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Rat Attack Preview

Publisher - Mindscape
Developer - Pure
Platform - N64
Release Date - Aprtil 1999
Type - Action

They bite, they fight, they fight and bite and fight. Bite, bite, bite -- fight, fight, fight, itís Mindscapeís first N64 gaaaa-aaaaame. Okay, so Rat Attack may not have the precious Simpson's license, but that's not stopping Mindscape from creating some of the nastiest cat and mouse action outside this side of Saturday morning cartoons.

Mindscape bills Rat Attack (aka Cats & Rats or Rats!) as a fast-paced arcade game, cartoon style. And indeed, the game canít deny some major cartoon influences: Imagine Tom & Jerry, Itchy and Scratchy, and Herman and Catnip all mixed into one.

In the role of eight sadistic cats (plus some hidden ones) you rid the planet of an army of filthy, filthy little rats. As you move through the levels, the storyline unfolds slowly and eventually reveals a masterplot of two particularily evil rats scheming to destroy the world. So get your paws on an N64 controller and show these wanna-be "autoc-rats" what youíre made of (polygons, of course). To make things more interesting, Mindscape is also working on a four-player mode, and each cat also has its own story that changes the overall plot slightly and eventually leads to a different ending.

But the main attraction of Cats & Rats is of course not the who or the where -- but how you get rid of the rats. Although you can just chase them down and bite or squish them, there are much more imaginative ways of disposing of the critters:

Eradicator: Walk backwards while pressing your "eradicator button" and you will draw a square on the ground. Dragging this trail around the rats will trap them. There's of course a catch. If the rats touch the circle before you close it, the trail will disappear and you have to start all over again.

Destructor: Once you catch the rats you need to make sure that they don't escape, so grab them and throw them into a nifty little device called the "Destructor."

Rat Traps: You start each level equipped with three rat traps, with a maximum capacity of 20 rats per trap. As everyone knows, rats are driven by their unsatiable desire for more wealth -- so it's probably a good idea to set the traps to guard valuables.

Sexy Rat: This alluring female temptress in rat's clothing will turn the heads of the male rat crowd. Accompanied by an appropriate blues soundtrack, she will divert the rats' attention and make them easy prey for the cats.

Metallicat: Destroy five different types of rat in the Destructor at the same time and you will turn into Metallicat. Think Metal-Mario with a touch of death.

On top of these methods, each cat also has its own special move to send the rats to a better place. Here a quick rundown of the cat cast:

*"Bob Cat" Robinson -- a tough stray cat who likes boxing
*Manx -- a ferocious alley cat with sharp claws
*Hai Jinx -- a kung-fu faster than Jackie Chan
*Sparky -- worked for a witch before and is probably consumed by the Dark Side
*Smokey -- a super-smart cat equipped with the latest hi-tech gadgets
*Muffy Dupont -- a sexy feline, rumored to have a pact with the devil
*Pearl -- a cool-cat on roller skates
*Atomicat -- a freak accident turned this guy into the cat version of the Toxic Avenger

Rats, likewise, come in many forms, including smart rats that plant cat traps, mutant rats, agressive rats, and even flying vampire rats. The ideal means of destruction differ from species to specias, as does the amount of points awarded for successfull termination. And true to its Tom and Jerry heritage, Rat Attack also features the obligatory cat-hating bulldog named Benett. The over-sized canine is usually sound asleep at the beginning of each stage, but the limey little rats will try everything to wake him up and send him after the cats.

The game is played from an overhead 3D view with a dynamic camera that zooms in on the action at times (with multiple players, the camera will be zoomed out most of the time to let you see most of the playfield). Since the scrolling is limited, Pure managed to program the game in the system's hi-res (640x480) mode to achieve the sharpest visuals around. Although the early version we were able to see didn't include any music, Mindscape says it will be pushing for cartooney 70s lounge music.

Rat Attack is still in the early development stages at Pure in the UK and is currently slated for a world-wide fall Ď98 release.

For more info on the game, be sure to check out