Alley Cat

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Comments (20)
the big m - 07/08/2023
Certainly one of the best Atari 800 games ever created way back in 1983! Another winner for SYNAPSE and kudos to Harris and Williams.

Even the intro screen has class. A cat with a cute computerized meow walking to a cool tune!

Game is hilarious! Get in the house and ....what else?....catch those mice and fishes...
Watch out for the dog and the broom!

Gildahl - 19/07/2022
Quirky, clever, whimsical, and very original. Attention was given to spot-on sound here every bit as graphics and gameplay. It's the whole package. Fun to play, but control takes some getting used to. Very tricky. I was never that great at it, but always enjoyed the charm of this game, often playing it as the last game at night when I got tired of everything else. I don't regard it being quite in triple-A classic territory, but it definitely belongs in any Atari computer users collection, and if you've never tried it, your in for a treat.
GHS - 04/11/2021
This is a brilliant game, at least in its original incarnation on the Atari 8-bits.

It presents an inventive collection of interesting and diverse challenges, with an almost surreal aesthetic. The sound design is just excellent, simulating the denting of garbage cans and a cat meowing without the benefit of sampling. The Atari offered four sound channels with a noise generator, which the programmers here coerced into synthesizing meowing, slurping, and fighting noises.

This game is a work of art that should only be evaluated in its original form on the Atari platform.
Monk - 25/10/2020
Rave, Female cat is not a 'girl'. (We don't really even know what gender the cat is, just sayin')

This is an interesting game. I played it the first time in the eighties as a kid, it was the DOS version, though. I had never seen a game with this kind of aesthetics, so I was mesmerized and wanted more.

The venue was some weird 'tech gathering' with thousands of people, robots and gadgets - one 'robot' tried to convince me they're an actual A.I., not a guy remote controlling it and speaking through a mic. I never bought it.

The interesting thing is, David Hasselhoff attended that event, so the first time I played this game was also the only time I ever saw
David Hasselhoff in real life.

The game itself is very varied, and it mainly consists of minigames and a main screen. A lot can happen - you can fall from fence, you can get into a fight, and so on. You can also catch mice and enter people's houses through windows, which is always exciting.

My friend absolutely hates this game, but I always had a fond memory of it, so when I got this on my Atari 800 XL, I was thrilled! The graphics on the Atari version are much better, there's actual color, there are amazing colorslide-effects (copper? rainbow?) that I always loved, and missed on other platforms.

The sound effects are very quirky and unique, and very ear-pleasing to me. The gameplay can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, you don't always feel like you are in full control of the cat, but when you succeed in completing a level, you get a real sense of achievement and reward.

This is an incredibly charming classic from a really early era, and they did an amazing job showcasing Atari's abilities. I don't even want this game converted to other platforms, Atari version is the best this game could ever be.

Getting grips with the controls and the feeling of 'losing control' can be tough at first, but I recommend playing this glowing gem and persisting with it - soon you'll realize you can't live without it. And yes, the cat animations are great.
rave.N - 01/04/2016
Erase this comment and the last one, when I mess up this bad I wanna curse in punctuation like when Alley Cat misses the girl. After fully unscrambling the 1986 cassette tape, it is identical to the "1985" file version, I jumped to conclusion like that guy in the movie Office Space. BUT this entire experiment was flawed because my 1985 file version was pirate (the original scan is missing here now) so my file could just have easily been converted from the same cassette tape years ago. Anyway, fewer files for now, that's good.
rave.N - 01/04/2016
I just decrypted this tape made year 1986, and tho based upon the 1985 SynSoft version, it's not identical. Besides being fragmented in about 50 segments (just to confound would-be hackers), it has been further optimized, recompiled, and made many hundred bytes shorter than 1985. I hope they didn't introduce any new bugs, so this could be the final/best version. I xfered this tape to .xex file, and made the 9 lives cheater copy of it, and edited the "1985" to say "1986" for sanity sake.
sparkle - 02/02/2016
song is based upon "Alley Cat" by Bent Fabric and his Piano 1962. i think the game plays it in a different key and there are note and rhythm differences, like the part where the game doubles up syncopated rhythm, and of course the robotic cat skreech is unique. song has been heard in numerous movies and tv commercials, wiki sez it's popular with ice cream trucks esp. in latino america.
rave.N - 16/12/2015
This Americana tape is the 1985 SynSoft version, rereleased on cassette. All versions run best in NTSC, title music is torturous too slow in PAL.

