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ANCO * £24.99 Joystick or keyboard

Someone has finally built a better mouse trap. It's a trap so good, so deadly, that it doesn't restrict itself to rodents and does a neat sideline in people mashing too. The trap has been baited with magic scrolls that give the user unimaginable powers - if they live long enough that is.
Taking the form of a traditional horizontally-scrolly arcade adventure, DT is made different by the inclusion of Dungeons and Dragons style magic adding to the strategy and gives it a more flexible feel. The magic isn't pre-set, you have to make your own mistakes.

Starting out with nothing more than a trusty knife, you have to stab your way through hordes of giant frogs, bed-sheet ghosts and demented Egyptian wizards. Luckily, killing some of these boys earns you a portion of potion. There are three different coloured potions: red potion can be used to conjure magical weapons, green increases your spell capability and blue gives you healing powers. But what, dressed as our silly-trousered hero, do you actually have to do, though? Well, there are five levels of dungeon in which Shankriya - the game's big nasty - has hidden five stolen magic scrolls. Being a magician of great renown, he has devised a rather fiendish set of labyrinths filled to the brim with cunning traps to make retrieving the scrolls fatally difficult. Two of the more common traps - if not particularly cunning - are concrete slabs dropping from overhead and spikes that pop out of the floor.

Pope in the Woods
Is the game difficult? Are bears catholic? Does the Pope live in the woods? No, but that's beside the point because the only end-of-level guardian you'll see for a while is the unattractive giant slug on the back of the box. Death Trap tests the mind and reflexes, as the same trap is triggered time after time. The potions, though, are the key to the whole game and you must learn to distribute them wisely. A stab of the spacebar brings up a potion menu. From here the potions that have already been won can be used to give your poor player a much needed boost by casting a spell. A menu of the various concoctions is available, all you have to do is slide down to the one you want to cast. Then, providing you've enough of the relevant potion, the spell takes effect.

If you've more potion than is required for the basic spell you can pump-up its power by blowing more juice on it. This has the desirable effect of increasing the spells potential, but the present costs have to be balanced against future needs. If you don't make the most out of your potions, the end is nigh.

Among all the confusion it is easy to forget the tidy graphics that binds this game together. The sprites are well animated while the background is partly interactive. The scrolling is weak, at times tending to lag behind the player when he jumps or crawls. This is just slightly disorientating.

Unfortunately there is no music, apart from an atmospheric intro tune. Ostensibly the graphics and sound serve their purpose, making the game attractive without dominating the gameplay, a fault which is common in other examples of the genre.

Home brew potions and how to use them.
Death Trap

This is where you cast the spells in the Death Trap after selecting the menu by pressing the space bar. Then pull down on the stick to highlight the spells you want to cast. The cost of that spell, in potion, appears and if you have enough magic juice, pressing fire gives you the ability when returning to the game. Initially the most useful of these is Fireball which gives you a range weapon. The usefulness of many spells will not become apparent until later in the game.

The green flask will enhance Abi's spell abilities, red his weapon potential and blue should allow the boy to cast healing spells on himself. Use them carefully but use them fully or you will not escape the Death Trap.

Es forscht so forsch der Höhlenforscher

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Wenn's draußen regnet, der Video kaputt ist und einem sonst nicht Besseres einfällt, könnte man ja mal wieder einen statlichen Recken auf seiner gefahrvollen Expedition durch ein Höhlensystem begleiten...

Besagter Recke heißt Abi und stellt sich zu Beginn in einem wirklich tollen Intro vor: Zu stimmungsvoller Musik zieht der Held in feinstem Parallaxscrolling Richtung hereinbrechende Dämmerung. Im Spiel muß man auf musikalische Untermalung verzichten und sich mit durchschnittlichen Sound-FX zufrieden geben. Neben viel Bumm Bumm und Türenquietschen gibt's da z.B. Das Piepsen eines Vogels zu hören - falls man einen hat. Falls nicht, bekommt man ihn über ein Menü, das per Leertaste aufgerufen wird.

Neben dieser Fantasyversion eines Satelliten gibt's da noch so nette Sachen wie einen Feuerball, Schutzschilder oder Heilung für die Wunden. Allerdings nur, wenn Abi zuvor ein paar der Fläschchen aufsammelt, die manche der erlegten Gegner hinterlassen.

So dringt man also immer tiefer ins feudal möblierte Dungeonsystem ein, freut sich über die gut animierten Monster und das gelungene Scrolling, öffnet da und dort eine Truhe und wundert sich, daß ein so kleines Sprite wie unser Abi so hoch springen kann.

Ansonsten ist Death Trap ziemlich schwer, was zum einen an den vielen Fallen liegt (die man sich gut merken sollte), zum anderen an der Steuerung, die zwar nicht schlecht ist, aber etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig.

Summa sumarum: eine grundsolide Sache - wenn man Jump & Run Games mag, gerne Karten zeichnet und ein gutes Gedächtnis hat! (H.W. Raabe)

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Leaving their footy boots behind, Anco return to the computer arena with Death Trap, a sprawling arcade/adventure which involves the negotiation of countless burst-scrolled rooms. The game's scenario tells of an evil magician by the name of Shankriya, who is the ruler of the domain in which you, as Abi, find yourself. Shankriya became a magician of great power after stealing some magic scrolls and deposing the historical ruler of the land. He then hid the scrolls in a series of guarded labyrinths and sealed the fate of the land. You, as Abi, must find the scrolls and put an end to Shankriya's reign of terror.

