Cat Trax - Atari 2600



It's an age-old battle of cats versus dogs. Take control of one brave cat and race through the maze, but beware--you're not alone! Dogs are lurking to find your cat and turn him into lunch! Race to the potion and transform into the Dog Catcher to impound those puppies...but watch out, they'll be back! It's a mad scramble in which you're out-numbered three to one. Can you out-run--and out-last--your canine opposition? Make CAT TRAX and find out!

Cat Trax is a game originally written for the Emerson Arcadia 2001 by UA Ltd., and apparently slated to be released on the Atari 2600. While it was never commercially released by UA Ltd., it did appear on a European multi-cart under the name Cat N Mouse. It's unknown why this game (and the other UA prototypes) were never released commercially.

Cat Trax includes a professionally printed box, manual and label, with artwork created by Dave Exton.

Author Unknown
Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 4K
Label Design Dave Exton
Darrell Spice on 10/07/2007 02:33pm
You're a cat on the town trying to find some food and the occasional bundle of catnip. Sadly, the local dogs won't leave you alone. However; if you happen upon a mysterious bottle labeled "L'eau de Dog Warden", you can turn the tables on the mutts and send them to the pound!

When you power it up you get a nice looking eat-the-dots maze game. Unlike Pac Man, there's real dots instead of wafers, intelligent flickering of the dog sprites and the maze has an interesting, non repetitive layout. It even has a real basic attract mode. Two scores are displayed, so I initially thought it supported two players. Turns out to be a one player game, with current score on the left and high score on the right.

There's no game variations, just start the game with your fire button. RESET returns you to attract mode. SELECT can be used to change the maze color(purplish-blue or green), even while playing the game. The TV TYPE switch is used to pause the game. The difficulty switches are not used.

When you start playing it the initial positive reaction quickly fades. Controls are crappy, changes to joystick direction have a delayed reaction - you'd expect more responsiveness considering you're a cat. Collision detection is poor - you'll often be caught even though nothing is touching you. As if that wasn't enough, the dogs are rather dumb - they'll often bounce back and forth between two maze intersection points, even when you're chasing them - boring.

Sound effects are adequate, though it would have been nice to be able to turn off the background siren noise with one of the unused difficulty switches.

Comes with a nice box and an OK manual, with graphics by David Exton w/Dale Crum.

To sum it up, it's a Pac Man knock off with better graphics but sloppy controls and poor collision detection. With a little bit of polish this could have been a fun game.
Nathan Strum on 11/24/2006 06:04pm
In Cat Trax, you're a cat being chased around a maze by three dogs, and you have to avoid them as you run around picking up pieces of cat food. Every once in awhile, a magic potion will appear that will turn you into a dog catcher, and let you round up the dogs. Basically, it's Pac-Man with cats and dogs. Unfortunately, it's just not as much fun. Cat Trax has decent graphics and sound, but the controls leave much to be desired. You can't quickly reverse direction (this is supposed to be a cat, after all), and the spotty collision detection will often allow a dog to catch and kill you from around a corner. All of this, plus only one location to pick up the magic potion from, makes Cat Trax far more frustrating than it should be. Even if those aspects were improved, it's still just a Pac-Man knock-off, and a second-rate one at that. The game has a very nice box with it, but unfortunately, the game is likely to stay inside it most of the time.
Kai Kohl on 08/05/2003 01:57pm
Just a short take, as the game didn't inspire me to play much more.

This REALLY feels & plays like a hack of mousetrap. I hate the way dogs can collide with you in 'around corner' situations, even though their sprites haven't technically touched you. The cat doesn't corner that well either, many times missing turns where you had already pressed the direction of the turn, very infuriating. Maybe the control & collision detection would have been tightened up before release?

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