CHEAT MODE 9 lives, cassette Americana SynSoft 1985. Edit 6 bytes, changing
offset $5AF from $A9 to $A2
offset $5B0 from $03 to $09
offset $5B1 from $8D to $8E
offset $764 from $A9 to $A2
offset $765 from $03 to $09
offset $766 from $8D to $8E

New topic not heard mentioned in a long time: the original 1983 Synapse versions are chock full of "illegal" 6502 instructions, like Opcode $AF = "LAX" which loads a memory operand into A and X registers simultaneously. These codes don't run on some emulators nor many "revision C" hardware processors. The removal of such questionable Opcodes was one of the changes made from Synapse to SynSoft in 1985.
rave.N - 11/12/2015
The Synapse DOS file download here now (32594 bytes long) ain't so hot. It begins with a crude ASCII comment about "chips" and if you boot XL or XE you can glimpse this crude thing as a first loading screen, not good for an otherwise family friendly game. This file is segmented 155 slices and no space was saved, it loads itself into one memory bank then spends time copying itself to a different bank. The segment utility was buggy and made this file load 2 different values into memory location $5F00, first a 0 at the end of a segment, then with $10 at the start of the next segment, the $10 is needed at $5F00. And this file doesn't flicker the A in "WILLIAMS" on title screen, I know maybe it's Bill's middle initial, or conjuring the faulty neon sign look nice, but I mention it because I located another Synapse 1983 version that does not single out the A. There are at least 19 differences between the 2, proper reset button handling being another one of them. With that many differences, the 2 Synapse games might be beta vs finished, but which is the beta?

I recommend the 1985 or 1986 release so we're all using the same game, I have the 1985 SynSoft version in a file which was definitely optimized and recompiled, more than 2000 bytes shorter. It has the "A" singled out too.

CHEAT MODE 9 lives, 1985 SynSoft version. Search for 2 instances of the sequence "$A9 $03 $8D $25 $38", change both $03 to $09. Normal gameplay stops awarding extra lives at nine, so nine makes a nice game. One nine is what you see on title screen and the second nine is for in game.

CHEAT MODE 9 lives, 1983 Synapse version. Search for 2 instances of the sequence "$A9 $03 $8D $A5 $02", change both $03 to $09. Normal gameplay stops awarding extra lives at nine, so nine makes a nice game. One nine is what you see on title screen and the second nine is for in game. Concerning file 32594 here now the two offsets are $3B6A for in game and $3D04 for title screen.

The file here now 1983 Synapse 32594 bytes long can be cleaned up. I removed the crude malware at its start (-453 bytes from offsets $002 thru $1C6), defragmented it, made sure $5F00 received the $10 value, made it load into the correct address by renaming its main segment from "$1F00 thru $9E52" to "$1B00 thru $9A52", and canceled the block copy routine by changing the run address from $0400 to $0421. The improved file became 32685 bytes long.

What's this title music called, and by whom?
rave.N - 07/09/2015
Will always stay one of the ten best arcade games ever for Atari 8bit, and the download/vote popularity will always reflect that. Cats are one of the 10 best animated entertainments in real life too.

Let me drop a bit of advice for building a better emulator. 1920x1200 flatscreen resolution is the cat's meow, any VGA based (4:3 640xN) video looks crisper with 1920x1200 rather than the more popular 1920x1080 resolution. The store shelves here are full of 1920x1080 or worse, and they stock zero 1920x1200. Higher than 1920x1200 can slow a computer way down and most computers about year 2004 or older don't support any higher any way.
eppy2000 - 27/08/2015
Another one of my top ten Atari games. Even with a small handful of Atari games to his credit, all of what Bill Williams did was gold. Fun graphics, great sound, even greater replay value.

