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There's rum happenings on the high seas, so join Dan Whitehead as he rolls out the barrel of adventure.


The paltform game is the hardiest of all the software perennials, having graced every single format since th turn of the century. Indeed, it seems like platform games have hijacked the world's media as Italian plumbers run roughshod over our TV screens.

But it wasn't always so. If you hanker for those days of yore, then never mind the hi-tech, high-speed hedgehoggery of the modern platform game, Starbyte's new platformer harks back to the misty days when puzzles and brainpower rules over velocity and street cred.


The year in 1641 and Captain Jeremy Flynn, the notorious pirate, is leading his band of merry rogues across the seas, thieving wantonly as they go. However, the rather clueless captain manages to get lost at sea somewhere near Tortuga. They drift about for days and supplies start to run perilously low. Just as all hope seems to be lost, the eagle-eyed pirate in the crows nest spots driftwood in the ocean.

Flynn puts two and two together and realises that land must be nearby. Unfortunately, it's a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire as the land in question is in fact Devil's island, home of the ruthless Redbeard.

Redbeard and his men capture Flynn's men, smash up his ship and make off with all his loot. Understandably peeved, and as befits the hero of a platform game, Flynn sets off to even the score by leaping across the four levels of Devil's Island, collecting objects and power ups as he goes.



Believe it or not,Devil's Island actually exists. It is the smallest of the lies Du Salut, 43 miles northwest of Cayenne. However, the whole group of islands become known as Devil's Island when it was used as a notorious penal colony at the turn of the century.

Devil's Island itself was used for political prisoners, although the island now houses a rocket tracking station. One of the most famous prisoners of the colony was Alfred Dreyfuss, a French Army Officer who was framed and imprisoned by the corrupt Major Esterhazy. Neither of them, however, were pirates.



There must be about a million games that this is similar to. Next to recent competition this looks a bit like a fossil, but modern platform classics like Soccer Kid are pretty far removed from Traps 'n' Treasures' style of play, so it's probably not fair to compare them.

The game closest to it that comes to mind is Rick Dangerous, from about a hundred years ago. That also involved plenty of switching levers and shunting blocks to progress, and they variety of weapons are also similar. If you want to go back further, check out the Wally Week and Monty Mole games on the Spectrum.


It is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King

The Pirates Of Penzance



First of all, turn the volume down to avoid being driven mad by the patented generic platform game tune at the beginning. It seems to have leapt from a 1989 PD game. However, this crime against melody is made up for with some pleasantly unobtrusive sound effects and tunes during the actual game.

Particularly worthy of note is the mellow underwater music that accompanies Flynn's swimming antics. If you ignore the opening tune (and I advise you to) then there's nothing to complain about there.




First impressions aren't impressive. There's a perfunctory intro picture, with the story told in scrolling text over a bland background which doesn't really elicit any kind of atmosphere at all.

Once in the game, things pick up a bit and there's plenty of colour and detail splashed about without inducing any eye strain. The sprites are of a pleasing size and don't dissolve into the backgrounds, so there's little sudden death from hidden baddies.

Things move at an untaxing pace, but we'll forgive them as the emphasis is on puzzles rather than thundering through the game in as little time as possible. Nothing too mould shattering then, but not disastrous by any means.




Well, you can look at it any way you want, but this is still just another platform game when all's said and done and as such it's hard to get over excited about it. The main problem is that while this game might have been quite spanking about five years ago, it just looks a bit pedestrian nowadays. I'm all for a bit of brainpower in my games, but Traps 'h' Treasures isn't just puzzling, at times it's downright uneventful.

I tried very hard to really enjoy this game, but the best I could do, I'm afraid, was merely like it. It looks inoffensive, it sounds inoffensive and it plays reasonably well, but it's lacking something that would make it an essential buy.

Maybe it's the old fashioned approach, or the fact that the puzzles are sometimes frustrating rather than intriguing. It's also quite common to leap off a platform and plummet to your death, as it seems our poor Cap'n Flynn can't fall much more than a screen without breaking every bone in his body.

However, most of the game revolves around dodging enemies and trying to reach tricky platforms, rather than using your brain to figure out what to do once you've got there. This can lead to unnecessary frustration as you spend hours leaping in vain at some elusive platform with an essential item on it. There are crates that can be lugged around to help reach higher areas, but if you're careless you could end up blocking yourself in, leading to further frustration.

