair challenge, but depending on what the cats' AI feels like doing, it is very easy to get cornered into an inescapable loss by the cats.
  • Falling Damage: Played with; you can fall on a trampoline from any height, but if it breaks and there isn't a bottomless pit below it? Mappy go bye-bye.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: After getting through the third and sixth worlds in Arrangement, respectively, you're suddenly forced to fight a giant, laughing robotic Goro toy that throws multiple Gosenzo Coins at you, either in an arc (world 3 fight) or in a straight line (world 6 fight).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Trying to make a trampoline vanish on purpose to get rid of the cats? Too bad; Mappy will fall and die upon contact with the ground if you try that. On the flip side, the cats cannot open doors from the knob side without stunning themselves.
  • Level Ate: World 3 in Arrangement is the Candy Mansion, which seems to take place in a giant cake.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Zigzagged. On one hand, the cats can't be killed, only momentarily stunned, and they can use the trampolines all they want without any repercussions (though this is actually a benefit for the player's sake), meaning you cannot trick them into falling into a bottomless pit. On the other hand, they're not only bound to the same rules as the player but even have a major disadvantage since they can't open doors from the knob side without being stunned, or even open special doors at all for that matter.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The trampolines disintegrate after Mappy bounces on them three times in a row.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Mappy himself.
  • One-Word Title: Protagonist Title.
  • Player Nudge: To give a new player a hint to use the trampolines, the first thing Mappy does upon entering the house for the first time is bounce right off a trampoline and then look back at it, with a question mark popping up above his head suggesting he's inquisitive about it.
  • Reviving Enemy: None of the cats can be killed, only momentarily stunned in order to buy time for Mappy to grab everything.
  • Score Screen: At the end of the bonus stage, points are counted.
  • Scoring Points: The game keeps track of score.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: When the time is low, the music speeds up.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: The main mechanic of the game are trampolines that sent Mappy and his enemies in the air. Mappy can bounce only a limited amount of times before the trampoline breaks.
  • Stalked by the Bell:
    • In the original game: Comes in two stages; first, a "Hurry!" message will scroll across the screen, after which the music and enemies are sped up and a few more Meowkies are dropped into the playfield. If the player continues to take too long after this, the invincible and unstoppable Gosenzo Coin appears to run Mappy down.
    • In Arrangement: Like in the original, a "HURRY" signal will scroll across the screen, and the enemies are sped up. However, no additional Meowkies are added to the stage. Once again, continuing to dawdle after this causes the Gosenzo Coin to appear. Take too long after that, and the Gosenzo Coin will begin to repeatedly teleport after Mappy in order to gain the upper hand. The end-game score tally also keeps track of how many stages are completed without triggering the timeout mode, and adds a "Non Hurry Up Bonus" of 100 thousand points for each quickly-cleared stage.
  • Tactical Door Use:
    • Doors can be used to stun Meowkies, and special doors emit microwaves that push them off the screen. The cats also can't use the doors themselves without being stunned, though as a tradeoff, they won't open the special doors on their own.
    • The trapdoors in Arrangement, which can be used not only to quickly go up or down one floor, but also to stun Meowkies and push them up/down a floor.
  • Toy Time: World 2 in Arrangement is the Toy Mansion, taking place in a dollhouse. The house itself is made of colorful blocks, and many plush toys can be seen in the background.