Review: Treasure Trap

Treasure Trap

ST Format Review

My Review
For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. I initially went with Superior as nobody else bothered cracking this one. Superior were previously known as Flame Of Finland and their menus are a bit bare bones. In this case however the menu simply didn’t work. In the end I found an image in the TOSEC collection among the non-pirated releases, an STX file which requires pasti.dll to run. The downside of this is that I can’t use Steem 4, having instead to downgrade to 3.9 which for some reason won’t let me have a maximised window, instead running full screen. This means I may have some inconsistent screenshot sizes.

So the game has a fairly crap loading screen with a god-awful chiptune rendition of “row row row your boat”. Not a great start.

Before continuing, for anyone who couldn’t be arsed to read the ST Format review, Treasure Trap is an isometric game in which you explore a shipwreck. I’m stripping it for cash while trying to avoid nasties. Air is a problem but pockets of air can be found scattered around. Simple. ST Format make the comparison with the 8-bit classic Head Over Heels and the screenshots certainly convey that. I’m hoping for something that scratches the Cadaver itch, but let’s see what we get.

Ok so we have a marginally better chiptune as we go into our animated intro, and actually that animated intro isn’t bad.

We’re off to a bad start. It took me quite a while to realise that the player sprite is hiding behind the door.

Eventually I managed to nick the gold from on top of the crate, but the other two pieces on the ground were impossible to collect (which is annoying as a Youtube video shows someone just walking up to them and collecting them). Similarly the Youtube video shows someone using the door at the top, just walking up to it and opening it, and that also doesn’t work. I’ve set all the keys up, I know what keys do what, in the end in sheer desperation I just press everything, but to no avail. I suspect that the orangey sphere on the floor is required to open the doors, but as the game won’t let me pick it up I’m somewhat screwed.

Eventually, after much faff, I find out that I must jump on the key (space) and pick it up while I’m on top of it with D. That seems logical.

On to the second room. The doors are unlocked, all I need to do is pick up the gold on the table and atop the stack of crates while avoiding the starfish and the jellyfish. I can’t jump high enough for the crates so I leave it for now.

Yet again I arrive in a room unable to see my sprite. Worse, staying still too long results in being killed while moving incorrectly results in being killed. I manage to take the door on the right after a few goes.

I jump at the stack of boxes and manage to push the top one. It falls to the ground and creates a step so I can exit to the right.

Not sure how I get to the door up top, but I’ll need a key for the one on the right.

Oh so those boxes moving up and down are lifts.. cool.

Another room – this time I can see where I’m going. There’s an air canister on the table. Gold in the corner, I’ll get that before moving on.

And another simple room, I need to get some gold but the question is how do I get to the door up top?

Eventually I hit one fish too many and die.

Here’s a map of where I went apparently.

So, is it any good? In a way it is. The graphics are well-drawn, the animation is solid and reasonably smooth, and the world is well-realised. It does have some design flaws as I’ve noted above, basic quality of life things with a touch of unfairness, plus controls are quite dodgy aside from the weirdness of picking things up (they’re not very responsive). The bigger problem however is a shallow gameplay loop. Get gold/key, go to door. In many ways I probably would have rated this higher if Cadaver wasn’t a thing, but as it is I’d personally choose Cadaver over this. It’s not a bad game by any means, I did like it despite its flaws and you’ll probably have a good time with it. It’s just unfortunate that the bitmaps came along and showed how it should be done.

Resources
Manual: https://www.gamesdatabase.org/Media/SYSTEM/Microsoft_DOS/manual/Formated/Treasure_Trap.pdf

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