The game has a very charming quality, as you play the hapless title character, dealing with ferocious canine, hostile neighbors, and spurned lovers -- all while trying to survive same time. I always loved the milk drinking segment the most, yet it also the one I also got killed on more than any other section.
Punkydudester - 10/12/2014
Definitely one of the Best games of all time for the Atari computer.
Baz - 30/09/2013
An absolute classic. For me, probably the greatest Atari XL game of them all because it was so diverse, had interesting game play and a wonderful sense of humour. The sleeping dogs level had a great amount of tension, the graphics were excellent and so was the sound. Terrific fun, one I always enjoyed playing.

One couldn't had asked for more from a game.
Jim H. - 19/03/2010
What a wonderful game! Alley Cat really raised the bar on what could be accomplished in the Atari 800 arcade game world. Delightful concept and graphics, hilarious sounds and game play and some of the most unique level designs ever. This game is difficult, but also extremely playable, that perfect combo that keeps you coming back time and time again. Bravo Bill Williams and Synapse!!
Kevin - 15/03/2010
My all time favorite 800xl game. I still to this day play this game. I still have my working 800xl computer. I just never liked the ending level with the hearts, and the dog milk LEVEL!! argggghhh!
Greg B. - 21/10/2007
I have to agree with everything you guys said...out of the literally thousands of Atari 8-bit games I've played over the years, this one is definitely in the top 10. Totally original concept and it's programmed so well that it was almost unimaginably good at the time. I used to have a lot of friends back then who were Apple II fanatics...then they saw this game. Most definitely a classic.
Maggi1971 - 01/01/2007
I still rember how much I loved this game. The sounds were amazing and crazy, very nice graphics too. The fantastic thing about this game was the idea behind it. It was (for me) the first with "games in a game". I played it with a friend of mine and we tried to discover all of the "mini-games". Hard to master, but not unfair. A true classic.

Jonny EOL - 11/11/2006
This was probably the first game that convincingly emulated the look and feel of a cartoon on a home computer. Whether you're chasing birds and mice, going diving for a snack in the goldfish bowl, fighting with the dog, clawing at the laundry or trying to impress a lady cat, this game really captures the spirit of cartoon cats such as Tom, Sylvester or Top Cat. Colourful graphics, amusing sound effects and a really entertaining play. A masterpiece!
Atari_E477 - 29/12/2005
The screenshots cannot do justice to the incredible animation of Alley Cat. The cat is 'alive' with movement right down to the twitching tail. It's an impressive feat considering the pixel resolution used. The humor is wonderful. This is probably the cutest game ever made for the Atari 800, and a great departure for anyone fatigued by monsters exploding in space. Alley Cat is a very fun game, and is actually several different games in-one. But what really makes this game a must-have is the audio effects. From the metallic clunk of the trash can lids to the humanoid "hi-yah" when a shoe is thrown at you - to the mewls of the kitty, Alley Cat is a tour de force of Atari audio chip programming with such tighly controlled high-pass filter sweeps as to give the impression of audio samples. Maybe they are audio samples! Alley Cat is worth having just for the bubbles-under-water sound when the cat goes diving. I've never heard the Atari makes sounds like this before or since Alley Cat.
steve - 25/02/2005
This is one of the few games I have ever played that has actually made me crack up laughing - such is the humour to be found in this game, with the cartoon type violence and animation. It was ahead of the pack all those years ago for its use of graphics personality and arcade type puzzles and still stands up today for those virtues. Mieoww!


GenreArcade - MiscellaneousYear1985
LanguageMachine LanguagePublisherSynSoft
Players1CountryUnited Kingdom

Williams, Bill / Harris, John

Graphic Artist(s)


MediumTape Disk


Cover Artist(s)[unknown]Serial-

Additional Comments

Other versions with the same title:

Synapse Software, Americana, Ariolasoft (Germany).

Although never officially released on the SynSoft label, the game was sold on the budget Americana line and appeared on the Atari Smash Hits - Volume 7 compilation.

Missing original tape and disk images!
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