Monday, April 04, 2016

Mouse Trap

Billed as "old in style but brilliant in design" is Micro-Value's 1987 platformer, Mouse Trap. You will get to take on the role of Marvin The Mouse who desperately wants to win back the heart of his ex-girlfriend that left him for another.
She must be quite a materialistic female because he has had to come up with a cunning plan to get her back - scrounge dozens of rooms looking for precious items. Yes, that's bound to work!

The first thing you notice are the ever so ancient visuals which almost feels like a step back in time to the 8-bit days. And it is, because little Marvin's roots date all the way back to the Acorn Electron and, like many platformers of that era, we get have the most retro of retro graphics. I love this, the theme works well with the extra capabilities of the Atari ST to ultimately produce the best-looking version. Each screen is a separate room and you cannot progress to the next until all items are collected, only then may you scurry away to an exit via a nifty mouse hole. This is a cruel and unforgiving game, if you make a mistake, then it usually too late to go back and often results in a life lost! Completing any screen is a matter of working out the best route rather than what simply looks like the quickest. And, because of an ever-decreasing time limit, I advise hitting the 'F' key to pause so you are free to examine your environment.

Mouse Trap has some of the most curiously weird baddies I have ever seen in a platformer. Check out the old man with the big nose, I hear you should hide behind a wall and avoid him at all costs. Some are just plan crud, like the floating skulls, awful design yet it works! Of course, require absolute timing to bypass and this is where Mouse Trap scores to produce some of the most difficulty entertaining screens. Initially, I found the joystick controls a little fiddly and perplexing. For example, if you're facing left and then turn to the right, little Marvin will not only turn around but he also annoyingly walks a couple of steps in that direction. Another oddity is falling diagonally off a ledge, another minor issue but which takes some getting used to.

Mouse Trap is a crude yet charming platformer that makes you stop and think. The controls take a little getting used to but the lack of a save game progress is its only downfall. Mouse Trap is a blummin' excellent platformer!

LINKS

 - Check out my video recording. I did pretty good too!!
 - Mouse Trap can be installed onto your hard drive thanks to D-Bug and 8BitChip.
 - Or grab the floppy disk image using Old Games Finder.
 - Look at this, my current Hi-Score :-)