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Rat Attack
"Even as we squeak, hundreds of rampaging rodents are ready to wreak havoc and destruction" Image Loading...
Developer: Pure Ent
Distributor: Mindscape
Game Type: Strategy
Review Date: Oct 99
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Setting the Scene:
      Two evil mutant space-rats, Washington and Jefferson, have returned to Earth after being blasted into orbit over 40 years ago. Now rats throughout the world have started banding together, destroying all in their wake. Deadly mutators have been installed everywhere, creating bizarre and ever more deadly mutated rats. Their goal is to establish the rat as the dominant species on the planet. Beware as the Day of the Rat is at hand!

Enter the Scratch Cats, a crack squad of feline freedom fighters dedicated to protecting planet Earth from it's biggest danger yet. Under the auspicious leadership of Professor Julius, they must battle against these evil forces.

Realizing the threat, Washington and Jefferson have kidnapped Pearl, one of the team, and taken her to their lair in outer space...

      Rat Attack is a frenetic one-to-four-player hi-res 3D arcade game in which players must clear over 50 levels of increasingly devious rats. Initially, players choose one of the six Scratch Cats, though more become available once certain challenges have been met and secrets opened up.
Sound and Vision:
Image Loading...      Rat Attack is certainly an arcade game that you can dive straight into. There's no intro and little to do except select your cat character and then simply go for it. Levels are grouped into themes such as in the funhouse, out in the garden, at a museum, inside a spooky haunted house, at an Art Gallery or even on the beaches of Hawaii.

The resolution and depth of color is almost blinding when the opening level is first unveiled. Almost the entire 3D room can be viewed on screen at one time where objects subject to a rat attack are littered all around. For example in the bathroom the these would be a sink, a wash basket, a toilet and a rubber duck. All are constructed from smooth polygons and make for tidy viewing.

Your 3D feline character is now warped into this same room and is free to roam anywhere. Soon a plague of tiny rats appear from small mouse-holes in the wall and begin nibbling away at the scattered objects. The more they nibble... the more the objects glow. Should the damage continue the objects will disintegrate completely and the rats will move on to the next. Meanwhile a number of animated hazards attempt to slow down your progress. In the house a hover may weave across the carpet. In the garden it could be a lawnmower going haywire.

Image Loading...The cats each have their own color or dress code which helps to determine them from each other. In Multi-player mode this works fairly well until you are unfortunate to choose either Bob Cat Robinson or Hai Jinx. You see these two pussies happen to be colored grey. And guess what color the rats are? Got it in one... grey. The time you waste chasing another cat (thinking it's a rat), or determining which particular grey animal is the cat in your control is crazy. It's not so bad in single player mode but can still become confusing in the later, more hectic levels. I would still advise you steer clear of these two characters.

It's possibly also worth mentioning that Rat Attack has been developed in high resolution and some gamers may suffer dizzy spells. This problem is all too often brushed under the carpet by the gaming industry and I feel that a thorough investigation should be carried out before all next generation games are made in high res. It may all look very pretty but a young member of my family reacts to these style of visuals and must switch off after barely a couple of minutes play.
      Beginning in a fairly common-or-garden house Professor Julius briefly appears to offer a few hints on what to expect and a couple of tips to help you get by. The idea is that each level takes place in a single room where a growing number rats devote themselves to attacking anything they can get their plague-infested claws on. Should a room become too damaged then you've failed in your task and one of your nine lives is lost. To complete a level a certain number of rats must be destroyed. After each group of levels a boss character must be defeated in order to progress.

Image Loading...To trap the rampaging vermin the latest in rat-catching hardware is used. The Eraticator is a rodent-sucking contraption that allows the pesky rats to be sucked up for permanent disposal. As each rat enters the room it may first be stunned by pressing the circle button. This activates a spinning motion as the cat lashes out with it's claws. By holding down the 'X' button and running around the concussed rat a circle will form in the cats trail. Release the 'X' button and the rat is sucked into the Eraticator's storage tanks. They must then be disposed of by releasing them in the destructor.

Other actions include a jump button to climb onto higher levels, a special move which instantly eliminates all of the toughest foes in the vicinity and a power-up button that activates a large piece of cheese which creates a diversion to distract nearby rats.

Image Loading...In some levels Bennett, the dog will appear. Now we all know that dogs hate cats. Consequently the rats will try their hardest to wake Bennett up. If successful then he makes a beeline for you, if he gets you then you lose a life. Bennett won't always be asleep, sometimes he'll be tied up... here the rats will try to gnaw the rope. A loose dog is restricted to the floor and can only be avoided by sticking to the high ground. Thankfully Bennett gets tired quickly, after 15 seconds or so he will fall asleep until awoken again.

The single player game involves selecting your preferred cat and then moving through as many themed levels as possible. By saving your progress on a memory card later levels may be accessed immediately rather than starting all over again. There are three levels of difficulty and a number of options allowing gameplay to be customized.

Recently we have seen fresh ideas such as Devil Dice and Kula World make the grade. It's so difficult to invent a new style of game and Rat Attack almost succeeds. Sadly it falls down during the later levels when everything gets so hectic. I eventually couldn't be bothered to scramble through the chaos and duly gave up. In multiplayer mode players battle to trap rodents of their own color whilst doing their best to hinder the progress of others. Once again the sheer number of cats and rats in such a small area makes it almost impossible to keep trackon your own rodents.
Game Options:
      This is a 1 disk game for 1-4 Players when a Multi-tap is used. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the analog stick controls of the dual shock joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).

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Staff Opinions  
Martin: "As a single and multiplayer game I found Rat Attack very limited. What begins as a straightforward game of catch soon becomes a frantic scramble to simply survive. Often your character will end up losing a life because you have lost track of their position."
Graphics: 15/20
Playability: 39/50
Sound: 6/10
Lastability: 12/20
Overall: 72%
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