Monday, December 19, 2011

Video game of the week: Mouse Trap for Colecovision

It's often difficult for some people to imagine nowadays, but there was a time when the greatest fun one could have was running around a maze while eating dots and being chased by some kind of monsters. Of course I'm referring to video games from the early 1980s, but I'm not necessarily meaning the great maze classic of that time, Pac-Man.

No, I'm talking about another great arcade maze game, though it's not as well known today as is the famous yellow guy who runs from ghosts. I'm talking about Mouse Trap.

Mouse Trap was fairly popular during its time, released in 1981 during the height of the maze craze in arcades. It was so popular that Coleco ported it to three home gaming consoles of the time, the Atari 2600, the Intellivision and, of course, the Colecovision.

Of all three ports, the one for the Colecovision is probably best remembered today, mainly because it was the version closest to the arcade experience.

The Colecovision Mouse Trap featured solid, colorful graphics that were darn near equal to those of the arcade game. Also, because the Colecovision joystick and controls generally allowed for more types of gameplay than did other joysticks for other consoles at the time, the Colecovision Mouse Trap's gameplay was nearly identical to that of the arcade version.

The basics of this game are quite simple. You're a mouse running around a maze eating up cheese, your goal being to eat all the cheese without being caught by a cat or the occasional hawk that shows up. To help your mouse, you have multi-colored doors you can open and close in a bid to escape your foes or to block them off. Also, there are bones usually near the corners and if you eat one of those your mouse turns into a dog that can temporarily put the bite on the cats, though the hawk can still take out the dog. Another helper are teleportation squares in the corners; go to one of them and your mouse instantly jumps to the "IN" square in the middle of the screen, though this isn't always helpful because sometimes cats are hanging out there.

As mentioned, the Colecovision version of Mouse Trap is quite close to the arcade game, which is to be expected because the Colecovision console was known for solid graphics. Gameplay is pretty much the same, but it can take some getting used to which buttons to hit on the controller, and Mouse Trap has a lot of buttons needing pushed, one for each of the three differently-colored doors, one for activating the bones, etc.

All in all, this version of Mouse Trap is true to the arcade classic and should be in any retro gamers collection. It is still fun to play today.

No comments:

Post a Comment