June, 1986. Popular United Kingdom, Spectrum computing magazine, “Crash”, issue 29, in conjunction with software house, Domark and programming team ‘Design Design’, decided to run a nationwide video game idea competition called ‘Genesis: Birth of a game’. The winning entry would receive 1000 pounds prize money, plus a 10 % royalty of games sold, a trip to Crash Magazine and visits to Domark HQ and discussions sessions with game coding team Design Design.
Over 4000 entries were received from readers, putting forward their ideas in the hope that their game idea would be chosen as the winner. 15 year old Jonathan Eggleton, was named Grand Prize winner, for his entry of Kat Trap, which was released on the Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and C64 machines.
Set in the future, the 24th Century to be exact…..
It is the story of how 200 years earlier, planet Earth was wrecked by solar explosions.
Earth’s population was decimated but for a brave few who escaped.
Those who have survived have decided to return to Earth but to their surprise it is not only habitable but inhabited by Cat – Men.
The humans launched a frontal attack on Earth against the Cat Men, however they were severely beaten, having lost all attack fighters, they decided to send a small scale offensive.
Hercules 1 and M.T.E.D. (Multi Terrain Exploration Droid) were tasked with the mission to infiltrate the enemy Cat Men forces and destroy the main battle computer.
However as soon as they land, the Cat Men capture Hercules 1 and M.T.E.D. must go alone to destroy the Cat Men forces, disable the battle computer and rescue Hercules 1.
The full game was completed and released about 6 months later. In the Christmas issue, Crash#36 reviewed Kat Trap and gave it an overall score of 84%. Amstrad Action#17 gave it an overall rating of 83%.
How is Kat Trap played ?
It is a left to right run and gun scrolling shooter game. Which becomes a right to left scrolling rescue mission once the battle computer has been destroyed, you have to get M.T.E.D back to the starting screen and take off in your ship.
You control the M.T.E.D with joystick or keyboard, it can duck, jump and can travel upto 250km/h on flat surfaces.
The M.T.E.D is equipped with 5 starting lives, hard plate armour for protection, with a computer targeted front weapons system and grenade launcher, which when fired actually look like coins rather than grenades.
M.T.E.D. will encounter a number of different enemies, in varied environments including fire demons, ice men, shadow men and sewer beasts. The ‘Crash’ magazine review stated there were 196 rooms in all.
Along the way there will be recharge battery packs and weapons to pick up. Weapon pick ups include – Electric charge, Laser, Flame thrower, bullets, shells, water, arrows and grenades. Different weapons kill different enemies. Most importantly to know is that weapons are not infinite.
Kat Trap on the Amstrad CPC is the version i played.
What i liked was the story line matches the execution of the in game graphics and sprites.
The background screens are atmospheric and original. I enjoyed the concept design and the feel you have of each room / area of the battle against the Cat Men and the other enemies.
Animations and scrolling are smooth and quite fast. Weapon and re charge pick ups are plenty in number as well as an extra man at end of each section.
Each enemy sprite was humorous and jelled well with each room / section of the game. A great deal of colour was used and it doesn’t look like a blocky mode 0 game. Amstrad CPC website, CPC Power stated that the main menu and playing screens are in MODE 1 and through the use of raster, overcomes the 4 default colors. It really enhances the appeal and look of the game.
The intense feel of the mini game that opens up when M.T.E.D has penetrated the defenses of the Cat Men and reached the battle computer, adds to the games appeal. There is an objective to complete but are you quick enough to destroy the 15 electric pulses in a minute?
What i didn’t like was, you can’t recover if you dont make an accurate jump in the Alps section.
I get the feeling it may have been a bug or oversight. Not enough lives at all as difficulty is hard.
No in game tunes only some spot FX noises. When you destroy the central computer you dint get any weapons, battery re charges of lives so it becomes impossible to complete.
The game is difficult enough and then there is those balls that throw you around like a dishwasher you could land anywhere and usually do and loose a life as well.
6.5 out of 10