Retail Price: £8.95
Author: Don Priestley
It's back - the Trap Door TV series, now showing every Saturday morning on Number 73. Collins is publishing the books, Channel 5 is releasing the video and (for our obsessive readers) 'Merit Toys launch the Trap Door bus with Berk driving his monster friends'. Hey!
And Berk, the blue cartoon cutie, is back in Piranha's Through The Trap Door, sequel to Trap Door (which earned 88% Overall in Issue 33, just over a year ago).
Berk and Drut are coloured thingummywotsits. searching for Boni the skull (he's been snatched by a kleptomaniac bat) through a series of subterranean worlds. They have to find the key in each one before they can go on to the him back through the trap door.
Berk can carry Drut, a hopping froglet, in his chubby arms, but first he has to catch him. Fuelled by his passion for the worms that appear everywhere, Drut is always running off - but in some sections of the underground rooms, invisible Drutmarkers can control him.
You can switch control from Beth to Drut, thus using the frog's hopping powers to retrieve keys. If Berk gets into difficulties attempting to reach a key, Drut can push it to a safer position.
Falling stalactites, great Berkswaliowers which rise from the ground, ceiling drips, bats and ghosts all occupy this basement environment. But it's not all bad - forgetful tourists have left behind sweets and sausages, which can be used to keep Berk's great bulk sustained. Other items, such as a Pooter and a hefty weight, can also be helpful in the quest for the keys.
If either Bark or Drut attempts to pass through an unlocked door, or if Berk goes through without Drut, or if Berk fails to pick up Boni, you lose, and have to start back at square one. It's a jungle down there.
Programmer Don Priestley did the original Trap Door, and his recent credits include Piranha's Flunky (60% Overall in Issue 44).
Graphics: large, colourful, cute; and some of the fastest Don Priestley-style graphics to date
Sound: very little - a serious flaw
The TV characters are represented brilliantly; they're easily recognisable and quite accurate too. There's loads of colour, and the masking technique is used effectively. But the game might wane after a week or two. Still, it's worth buying if you're a fan of the programme.
I didn't like Don Priestley's Flunky much, but I found Through The Trap Door very addictive and lots of fun. The graphics work well and their function isn't hampered by the technique, as happened in Flunky; the problems are quite logical, and having control of two characters adds interest. This is much more playable than Trap Door, though perhaps Don Priestley could find a new technique sometime...
Large graphics and cuddly characters make Through The Trap Door look very, but the game itself is of no real interest. As in all Don Priestley's games, the graphics look good but their slumping around the screen soon gets irritating; the best thing here is when worms and slugs pop up out of the ground to have a little squirm. Through The Trap Door is very attractive, but there's not enough to do.
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