The Games That Pac-Forgot #2- Piranha!

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Hey Arcaders!

In the early days after Pac-Man was released to the world, there were a lot of arcade and home console companies that wanted in on the Pac-profit! This series will focus on these lesser known games. weather it’s an original game, or a Pac-bootleg, we will be touching base with these games that Pac-forgot!

The next game is one I remember playing at my local roller rink’s arcade- Piranha!

piranha_marquee Piranha was programmed by a small company- GL. This was one of the biggest Pac-Man bootlegs- it actually had an dedicated cabinet release in the U.S. by U.S. Billiards.

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The cabinet looked like a standard Sega cabinet of the time (Frogger, Carnival, Pulsar) with some beautiful artwork, the cabinet’s quite a looker. Check it out!

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Now that we have seen the cabinet- what about the game?

Here’s a write-up from Strategy Wiki-

  • This hack of Pac-Man was released as a conversion kit. It was available as an upgrade board, much like the original Ms. Pac-Man was.
  • The graphics have been drastically altered to present an underwater theme. You control a red piranha, while you are chased around by four squid-like monsters. (In an earlier variant of the game, they are little more than altered ghost sprites, with extended sprites for the tentacles).
  • Most of the maze in the game is wide open. You’re free to move about various open portions of the maze, but so are the squid-like monsters.
  • One central tunnel is present on the left and right sides of the maze, as well as another central tunnel at both the top and bottom of the maze.
  • There are fewer bonus items, and their values start at 500 points for the Crab, and end at 5000 points for the Yellow Anchor. The Fish (Rounds 3 & 4) is worth 1500 points, the Red Anchor (Rounds 5 & 6) is worth 2000 points, the Cyan Whale (Rounds 7 & 8) is worth 2500 points, and the Blue Whale (Rounds 9 & 10) is worth 3000. Eating the squid-like monsters is also worth four tremendously different point values: 300, 700, 1200, and 2000 points, which adds up to total of 4200 points.

The first thing You’ll notice- there’s not really a maze. I always felt it was like you were in a large salt water tank. The whole nautical theme has been done very well- from the seaweed, rocks, to the kelp bed- you feel like you’re underwater! The screen has four exits- two on top and two on the sides! The ghosts have been turned into squid- with soulless, hollowed out eyes!

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Your power pellets have been turned into shells! The bonus fruit are now crabs, anchors,and other fish. Interestingly, the dots are placed in a pattern. But, the piranha’s control is still 4-way… meaning you’ll be circling around a few times to get a single dot. So the game’s challenge is tough- even for the most seasoned of players.

So- why don’t we watch a game?

If you have a emulator, you can play this game- I suggest giving it a go. It will keep you coining up for more!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!