This early IBM PC masterpiece is Billy Williams' 1984 port of his 8-bit Atari game of the previous year.
The game starts in an alley with trash cans, moving clothes lines and randomly opening windows. You climb up and avoid dogs, mice bites and junk flying out of the windows to enter one of five types of rooms. You might dive into a fishbowl to catch fish among electric eels, chase mice hiding in a huge wedge of cheese, tiptoe between a room full of sleeping dogs to eat their food, drop a birdcage and catch the canary, or knock over vases on top of a bookshelf guarded by a spider.
Completing the room is the first half of the loop. You're sent back to the alley, and there's a female cat beckoning you in the window this time. Her room is a small platform puzzle, where you climb up to reach her and avoid getting dropped down by other cats and Cupid's arrows. Success there resets you back to the alley and bumps up the difficulty level.
Alley Cat's cool art style, lively animation and really solid technical execution allowed it to endure well despite four color graphics. The game was already nearly a decade old when it first became a staple game on my family's 386. And it's still great fun today. Despite that color palette.
The purple and cyan aren't all that the game experience permanently burns into your brain, because once you've heard the title screen melody, it will never leave you. The game also hit a good standard with its varied PC Speaker sound effects.
The controls are quite responsive, but you're frequently facing random factors where bad luck costs you lives. The difficulty is thus a little unfairly amped up to stretch out the content, which repeats until you lose and record a final score.
Alley Cat is an enduring classic PC action game that makes the most out of the CGA graphics and PC Speaker sound the platform had to offer early on.