There are five levels of Labyrinths which you must work through, each populated with bizarre creatures, wizards and traps. Upon entering the Labyrinth, Abi is armed with a meagre Woolworth;s boy scout pen-knife, which is about as deadly as a Woolworthy's boy scout, but on killing some of the marauding creatures, he is rewarded with amounts of Red, Green or Blue potions which can be mixed together to create various spells.

To cast spells, just hit the spacebar and the amount of each potion needed to complete the lowest strength of the highlighted spell, weapon or cure is shown. If you have enough ingredients to increase the strength of the spell then move the joystick up - the new strength of the spell is displayed in the lightening flash icon. Back at the main screen, the new weapon or spell is now selected and battle can recommence as you fight your way through the level, pulling levers down in various locations in order to gain passage to ever more dangerous locations.

Death Trap is a remarkable break from Anco's footballing heritage. The scrolling is a little jerky, but graphics are clean and well detailed, even down to the tiny, power-draining leech that leaps up and sticks to your back, draining potions and energy. Although initially difficult, the game follows a simple pattern with items, traps and monsters always appearing in the same place, so that if you lose one of your four lives, you can retrace your steps to the point of your last demise.

In all, Death Trap comes over as a very disappointing arcade/adventure. Its presentation is far from what we expect these days, with badly-animated sprites and the aforementioned eye-straining scrolling makes positioning far from easy. These niggling faults mar what is already a decidedly average game, and there are far better games of this ilk on the market.

The earliest examples of spells were found on Egyptian papyruses in the first century. Magical spells and sorcery have been used to defeat enemies, wake the spirits of the dead and to ensure success in love. Witchcraft is thought to come from a Stone-Age religion called Wicca, or 'Craft of the Wise'. Unusual potions include swallowing gold to cure jaundice and a brew of horse dung as a cure-all.

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Traps aren't really very chipper, are they? They usually end up maiming killing things. There are exceptions - those namby pamby 'humane' traps that capture creatures but don't actually harm them. (String 'em up it's the only language they understand. The Voice Of Reason.) David Wilson is rather partial to cheese, so we led him into Anco's Death Trap.

Hello? It's a new game from Anco. Let's see now, there's been Kick Off, Extra Time, Player Manager, Kick Off 2, then there'll be Final Whistle, Winning Tactics, Return To Europe, and Giants of Europe.

Right, so Death Trap is obviously another Kick Off 2 add-on expansion disk. So here we are, Melchester Rovers took an early lead in the first 20 minutes with two magnificent goals from the multi-talented star striker, Val Singleton. Then disaster struck! The nefarious coach of rival team Fulchester City employs an ancient, evil magician by the name of Shankriya to turn Val into a small porcelain vase.

You play Abi the United fanatic who, having lost his ticket for the sell-out 'friendly', discover a mystical network of dungeons that lead under and into the United's stadium. In this labyrinth lies the antidote to the curse on the Rovers striker, and the chance to save the match! Will the young supporter make it in time for the Kick Off, or will he be waylaid en route by the dungeon's ghastly inhabitants and miss the Final Whistle!? Abi's fate lies in your hands. Here we go, here we go, here we go...

Amiga reviewDavid: Um, actually, I've misled you somewhat. Death Trap, surprisingly, has absolutely nothing to do with football at all. It's a swords 'n' sorcery multi-scrolling view-from-theside beat/magic 'em up. My initial reaction what that this game looks exactly like an old C-64 game with souped-up graphics. The main sprite is very small and the gameplay seems reminiscent of all those myriads side-on D&D style beat 'em ups. Still, don't let this put you off, because if you're into this style of thing, Death Trap is great fun, especially in two player mode.

Hacking beasties reveals small vials of different magic fluids, and pressing the space bar mid game brings up the table of all the spells available to you (provided you have a sufficient stock of the pertinent fluid). It's all rather user-friendly in this way, as icons appear to tell you if you can perform such and such a spell and how much potion it'll cost you. One spell lets you Summon Friend, which in fact conjures up a rather fab Professor Yaffle woodpecker thing that flies around shooting baddies and collecting magic for you. In two player mode, the second player takes control of the 'friend', making your life easier and somewhat longer! I've got one or two little niggles - there's slightly dodgy collision detection and energy levels are a bit imprecise. (Although you can see how healthy you are by the red, orange or green status, it's difficult to determine exactly how much strength you have remaining). But the whole makes for quite an atmospheric little number.

Death Trap is a game you'll need to map. There are several vicious and fatal traps which strike without warning so you'll need to find out where they are the hard way and then put them on the chart! It seems so unfair when you get quite far, and suddenly you are killed outright by a hidden trap - all the more frustrating when it's your last life, and (although you have a credit system) you have to return to the start of the level.

Still, though incredibly unoriginal in its gameplay (except for the two player option) and despite not having the best graphical presentation, there are five large labyrinths for you to explore and much highly addictive fun to be had. Check it out.Stop