Release Date: 1983
Publisher: Avalon Hill
Controller: Joystick
Players: 1
Genre: Shoot’em Up
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: 50010
Rarity: 8
Programmer: Jim Jacob

This is one of the more infuriating shooters on the 2600.

You are a cadet fresh out of the academy who is sent out into a black hole to deliver a vital top secret message to the Emperor of the Galaxiau Empire. During your journey you are attacked by a mythical ship known only as IT. Trapped within IT’s force field your only hope of survival is to destroy the power generators before the plasma fireballs can destroy you.

The game plays out on a single screen, with your ship confined to the bottom two-thirds of the play field, and the enemy ship taking up the top third. The good news is that there can only be one enemy plasma fireball on screen at a time, the bad news is that the fireball is a giant fast moving heat seeking instrument of destruction. If you aren’t constantly moving or find yourself too high on the screen when it’s fired, you will take damage. As you can imagine this makes lining up your shots all the more difficult.

There are two targets for you to shoot at just off center at the top of the screen. These are the power generators and they are apparently well crafted since they take a ridiculous amount of shots to destroy. To make things more challenging, every time you land a shot to the generator a moving barricade pops up that will block your bullets. By the time you take out one of your targets there will be a virtually impenetrable wall preventing all but the most precise shots from getting through.

Your ship is quite durable as it has the ability to withstand several direct hits from the plasma fireballs before disintegrating. That said if you are careless and touch the slowly descending bottom force field that is protecting the enemy vessel it is an automatic game over. Of course it is highly unlikely this will ever happen since if you fly your ship too close to the enemy you will be taken down in a hail of fire before the force field has a chance to destroy you.

Death Trap is much more of an endurance test than a fun game. If you enjoy constantly moving to avoid incoming projectiles while shooting at stationary objects, then you’ll find a good time here. If you are looking for an exciting space shooter then there are plenty of other better examples on the 2600.


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Derek Slaton Derek Slaton (21 Posts)

Derek began playing video games in the early 80s, cutting his teeth on every Atari 2600 game he could get his hands on. This kickstarted a lifelong love of games, which continues to this day. No matter how advanced the systems and games become, the love for Atari remains supreme, which is why the Atari 2600 Encyclopedia project was done. With this massive project completed, Derek looks to begin work on another system encyclopedia, hoping to pay tribute to the games that shaped his childhood.