Amstrad Action1st February 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #17
Does the name Jonathan Eggelton mean anything to you? No? Well, once upon a time there was a competition held in another magazine to design a game. Cutting a long story short, Jonathan's Kat Trap was the undisputed winner. The game was programmed by Design Design, which assures excellence, and is out on Domark's new label, Streetwise.
Kat Trap's history may be rather boring; the game is not. In the future when Earth is wrecked by solar explosions and Cat Men walk the once-green planet, your task is to regain control of the world. You control a small robot, MTED (Multi-Terrain Exploration Droid), which looks more like an egg on steel stilts than a computer equipped with self-targeting weapons and a grenade launcher.
Up flashes the screen: a grim sky, cat-like structures in the background, but worse, cat men approach...
From that moment, there is no turning back.
Everything is viewed from the side. You start with five, much-needed, lives. Bullets are your weapons. This information is displayed at the top of the screen. Energy and score show at the bottom of the screen.
Not long after starting the game, you will encounter your first enemies, the cat-men. A quick blast from your trusty shooter. The game has several nice touches here: when you fire, out pops a gun barrel - pow, and down falls your victim.
Things are never quite that simple. The cat-men duck when you fire. If you shoot once and miss, it is fair to assume you will lose a life. Unfortunately you stop when you fire. This is downright annoying, especially when things approach from both sides. Not one of the nice touches.
As you travel through the many screens, the ever-changing, detailed and interesting background makes it hard to concentrate on the task at hand.
The game is split up into sections, or rather enemy attack waves. The cat-men are the first, closely followed by exceedingly annoying bouncing rocks, holes in the ground (don't stand over these or a ghastly black hand will grab you) and what appear to be flying boxing gloves. The further you progress in the game, the stranger becomes the opposition. Nasties include dogfish, goldfish, swellings in the road, ghosts (which do nothing but distract you), flames, tanks, stickmen (bearing a strong resemblance to a quaint character named Morph) and large robotic cats. Don't assume this is "just another shoot-'em-up". It's constant excitement, although there is little to do but blast, jump and duck. On your travels, several objects are picked up automatically, ranging from weapons to extra lives and energy cells to sustain the power-hungry droid.
You must carefully select the right weapon to exterminate different types of enemy. To destroy the flames, for example, shoot it with water. Don't be fooled into thinking that everything is that logical though. Who's ever heard of frying goldfish with a laser?
Some humorous touches have been added in just the right places: when hit by a bouncing rock, the droid spins through the air until landing safely on his feet. The same happens when bumping into other alien lifeforms. It's just that you normally land in a heap, lose a life and have absolutely nothing to laugh about.
Kat Trap is a fantastic game that will have you screaming for more. The graphics are finely detailed, there is a large playing area, wonderful touches and lots of things to blast. There are one or two disappointments though: miserable one-channel beeps, the occasional screen flicker and rather awkward control. Niggles aside, it will keep you hooked.
This is one of those games that cause you to throw fits of rage when you lose another life, but that you always come back to. The feeling of injustice at having been killed is immense. You're so incensed that you have to play again in order to get it right. The detailed graphics and varied zones make it look good and stay interesting. It's definitely one to have a look at.
Green Screen View
Great, I can see everything.
First Day Target Score
P. Wonderful alien variety.
P. Very funny in places.
P. Colourful and detailed.
P. 'I-wannanother-go' appeal.
N. Abysmal sound.
N. Control can be awkward.