Tom & Jerry In: House Trap is, essentially, the direct descendant of a very old NES game you might remember, Spy Vs. Spy. Oh, you don't remember that one? Well, big shock there.
Spy Vs. Spy was based on the comic strip of the same name, taking its decades-long struggle from the pages of MAD magazine and making a game out of it. The white and black spies would run around a building consisting of a finite number of rooms, set traps here and there, and hope the other guy blundered into some contraption that would flatten him or blow him up.
Tom and Jerry may not be intentionally based on Spy Vs. Spy, but those who played the latter will find the former hauntingly familiar. Tom (the cat) and Jerry (the mouse) run around a house consisting of a finite number of rooms, set traps here and there, and hope the other guy blunders into some contraption that will flatten him or blow him up. If the indirect approach - setting up mousetraps, vacuums, falling bowling balls, and the like - doesn't appeal to you, though, you can always resort to the simpler expedient of braining the other guy with a shovel. You see the house via the same side-scrolling split-screen view as in Spy Vs. Spy, and while a layer of depth has been added by the 3D graphics, allowing you limited movement on the Z-axis, the game is still essentially the same. You set traps, hope they work, and occasionally resort to some clumsy Power Stone-style brawling.
This is entertaining, and Warthog's handling of the control and game balance is sound, but like the cartoons it's inspired by, the appeal wears extremely quickly. It's like the slams reel on a BMX video: the same thing over and over again, and once you see it enough you realize that it wasn't even very funny the first time. Each mission does not introduce you to an entirely new area, but instead merely adds one more room onto the existing house, and as such you'll rapidly run out of new traps and such to brain your opponent with.
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