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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Way back in the June issue of CRASH a rather unusual competition was launched. The task: to design a game for the Spectrum. The prize: world fame and fortune in the software industry. Well, you never know! The winner of this prestigious competition was Jonathan Eggleton, selected from acres of entries for his design - Kat Trap. Programmed by DESIGN DESIGN and marketed by DOMARK the game is now in a finished state and ready for review.

Time has moved on a bit and we're now in the 24th century, and Earth does look in a sorry state. Pounded by solar explosions and abandoned by the Earthlings, the Earth has now become home for a strange and dangerous breed of creatures called Kat Men. Now that the solar explosions have died down, the Earth people are thinking about moving back into their homeland. However, the Kat Men aren't going to give up their new found home without a fight. In enforced exile, the Earth people plot to rid their home of the evils of the Kat Men for good, and to get the planet back into the bargain. Being a largely unimaginative lot they send down a Multi Terrain Exploration Droid known to his mechanical chums as M.T-ED. This cute little robot is more used to travelling over rough terrain than to fighting it out to the death with hordes of strange and nasty aliens. Accompanied by Hercules 1, a maintenance and combat droid, M.T-ED. is beamed down and the dynamic duo begin their quest. Unfortunately things go horribly wrong as soon as their little tin feet touch the planets soil, as Hercules 1 is kidnapped by the Kat Men and whisked away. Now with two tasks instead of one, M.T-ED has to blast his way through the ruined remains of this green and pleasant globe, and rescue his metal mate into the bargain.

There are fourteen sections to M.Ts task, each taking place in a different location on Earth. In each of these sections are many dangers which he must confront. He's a simple droid and not really cut out for all this fighting, therefore he starts out with only a few basic weapons bolted on this frame. Luckily, other sorts of artillery can be picked up along the way by simply walking into them, these are then displayed at the top of the screen and can be selected when needed. Grenades, rockets, lasers and even water are all used to help M.T-ED in his mission.

The reason for this array of different weapons is simple. Not just the Kat Men have taken up residence on earth. Ice Men, Fire Demons and Mekno Cats (who'll eat anything!) - to name but a few - have also moved in, and each type of nasty requires a certain type of weapon to defeat him.

The screen scrolls from left to right and our hero has to shoot the nasties and pick up useful objects before they get him first. If M.T-ED does get biffed by a nasty, he falls on his bonce and is stunned for a few seconds. When this happens he loses one of his droid lives. Not all of the nasties are lethal. For Instance, in the Charred Forest the ghosts simply make life very awkward by stealing any weapons that are lying around. M.T-Ed must therefore be very quick off the mark in this situation.

M.T-Ed moves in a realistic mechanical way, and can Jump over any monsters that he's too Sow to shoot. Being a Multi-Terrain Droid he can cope quite well with some of the bizzare landscapes which he must encounter. Although the Alps, where he has to sproing from one peak to another, might give him some serious trouble. M.T-Ed must struggle through each terrain until he reaches the Nerve Centre, where he has to rescue Hercules 1, but to get there he must even cross the bed of an underground lake and romp through a castle. Once Hercules 1 has been rescued there is another small game-ette to be completed before the end is in sight for M.TED.

On the bottom of the main screen is the score with the current high score for the player to aim for. Power is shown at the bottom of the screen, and when this reaches zero M.T-Ed loses one of his lives. At the top of the screen are his lives and the type of weapons he has collected.


"Kat Trap is a fast furious game that is more than just a butt around a few bits of scenery. You really have to look at each nasty before you blow his head off, or you could choose the wrong weapon and get town around yourself. The graphics don't seem are to be solid enough to look real. Sound is a bit basic, but the spot effects serve their purpose. I wouldn't mind if someone put this in my Christmas stocking (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, 'nuff said Santa).'

'The first couple of levels are fairly easy, but they do prove to be very frustrating, after these two the levels become a lot more challenging so the game as a whole proves to be very compelling. Graphically list Trap is slick, the characters we well animated and the backgrounds are colourful. The sound is a bit on the lame side, there are no tunes and the spot effects are minimal. I quite liked this as it plays well and it looks good, well worth a look.'

'We've seen plenty of preview versions of Kat Trap, so the finished version isn't anything unexpected. When playing the more complete versions, I didn't think much of it - it seemed very like an average sort of shoot em up. After giving the finished version a good half hour, though, I began to think I was hooked. Immediately, I wasn't hit by it, but perseverance certainly reaped its reward. I hope DESIGN DESIGN can get together with DOMARK again and produce more of this sort of game. It might well do them both a lot of good!'

Control keys: definable, up, down, left, right, fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: speedy
Use of colour: adequate
Graphics: detailed and amusing
Sound: the odd spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 196
General Rating: A humorus little shoot-em up.


Screenshot Text

The forest stage. M.T. blasts a meanie. He's got a full set of weapons, so it should be plain sailing from here.

In the ruined city Jon Eggleton's hero faces two hazards - the balls are irritating, but the meanies on the right are fatal!