Monday, April 04, 2016

Mouse Trap

Billed as "old in style but brilliant in design" is Micro-Value's 1987 platformer, Mouse Trap which is based on the original Acorn Electron game!! I've always loved platformers. No, not the Mario or Sonic kind but the older ZX Spectrum games I grew up with: Chuckie Egg II, Manic Miner, JSW, Monty Mole, Saboteur II, etc. Oh boy, that list is near-endless. Anyhow, as you can imagine, I was very eager to play Mouse Trap!

We are Marvin The Mouse who desperately wants to win back the heart of his ex-girlfriend that left him for another. She must be quite the materialistic female when you think about the plan he's come up with to win her back? Scrounge dozens of lethal rooms looking for precious items. Yep, that'll work. Hmm...

No, he's not floating but simply in mid-fall. And that aspect took me a while to fully master...

Wow! Those colours... This game is incredibly different from the norm and I love that.

Some levels are quite simple. Not only to look at but complete very quickly. Like this one!

This is a cruel and unforgiving platformer: make one mistake and it's often impossible to go back and try again - which usually means a life lost. Each screen is a separate adventure so you cannot progress further until all items are collected. Finishing each screen is a matter of working out the best route rather than the quickest. However, there is a time limit, so hit the 'F' key to pause and study the layout to figure out the best route through.

Mouse Trap looks like a ZX Spectrum platformer but using the ST's extra pixels and colours. It's weird and also has some of the oddest sprites I've ever seen: check out the old man with the big nose who appears on level two!! (I hear you should hide behind a wall to avoid him at all costs). Others are either excellent or plain crud: like the floating skulls. An awful design, yet somehow it works and it works perfectly. Music is eerily enjoyable!!

Controls are excellent. However, I admit that I initially found them a little fiddly and quite perplexing. For example, if you're facing left and then tap "right" to turn around, then Marvin will not only do this but also walks a couple of steps in that direction. I'm used to (say) Manic Miner so this frustrating aspect took me some time...

This baffled me at first but it's actually a lot easier than you realise. Love the sinking ledges!

Some of the levels are far simpler than you first think. Just take your time...

There is the odd dodgy screen but then it redeems itself with this blue beauty!

Mouse Trap is a charming platformer with an incredible variety of screens - all as difficult as they are addictive. You're always drawn back for that one-more-game! The only negative aspect is the lacking save-game feature and that absolutely baffles me. Especially as there are so many levels to plunder (ie, forced replay!). Not good.

Overall, I have really enjoyed Mouse Trap. What a blimmin' excellent Atari ST platformer - top marks!!

Download Mouse Trap for hard disk or floppy.
Can you beat my current Hi-Score? I didn't think so!! :p

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