There is a certain sense of satisfaction to be gleaned from progressing through the game,but it's ultimately overshadowed by a sneaking suspicion that your time and money could be spent more profitably elsewhere. Terminally average unfortunately.

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Shiver me timbers! It can't be easy being a ruthless pirate with a name like Jeremy. For a start none of your enemies are going to take you remotely seriously and it must be hard convincing your crew you mean business when your mum sews name tags into the back of your favourite's fisherman's jumpers.

Still, Captain Jeremy Flynn is indeed a pirate and commands a crew of nine men steering a ship through the shark-infested waters of the Indian Ocean. It's all plain sailing until Flynn's ship is attacked by the fearsome Redbeard and his cutthroat band who kidnap the crew and make off with all the treasure.

To add insult to injury, Flynn's ship is then caught up in a wild tropical storm and is wrecked off the coast of Devil's Island, Redbeard's well-defended home.

Traps 'n' Treasures is a cutesy platform adventure which places you in control of the hapless Flynn. You have to rescue all nine members of your crew, collect as much treasure as you can and put an end to Redbeard's pirating career. The game consists of four massive levels: Threadneedle Lagoon, Skull Grotto, The Temple and The Fortress each full of nasties, puzzles, traps and secret rooms.

To help on your journey across Devil's Island there are various weapons, power-ups and keys as well as a handy shop containing a ragbag of useful items needed on your voyage. You can even get involved in a spot of gambling with the shopkeeper if you fancy your chances as a dice whizz.

Planks for the memory
Traps 'n' Treasures is frustrating. It's going to take you a couple of weeks just to complete the first massive level. The reason? Being an island, the game world is surrounded by gigantic puddles of sea which Flynn has to swim around.

Now, the problem with water is that it slows you down, and you can't move around as easily as you can when you're bouncing about on dry land. Unfortunately, while you're floundering in your water wings all the undersea creatures are homing in and making your life on object misery.

Worse, you can't use your trusty cutlass under water to fend off the sharks, fish, and crabs who want a slice of flesh. These handicaps add up to one thing - you die... a lot. Extra food, health and restart points help, but often they aren't enough and you end up staring despondently at the Game Over screen.

Still there is nothing wrong with a challenge, right? And Traps 'n' Treasures offers plenty for you to sink your teeth into. Rescuing crew members is relatively easy, but there are plenty of fiendish puzzles to overcome and you find yourself trying again and again to reach just that little bit further. Maddening, addictive and intensely enjoyable.

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Starbyte steht für Strategicals und Wirtschaftssimulationen, mit den übrigen Genres taten sich die Bochumer dagegen häufig schwer - aber nach diesem Game sieht das schon wieder ganz anders aus!

Hier ist den alten Finanzstrategen nämlich ein prima Jump & Run geglückt: Ein ungewachsener Freibeuter namens Redbeard hat die Crew von Kapitän Flynn entführt und auf einer wildromatischen Insel in Käfige gesperrt. Als treusorgender Chef hüpft Flynn natürlich sofort los, um seine Arbeitssklaven wieder ihrer eigentlichen Bestimmung zuzführen...

Die Gefangeninsel ist in vier umfangreiche, nochmals aus mehreren Unterabschnitten bestehende Levels unterteilt. Der erste Level spielt überwiegend in der felsig Küstenregion, darunter hinaus kann Flynn auch ins Meer hinabtauchen und dort Schätze einsammeln.

Sind Fels und See bezwungen, rückt der Rechner ein Paßwort heraus, zeigt auf der Inselkarte kurz das nächste Einsatzgebiet an und schickt den Helden dann in eine finstere Grotte. Anschließend wiederholt sich dieses Spielchen mitdem örtlichen Tempel, bevor schlußendlich die Piratenfestung zur Durchsuchung ansteht.

Klar, daß bei alledem Gegner nicht fehlen dürfen, und tatsächlich herrscht auch kein Mangel an Mumien, Fledermäusen, Haifischen und anderen Piraten. Das Gesocks hält man mit dem Schwert vom Leib - dazu gibt es etliche Extrawaffen wie ein grünes Lichtschwert, Bomben und diverse Knarren.

