Mouse Trap (Atari 2600)
My first encounter with Mouse Trap, the video game and not the board game, was not until 2011 when I had, for a short time, a Colecovision console with some games. I ended up selling that off to help with holiday funds that same year. I would not see Mouse Trap again until about Spring 2016. This time the game would be for the granddaddy of all consoles...the Atari 2600.
Mouse Trap is a different take on the Pac-Man theme. The player controls a mouse that is hurrying to eat up all the cheese scattered about the house. Trying to keep our mouse from his rewards are three pesky cats who are hungry...and our mouse would make a perfect snack. To aid our mouse are "cheese enhancements" that can turn our mouse into a dog for a short amount of time, allowing the mouse to attack the cats. Sounds like a game that should have been called Tom and Jerry because it sounds like the game was based on those two cartoon mascots. So, in goes the game and on goes my 2600. The game starts instantly with a short tune.
Mouse Trap on the 2600 is actually OK. Moving around the "house" I manage to get all the "cheese" without being eaten by a cat. Next round...same thing. I spent a good hour on this game getting all the cheese, turning into a dog when needed, eating cats, collecting "bones" to change into a dog, racking up points. I stopped once just to see what would happen and, guess what? The cats only move a short distance in a continuous loop. They only relocate when my character, the mouse, moves. Try it sometime. There is an invisible mode by moving the TV Type switch from color to black and white (B/W) which is very challenging but the rest is the same. After an hour I'm still going with plenty of extra lives left. With each round advance the cats move faster but it's not enough to take me out completely. Tired of playing I put down the controller.
Mouse Trap is made well. I like the fact that I can alter the "house" design a bit by holding the fire button down. Areas in the maze can be moved to help alter the path the cats are taking. The colors in the game almost seem like those on the early computer systems that couldn't do graphics and had a monochrome monitor. Even with the cats being of a slight yellow color the game has that monochrome appearance. The only other color that is noticeable is when the mouse changes into a dog which changes the player from the same green as the maze to a brown color. The maze also changes to a pinkish-purple when the mouse is caught by a cat. The game does control well and sounds are not annoying.
Mouse Trap is a game that should be in a game library for a bit of a variety. However, once mastered it might not hold as much replay value as it did before being mastered. It is a fun game none the less and maintains an arcade feel that is easy to pick up and learn without instructions. I have the Atari release that Atari bought once Coleco left the video game market during the crash. And I am not sure if any changes were made during the ownership switch. Either way I recommend the game to offer a bit of variety in a 2600 collection.