Peter Pack-Rat © 1985 Atari Games.
Peter Pack Rat is a platform game in which the player, controlling the game's hero, a rat called Peter; must rush around a platform-filled screen collecting a variety of objects to take back to Peter's nest. These objects include bottles, watches, hats, balls, and cans.
A number of enemy creatures hinder the player's progress; these include rats, cats, dogs, bats and owls. There are 3 different levels to play through; a junkyard, a sewer and a tree.
As well as the objects that must be collected and taken to Peter's nest, additional objects can also be collected and thrown to stun attacking animals. Flying animals that have been stunned can be ridden around the screen for a short period of time. A round ends when all the desired objects have been collected and placed in the nest. Successive rounds add more objects and enemies, as well as changing the patterns of the shortcuts.
Game ID : 136028
Runs on the "Atari System 1" hardware.
Players : 2
Control : 8-way joystick
Buttons : 2
Peter Pack Rat was released in July 1985 (even if the title screen says 1984).
Although only 160 Peter Pack Rat units were produced from the US factory, many arcade owners purchased the conversion kit (538 produced) which was marketed and readily available from Atari at a lower price than a new system.
Peter Pack Rat, as with all the Atari System 1 games, was a very distracting game in the arcade. It would constantly play the background music when no one was playing it. The Atari System 1 speaker system had a great acoustic arrangement. Players would be immersed in a sea of sound allowing them to really get into the game play. Unfortunately for others, they could hear the same thing on the other side of the room!
Many arcade owners, not wanting to mess with accessing the setup menu of the game, would just unplug the cabinet after receiving numerous noise complaints. The game wasn't much of a money-maker so it probably saved money in energy costs by being off.
Peter Pack Rat had a rather unique control panel configuration. Throw buttons were on both the left and right sides of the joystick and could be used interchangeably. They also doubled as the 1 Start and 2 Start buttons. The joystick was an 8-way handle with a small button on top which was the jump button. The joystick was notorious for breaking. To make matters worse, Atari didn't make it easy to get repair parts for it and charged a great deal for them. Peter Pack Rat was down quite often.
In all scenes there are placeholders for the shiny objects Peter must collect. Some of these placeholders do not match the object that goes in them. It is surmised that Atari may have thought some of the objects were inappropriate and changed them at the last minute. The Atari developers did not have enough time to rewrite the background code before the game went into production. If you look closely you can make out a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and a stop sign. There are other mismatches but the placeholders are too generic-looking to identify the original object.
Jeff Peters holds the official record for this game with 910,875 points. Note : Jeff Peters may hold the official record but the world's best Peter Pack Rat player is Curtis Sneddon. He has achieved a score of over 1,600,000 points and played the arcade version until it crashes at level 58. The level before it crashes has no enemies and the levels leading up to that point have fewer and fewer enemies making the final levels of the game extremely easy. The last level ends with Peter Pack Rat's normal victory dance then the game resets to the introduction screen.
Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (That's Atari Music : G.S.M. Atari Games 1 - PCCB-00066) on 21/07/1991.
* Don't forget you have an 8-way joystick. Make use of it. If an enemy is at any 45 degree angle and in your way, shoot it! Use this when trying to get objects in the spider's web. Often the spider will attack at an angle.
* Many people don't realize that Peter can swim. After all, you are a rat and rats can swim.
* When you are in the water you can stun and ride the alligator. If you do manage to agitate the alligator and he starts chomping at you in the air, don't worry about it. He can never get you that way; Only when you are in the water or drop directly into his mouth.
* Gravity can be your friend when dropped from a flying creature. If you get knocked loose or if your flying buddy is about to let you go, THROW AN OBJECT DOWNWARD IMMEDIATELY. There is a very good chance you will hit another attacking flying creature and now you dropped on it and it's carrying you! This is particularly effective with the owls in the tree scene.
* Don't let the slick surfaces in the sewer intimidate you. You can still jump left and right when on top of them. This is advantageous when trying to avoid the alligator, the spider and other enemies that may be right on your tail.
* When jumping left, right or falling, pushing up on the joystick when Peter is right over a ladder will make him grab onto it. This is useful in avoiding enemies that are right below you and off the screen.
* In higher levels (known as 'waves' in this game), Peter gets stronger and can jump farther and higher. Use this new "super jump" ability to jump straight up to levels above him, to quickly avoid the attacking creatures and move farther left and right across the screen. This ability is extremely advantageous in the tree scene. Peter can jump clear across from one side of the tree to the other.
Team leader : John Ray
Designer / programmer : Peter Thompson (PCT)
Graphic artist / animator: Debbie Hayes (DAH)
Hardware engineer : Sam Ly (SLY)
Sound designer : Brad Fuller
Hardware support : Mike Palmer, Minh Nguyen, David Wiebenson (Dave Wiebenson)
Software support : Rich Moore (REM), Mike Albaugh, Eddie Babcock, Mike Mahar, Greg Wilson
Commodore C64 (1988)
Amstrad CPC 464/664/6128
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1989)