Make Trax (Arcade) is the Retro Game of the Day for 11 June, 2016

Another of the many “maze chase” games that dominated the arcade scene in the early 80s, Make Trax (aka Crush Roller) had you painting the entire maze while a pair of fish hunt you down and kill you.  For… reasons.  (This is why old games are good — the reasons don’t have to make any sense.  You kids today and your “lore” and “stories”.  Pfft.)  You can temporarily rid yourself of the fish by pushing one of two rollers over them, located at two places in the maze.  Meanwhile, a non-lethal nuisance, usually an animal, will come out into the level from several “cages” around the level and leave tracks on your freshly painted maze areas.  You need to catch the nuisance by touching it and then clean up (repaint) any tracks it left.

The fish’s movements can be a pain to deal with at times, as they will actively block you off from both sides of one of the tunnels or come around a corner from both ends leaving you no escape, and in later levels will actively avoid the roller (which can help you get rid of one chasing you, as it will turn away if you try to go into the part of the maze with one of the rollers).

It’s fun and at least a bit different than Pac-Man, and quite a challenge as well.

Playing on mame works fine, except that if you have a gamepad, it suffers from the same loss of precision you get any time you have a maze chase or other sort of game that benefits from the joystick controller.  That aside, it’s a joy to play even in emulation.