Traps n Treasures is perhaps the rarest and most expensive Amiga game to have ever existed. It was initially released only in Germany in the summer of 1993 before a small run in the U.K. a year later. It is also perhaps one of the best games on the Amiga.
If you see the game running, you'll be forgiven if you think it was one of a long line of retro indie games that have become popular. Platform games like Shovel Knight and Rogue Legacy may evoke the best of gaming past, tweaking their control scheme to suit the taste of modern audiences. Barring a couple of minor exceptions (the enemy AI being one), this easily stands as their equal. It's especially surprising when you learn that this was pretty much developed by a single Swedish person.
Roman Werner, a contract games composer for the Amiga, began coding a game called Scooter as a hobby. He simply wanting to make a game that he would enjoy and when he showed an early demo at Starbyte Software's Christmas party one year, a contract was immediately signed.
During its development period, which grew from 8 months to three and a half years, the game changed from having a girl named Scooter as a protagonist to starring the pirate Jeremy Flynn. The length of time to complete was primarily down to Roman's naivety developing games, but after outsourcing some of the art and animation, one cannot complain that the time was misspent.
The game is a platform adventure. You travel large scrolling areas in an attempt to rescue your imprisoned crew members. Along the way simple inventory puzzles will help you access new areas. These puzzles range from finding keys to flipping switches, but each is plausible withing the lush pirate themed world. I've often criticised platform games of this era for not having any coherence between levels. The exceptions are usually found on consoles, but Traps n Treasures pulls you in wonderfully. It feels like you are truly exploring this two dimensional island.
The focus is definitely more on exploration that combat. You begin with a knife that is suitable for the few enemies you encounter, but you cannot use it mid jump or while swimming. It can be upgraded by buying equipment in one of the shops found on each stage which will increase the range, but this is only necessary later in the game. Once you have rescued all of your pirate friends, you will then be tasked with finding a compass which will point to the exit. This segment has a time limit, so it becomes a race to get to the end.
Not long after the games release (which had its share of issues - visit Roman Werner's site to read more), Starbyte Software declared bankruptcy and as such its run was rather limited. The UK run by Krisalis Software was also pretty small and the game was soon forgotten.
This is a completely engrossing platform adventure that deserves a second look. The graphics, sound, tight controls and game-play mechanics make it one of the best out there for the Amiga.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses FS-UAE to emulate the Amiga on modern PCs. Keyboard controls for the Amiga version are mapped to my preferred optimal specifications. The manual has been included, translated from the original German by me. Tested on Windows 7.
Traps n Treasures is © Nightingale
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me