Die Knallkörper bilden bereits den Übergang zu den aufsammelbaren Werkzeugen, ohne die hier viele Rätsel ungelöst blieben: Manchmal muß man z.B. erst eine Felsmauer wegsprengen, um an den Schlüssel dahinter zu gelangen, der wiederum die Tür zu einem geheimen Unterlevel öffnet.

Dann gäbe es da noch Fackeln, Seile, Kisten, Übersichtskarten und eine Lupe, die Flynn vor tückischen Fallen warnt. Der Krempel läßt sich auch auf käuflichem Wege erwerben, wobei der rustikale Krämer übrigens gern mit seinen Kunden um deren Guthaben würfelt! Außerdem findet man auf dem Eiland informative Logbücher, Schalter, Krüge mit energiespendendem Obst und die einzelnen Fetzen einer Schatzkarte, die in einem kleinen Screenfenster nach und nach zusammengesetzt wird.

Um das Maß voll zu machen, gibt es ein ausgefeiltes System von (drei) Bildschirmleben und wieder auffüllbaren Energiebalken sowie verschiedenste Screenanzeigen für die schon befreiten Crewmitglieder, die verstrichene Zeit oder die gerade aktive Waffe.

Grafisch klotzt Traps 'n' Treasures nicht eben mit großen Sprites, statt dessen findet man kunterbunte Szenarien, liebevolle Animationen und optische Gags. Wenn Flynn z.B. eine Anhöhe hinuntersegelt, benutzt er seine Piratenflagge als Bremfallschirm, im Wasser macht er Schwimmbewegungen, und man kann sogar erkennen, wie sich seine Bäckchen beim Eind- und Ausatmen bewegen.

Die Musik- und FX-Begleitung paßt gut zum Geschehen, die Steuerung klappt nicht überragend, aber ordentlich. Fazit: Eine Buddel Rum auf die Bochumer Programmier-Piraten! (C. Borgmeier)

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It's your chance to discover some treasure. And then bury it, probably. Tch.

When your magazine's on deadline, and a load of the games you've been promised by certain software companies (who shall remain nameless, 'cos we're professional like that) haven't even been sent to the office, then it's a real boon to be given a platform game to review at the last minute. The reason's simple - you can fill the opening paragraphs of the review by explaining how crap the plot is. So, for what it's worth, here's some space-filling storyline.

Captain Jeremy Flynn is sailing around the Caribbean doing the sort of deeds that Captains tended to do in the Caribbean of 1641. Suddenly, in a scene reminiscent of Burt Lancaster's famous film, The Crimson Pirate, he's attacked by Redbeard, and all his crew are kidnapped.

This, as anybody left awake will no doubt tell you, is not a happy state of affairs for the poor Captain to be left in. Luckily for Jeremy, though (and us gamesplayers), he's managed to retain his freedom, and embarks on a quest to rescue his crew.

So, that's the plot-line dealt with then. What are you supposed to do with Jeremy once the game hands over control of him? As I previously mentioned, you've got to rescue your crew members while at the same time defending yourself from any living things, objects or miscellanies that happen to cross your path.

If you take a look at the info box that sits atop this review, you'll see that the programmers are Starbyte, the very same people who programmed Fly Harder (awarded 90 per cent by Commander Cameron in AP36, fact fans). Now, considering the pedigree that Fly Harder radiantly displays. I pricked up my ears and started to lick my lips in anticipation.

Visually, Traps 'n' Treasures a remarkable resemblance to Arabian Nights and Elf World. Anybody waiting for any other comparisons have metaphorically had it, I'm afraid.

Now it's onto some hard factual information about the game itself. There are only four levels: The Thread Needle Lagoon, Skull Grotto, The Temple and last but not least, The Fortress. Before you all go in a huff and shout "Surely that's a foul ref", consider the following: with the exception of the first level, each level is so large and so convoluted with tricks, traps, puzzles and skullduggerous denizens that it will literally take you longer than a long, long time to complete.

So just what is the parry carte septete quad (Completely wrong, informationally, inconsequential sequence of fencing terms. - AP Fencing Coach) that will defend and render safe Traps 'n' Treasures from the now legendary universal AP cry of "Oh no, not another platformer, no please."

