Streetwise
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

34
Jerry Muir
Chris Bourne

Names. Funny, aren't they? We'd be lost without them, but thinking up good ones is sooo difficult. Look at Domark's situation. Having developed a birrova 'rep' for being inconsistent (wholly unjustified, you understand) they decided to get 'with it'.

And so Streetwise is born. A new label 'that puts forward programmers for the recognition they deserve', has probably the least trendy logo imaginable and pretends - unsuccessfully - to be completely unconnected to Dom-Dom and his mate.

One of their first releases is Kat-Trap, designed by the winner of a competition in Crash magazine and programmed by that zany bunch of funsters at Design Design.

So, if it was a bit of a surprise then to find the game's got the most useless storyline in the world.: Everyone on earth gets sunburned (owing to solar explosions) and leaves the planet unattended while they go on holiday or something. When they get back, the whole place has been invaded by cats.

The evicted humans, being far too simple to breed some Dobermans and send them down instead, decided to do battle with the cats with two hardy space-warriors, M.T.-E.D, and Hercules 1. The lads land on the planet and Hercules 1 is instantly captured (it would the one that's easy to type).

It materialies (What does? It does) that you must control M.T.-E.T. and guide it around the world, searching for its lost comrade, and the enemy base which, when destroyed will defeat the cats. Obvious isn't it?

Each sector of the game is labelled: The Ruined City, The Charred Forest etc and each is home for a different breed of enemy. Each of which is susceptible to a certain form of attack - Flames don't fancy water, that sort of thing.

The graphics are cutesy and you move around the screen looking like a pudding-basin with eyes and odd legs. The animation is very smooth, as you glide about, ducking and jumping and shooting cats who, oddly enough go "pow" (instead of 'meow', I s'pose).

At the bottom of the left/right scrolling screen - well it doesn't scroll, in fact. It sort of flicks, but it changes before you get to the end of the screen, so it looks a bit scrolly - is a power gauge which indicates how much power you have left. Yes, really.

M.T.-E.D. (apparently it means Multi Terrain Exploration Droid) is equipped with front-firing guns and a grenade launcher. Grenades can be collected by eagle-eyed players who spot the big crate with 'Grenades' on the side.

A peculiar thing is the way in which you die. Whenever you are hit by anything hostile, M.T.-E.D. will be hurled forward in a most silly fashion. Even if you were facing right and a cat in front of you shot you in the head with a laser right - yes, I know it's a stupid concept - you'll fly right for a couple of screens, and skitter along on your bonce. Very odd.

Kat-Trap is certainly a high-quality product. The code has many inventive twiddles and it is quite interesting to play. But, essentially, it is just another quasi-thinking person's-scrolling-shoot-out.

Label: Streetwise
Price: £8.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jerry Muir

****

An interesting game. More mainstream than most of Domark's stuff to date, and with a very slick feel.

4/5