The Trap Door Plus Through The Trap Door

Publisher: Alternative
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #73

The Trap Door/Through The Trap Door

It's not easy being a Berk, as proved in this double dose of mayhem based on the animated TV series. The Trap Door has Berk preparing meals for his master upstairs, The Bad Tempered Thing. However, the Thing has strange tastes and demands such delicacies as eyeball crush and boiled slimies! Creating these mouth-watering dishes involves using various objects from the rooms of the castle dungeon and inevitably opening the trapdoor to let out useful monsters. For example, to create fried eggs. Berk has to put a pan on the stove. The opening of the trapdoor reveals a huge bird which, with a little prompting, will lay eggs which must be caught in the pan. Berk must deliver each of four dishes via the dumb waiter, before his master becomes too angry waiting.

If Berk manages to complete all four tasks, his wages are sent down - inside a safe which Berk must somehow open!

The older but better of the two games here, The Trap Door received 89% when it was reviewed in Issue 20. Julian Rignall commented, "Trap Door is one of those instantly appealing games which you really enjoy playing for a couple of games." Gary Penn thought Don Priestley's large cartoon characters were "beautifully drawn", while Richard Eddy found the game "absolutely packed with humour."

Over four years later, The Trap Door has lost little of its charm. Though very "Spectrumesque" and slow-moving, the graphics are very funny and the simple gameplay is entertaining.

By contrast the second game on the tape, Through The Trap Door, is very disappointing. In this, you switch between control of Berk and Drutt the spider, exploring the realm under the Trapdoor in search for the missing Boni. Keys must be found to access certain sections while potions can be collected, having a variety of effects on Berk.

The game earned a mere 44% in issue 34 with Steve Jarratt finding it "incredibly frustrating. Berk is unwieldy and Drutt is bordering on the uncontrollable".

It's certainly not a patch on its predecessor, but then that alone is worth the three quid anyway, so don't let the 'bonus' sequel put you off.