Everyone loves a clown, right? Oh, they don’t? Well, how about a perpetually tortured cartoon style clown endless runner game?
In Retro Game Of The Week I pull a game from my collection and write about why it’s important or interesting. Or in some cases, badly dated and rubbish.
In recent times, the endless runner genre has been a big part of the mobile games scene. It’s not hard to see why; the format of (usually) a single button press platform game lends itself well to those short smartphone gaming experiences.
As such, it’s kinda tempting to think of them as a relatively new gaming idea. However, as with just about everything in gaming, there’s a precedent out there.
You can go back at least as far as 1994 to find an endless runner if you try. All I had to do was reach across to my SNES games collection.
Actually, there’s probably something older, and I’ll ‘fess up here and say I’ve not done the research to check, because the entire point of Retro Game of the Week is to pull a game off my collection shelf and write about it.
That game is Kemco’s 1994 title Kid Klown In Crazy Chase, a mix of endless runner — because the eponymous Kid Klown has to continually chase the lit fuse of a bomb, cartoon style — and a little light platforming and puzzling action.
In Kid Klown In Crazy Chase it’s not enough to just outrun the fuse, because you actually want to defuse the cartoon bomb it’s attached to. To do that, you have to find cards that represent each suit in a deck of cards, hidden within orbs across the isometrically presented level.
Why would that defuse a bomb?
That’s a good question that I’m not even going to try to answer, because some retro video game plots don’t really need discussion. Just go with the flow and above all don’t get the clowns angry, OK?
To complicate matters for Kid Klown (star of a handful of other Kemco games, some also bomb-centric) not all orbs contain cards; some are simply traps that slow him down, reducing the amount of time you’ve got to finish each level.
There’s also a range of largely comic traps to avoid, not all of which are immediately evident.
All of this sounds horribly complex, but it’s actually not.
My copy is of the Super Famicom version — it also saw Western release, so technically I’m playing キッドクランのクレイジーチェイス — and it takes very little work at all to get to grips with what you’re meant to do and how it all works.
Does it stand up over time, though? It is a rather light concept for a game that in 1994 commanded full price. Remember kids, back in 1994 we were paying $100 (or more!) for a cartridge game, because that was the style at the time. That 1994 $100 would be even more in modern money, thanks to the miracles of inflation.
Not that I paid $100 for it in 1994. My copy was fished out of an Osaka game store junk bin for around 108¥ about four years ago, and I can’t complain about that.
Just like the modern endless runner, this is a good game to pick up if you want a simple diversion for a few minutes, working your way through each level without needing deep plot or complex game mechanics.
It’s the rare example of a title that’s arguably better value (at a fair price) than it might have been back in the day, in other words.
How to Play Kid Klown In Crazy Chase Now
Kid Klown was a Super Nintendo original, and while it saw re-release on the Gameboy Advance back in 2002, and a handful of sequels in its time, it’s been rather quiet on the Kid Klown re-release front since then.
Odd, because you’d think it’d be prime fodder for the likes of the Switch Online SNES game collection, easy money for Kemco and all that. But no.
As such, if you want to play it legit, you’d need to track down a cartridge copy.
The good news here is that doesn’t have to be a pricey title. Loose cart copies go for around $20 on eBay, while boxed copies will run you $80-$100.
Or you can go ridiculous on a factory sealed copy if you’ve got $2,300 and change burning a hole in your pocket.
I’m such a generous guy that I won’t leap on that deal before you get a chance.
No, you go first.