In 1829 The Esmerelda, a cargo ship carrying gold, sinks to the bottom of the ocean. In 1927 a treasure hunter called Howard Kelp dons a diving suit and searches for the bullion in the wreck.
Treasure Trap is an isometric action game similar to Head Over Heels, but less abstract in its theme. The player guides the diver in a series of rooms (100 total) where the main goal is to collect gold. The main hazard encountered is the sea life that occupied the vacant ship. The character has no weapons, but carries a limited amount of "smart fishes", trained piranhas that attack and destroy all the enemies in the room. Since the player starts with 2 fishes and only receives a new one at each 80 gold bars collected, most of the time the enemies have to be avoided by staying away or jumping over them. Stacking boxes and other objects stops the fauna from getting to the character (and also allows access to high places). There's an air gauge that is constantly depleting at the bottom-right of the screen. It can be filled with the compressed air tanks scattered in some rooms. Some doors require geometric-shaped keys. These can be collected and stored in three slots at the bottom-left of the screen. The game allows saving at each 50 gold collected.
The Esmerelda has been found, resting at the bottom of the ocean, laden with a fortune in gold bars. Unfortunately she's also laden with all manner of underwater usurpers - like electric eels, magnetic mines, jelly fish and more. The Esmerelda is a veritable... Treasure Trap.
Treasure Trap is a puzzle game using the quirky - in my opinion - tilted view employed by games like Populous. Your main objective - as a salvage diver - is to gather as many gold bars as possible from the sunken wreckage.
The puzzle part is in collecting the gold bar, as getting to it is often times easier than it sounds. You must avoid a variety of sea creatures that cost you a life if you touch them, although some creatures you can jump on for a ride. Figuring out which is which is part of the puzzle as there is no manual available for this game.
You must explore the ship one room at a time. Each room connects to one or more other rooms, but some door can only be opened with the correct key. Up to three keys can be carried at one time. You are also using up your precious air supply with each step you take. No worries, there are extra air tanks scattered around the area.
A map is available that shows the relationship of each room, so if you are serious about the game, you can map the rooms to assist you in moving about more quickly, noting the location of keys and gold. There is no method continuing from the last location once you run out of lives, so a map will be useful.
You can redefine the key mapping, but for some odd reason they don't save and you are required to remap them each time. Other than movement you can jump, pickup and/or drop keys, and release a super fish. A super fish will eat the objects in a room, such as the magnetic mines, which are attracted to you metal diving suit.
The graphics are fitting for an old rotting hulk and are more than seaworthy for a puzzle game. The sound is adequate as well.
I was able to rack up only about 45 gold bars and found the controls to be quirky, even if I redefined the keys. This puzzle game is an oldie that may not be a keeper, but catching it is still fun!
A fun wreck-diving action game played from an attractive isometric view, Treasure Trap is short on innovation but long on imaginative gameplay. The goal is simple: find and collect gold in every room, then escape a final surprise to the surface to become the world's richest man. Your reflexes will be sorely tested as you dodge poisonous stingrays, gigantic crabs, and bigger dangers of the deep.
Despite its resemblance to Scuba Ventures (John Carmack / Softdisk oldie), Treasure Trap adds some puzzle elements to keep the game interesting. As you explore the more than 100 rooms, you'll need to collect keys to unlock new doors, avoid traps, and figure out a way to get from point A to B. These physical puzzles (fans of Zelda will feel right at home here) help elevate the game above typical arcade fare. Overall, a fun game, and a good prelude to the superior Sink or Swim game by Zeppelin, also on this site.
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