Trap comes in one of those double-cassette boxes that looks as though it's half empty. Alligata would have done well to fill the space with a few Band Aids for your joystick thumb.
Don't be deceived by Trap. It's not the upward scrolling arcade thrash flavoured with Zaxxon-style graphics that a first glance suggests. Programmer Tony Crowther with his first game since his return to Alligata has made it that much more complex. Trouble is, the game is so impossibly difficult, you may never suss out (or want to) its finer points.
What you need to know from the inevitable crummy storyline ("a distant corner of the galaxy where human life strains to exist in the void of space") is that, as a legendary spacepilot, you must take three tests of courage and reflexes. Complete all three and you get to take your next test, also of courage and reflexes, in a batter spaceship.
Test One, flying through space mines, is no problem (after all, you are a legendary spacepilot) and you then scroll straight into the Zaxxon, sorry, Zarkab Valley. Here's where the trouble starts. On the right side of the screen you'll see the number of nasties you've been set to kill; Aliens, Boats and Lasers. Dispose of that lot and it's on to Test Three, where you go on foot in search of the Orb.
With this in your pocket, you can buy yourself a more upmarked GTi craft. There are four models to choose from, each with more cargo, more ammo, better fuel consumption - but no sunroof or electric windows. After many hours of thumb-numbing play, I'm still light years away from getting an Orb.
Your first craft is a real gas guzzler which means you're constantly trying to pick up fuel whilst the likes of Spinners, Diskings, Homers are going for you - don't bother with their names, just blast them. You've also got to spot the aliens, boats and lasers you're set to kill whilst avoiding fire from every conceivable angle. But run out of fuel and you just stop dead, a sitting duck.If you get a spare moment, there are extra points to be earned by picking up cargon from the cargo ship and dropping it on the little man who occasionally appears down below. Don't ask me why. Doing away with a wave of police craft also pumps up your score.
If it's all getting too much for you, there's a 'zappo' button that blasts everything in sight, even the fuel dumps, so don't press it if you're running low on fuel. Zappo is essential if you're to make any progress at all. In fact, don't bother with Two Player mode, just get your mate to control the Zappo button.
You have three lives and after each one you're returned to the beginning. That's not as soul destroying as it sounds since your score (if any) on aliens, boats and lasers in maintained. If you manage to get past the first few hectic minutes, you'll have killed enough nasties to give yourself some breathing space. Now's the time to scout around and get the baddies you need, to make an attempt on the Orb.
Graphically, Trap is a cut above the ordinary. But with more sprites moving around than you'd have thought possible, it all gets a bit messy. Like any arcade blaster worthy of the name, it has very good sound and manoeuvrability, and smooth scrolling, although firing is not as immediate as it should be. Although high on skills and thrills, Trap may not be original enough to warrant sustained effort. For me? I'll just stick with the gas guzzler.