Review by Retro

"Tom and Jerry wouldn't be impressed"

The very first time cats and mice laid eyes on each other centuries ago, both animals knew that until the end of time they would be ruthless opposites that would never get along. Cats don't actually hate mice. They love them. Every time a cat even hears the sharp claws or teeth of a mouse, its stomach starts rumbling like a tremoring earthquake and its mouth fills up with enough saliva to drown Lake Michigan. When a feline actually sees one of those pesky rodents, it takes off just like a rocket to satisfy its curious hunger. Mice, on the other hand, hate cats more than anything, because they know that their life is in great danger. I guess you could call this a typical love-hate relationship.

In this game of cat and mouse, you play the role of the cheese-stricken rat that never rests. Scurrying about in every direction like dogs in heat, are several cats who want to get in on the action. There are also several green squares scattered about. These four-sided blocks are the answer to the everyday mouse's cat problems.

Using the four arrow keys on your keyboard (this makes for good control!), you will move the skinny little critter around the playing field as you attempt to box in each and every cat that shows its furry face. Cats are extremely slick and their footwork is always top notch, so they can slip right through tiny gaps real easily. Given that and the fact that the cats in Rodent's Revenge can't seem to jump like real life cats can, you soon figure out that you must box in the cats on all eight sides, barely leaving them enough room to breathe in.

But it's no easy task, to say the least. Every identical looking yellow cat can move in every direction that you can (up, down, left, right), but they can also move diagonally. Also, they start out being fairly slow in the beginning levels, but as you progress, they will resemble lightning bolts as they reek of endless speed and stamina, and they will also become more numerous. Just one touch from a feline spells death. Not to mention that every cat always moves in your direction, no matter where you are.

Let's say you have two cats prancing about on the screen. Once you surround one of them with blocks, that cat will sit down and it won't be able to move at all. Box in the other one and they will both disappear and turn into a luscious block of cheese that you can collect for some nice points and a cool snack. Eventually, the level you're currently on will run out of cats and you'll progress to the next level.

As if those darn cats weren't enough of a challenge, there are a few more obstacles to keep a whisker (and an eye) out for. For one, a stopwatch is always counting down at the top of the screen. If you're too slow in defeating the cats, some extra meow'ers will be unleashed into the playing field.

The most challenging obstacles are actually the mazes themselves. The first level is composed only of a bunch of the green blocks that you nudge around to surround the cats. As you advance to the higher stages, you'll see many different arrangements of the movable blocks, and there will be several silver squares that you won't be able to move at all. They just get in the way.

Holes in the ground that keep you as a stationary hostage for a few seconds, yarns that dart across the screen like a speeding bullet, and the classic wooden mouse traps are the other hurdles that you, the mouse, will have to overcome in your cat-killing escapades.

Rodent's Revenge is a good game, but it could've been better. The graphics look like they only took a few minutes to draw up. The mouse and the cats only have one frame of animation, and the yarns, mouse traps, blocks, etc., all look pretty basic. On the bright side of things, the visuals are somewhat colorful, and they won't make you go blind. Sounds and music are like aliens. They're nonexistent. To hear any sounds coming from this game, you'll either have to be on something, or you could exercise your daydreaming skills.

Fortunately, there is a decent amount of options to choose from or glance through that makes Rodent's Revenge a little better than average. You can pause the game during play; there's a high score list that shows the highest scores from the past 24 hours, and an all-time high score list, the Hall of Fame. You can opt to play the game with either a small or large view, but unfortunately, you can't make it full screen. Of course, there's a helpful Help menu to run to for some hints and to learn how to play the game. If you're a little overcome by the game's quickness, or if you feel the need for speed, you could always alter the pace at which the cats will move. Last, and best of all, you can always choose which level you want to play, from 1-50!

Rodent's Revenge can be fun for awhile, but I usually don't play more than one full game of it in a row. It's always compelling and challenging to beat your five current scores in the Hall of Fame, but that's where this game's biggest downfall is, the challenge. When you play the game, starting on Level 1, the challenge is balanced well until you reach Level 5. Then the game just gets too damn hard. Even luck won't get you much further than that! You'll have to go to the Options menu and choose which higher level you want to take on.

Nonetheless, I do recommend downloading this Shareware game or for you to play it at a friend's house if you see the chance. There are better Shareware games (like Rattler Race), but there are also worse ones. While it may not be addicting enough to play every day of the year, it is worth having on your computer to play every now and then.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 04/12/01, Updated 12/07/02

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