Well, there's just so much to do - puzzles and sub-plots abound. Rather than having a completely linear sequence of events to overcome, T 'n' T contains small asides to be discovered.

See him huffing and puffing

For example, on the second level, there's a door that requires opening by a green key. The only green key within any kind of reachable distance is hidden behind a breachable wall. To breach the wall, you need to blow it up. In order to blow it up you need a bomb. To obtain a bomb, you need to buy one from a shop. To buy one from a shop, you need money. To earn money, you need to collect it from treasure chests and platforms and underneath collapsible blocks and things like that, while carefully avoiding or bashing nasties.

For further trickery and head-scratchy Jack-in-the-boxing, you can move boxes toward platforms that are normally too high to reach without some forms of external aid. When I first saw this I though: "Oh oh! Dumb lump of plasticine with a crap antenna on top alert." Yes, it almost threw me back into the dejavu-like nightmarish world of Puggsy, the most irritating platform game in the world ever.

But no, in Traps 'n' Treasures the boxes don't suffer from inertia or mass - maybe not as realistic, but much more conducive to sanity and game playability. You can stack them on top of each other without having to worry about their inertia creating a collision and spilling the hole edifice all over the place.

So that's just about it with Traps 'n' Treasures. The difficulty level is probably set a little on the hard side - some of the monsters are too difficult to kill quickly enough, which means that unless you pay an inordinate amount of attention to avoiding or killing them, you're going to die. And the catch with that is that it detracts from the puzzle-solving element which iset at just about the perfect level of trickiness, i.e. it doesn't bore you t tears through being either too hard or tooeasy.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned the animation of Jeremy himself yet. When he swims under water, you can see him huffing and puffing with the effort; you almost feel for him. You get emotionally involved and want to see him succeed in his quest, and that's a good thing. It's also good to see that he isn't nauseatingly cute or in-your-face. He does exactly as you tell him. When you leave him alone for too long, he leans over and taps on the screen with a perfect rendition of the old Channel 4 tap-on-th-screen advertising campaign.

It made me laugh so much that I had to call people over in the office to take a look. Unfortunately it's not a new slant on the things-that-platform-characters-do-when-you-leave-them-alone mechanism - - Hugo the Troll did the same thing. But it still managed to amuse me.

I'm reaching the end of the review now, so the last mention concerning the mechanics of the game goes to the sound. It's competent, game-enhancing and well-executed, if nothing else.

Not being the best judge of platformers (He's joking, of course. - Ed), I recruited an ace platform fiend for his opinion just to make sure that I wasn't making a fool of myself. "Stuart," I said, "is this any good?" "Don't know Steve, you'll have to make your own mind." Oh no. Well, here goes: Traps 'n' Treasures offers nothing new in the field. What it does do, though, is entertain and amuse.

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Captain Flynn is having a really bad day. Not only has he lost his ship on the rocks of a foreign island, but all his crew have been kidnapped as well. Being the hardy sea dog that he is, he won't let any minor things like the fact he's only got one leg and that his parrot has flown off with next door's budgie get to him. He will save the crew and recover a ship if it's the last thing he ever does. Apparently.

To get a new ship and reclaim his crew, he has to partake in a four-way scrolling platform game, leaping from lip to lip, collecting objects and stabbing all manner of opponents, from sharks to shell fish, from pirates to princes, with his cutlass. It's all very standard fare, with coloured keys opening coloured doors, and various other power ups opening certain parts of the map. We've all seen it before, and we know how it all works.

As usual there are all sorts of bonus levels and sections, which are discovered by collecting parts of a treasure map on each level. When you have collected all the different parts of the map, you are then transported to a single, very long scrolling platform section. Also, there are bonuses for gems collected, secret passages to be found and a myriad of other hidden features.

Starbyte, the programmers of Traps and Treasures are the team who brought us the superb Fly Harder, a game that has rarely left my A1200, so when I heard they were about to put out a platform game through Krisalis, I expected great things. Sadly, I think that my high expectations left me with nothing but a feeling of being let down.

Traps and Treasures is unbearably average to play, and I can't see anyone playing this game all the way through. Although the game is quite cute to look at, it seems a little short on character. Not the most inspired platform game ever, by quite a stretch.