Saturday, 13 October 2012

Night Trap

Night Trap is like gaming marmite. You either enjoy it, or you don't. Me, I enjoy it. I find it fun to play (given the inherent gameplay limitations, more on which later), endlessly entertaining to watch in a cheesy 80s horror movie way, and the standout title in a short lived but long remembered genre.

Night Trap was the poster child of the 'FMV'/'Interactive Movie' genre. Quite literally, these games allowed gamers to interact in a fairly limited way with pre-recorded video footage. Obviously, given the nature of the footage, and the limited storage capacity of CD based games systems (which were the primary delivery system for FMV titles), these games tended to be relatively simplistic, and brief in nature.

Night Trap plays out in 'real time', with various streams of footage relating to various parts of the game map playing out concurrently, with you switching back and forth as the games puzzles dictate. The plot is straight out of an 80s horor flick: A group of teenagers congregate at the house of one of their friends, who is a vampire, and it is up to you to prevent their deaths, and defeat both the vampire family, and their semi mutated bretheren, the 'Augers'. You do this by hacking into a sophisticated CCTV and trap based security system. As the game progresses, you have to trap as many of the Augers and vamps as possible, whilst keeping as many of the Teens alive as you can. Let too many Teens die, and its game over.

Despite the simplicity of the core gameplay (press the 'trap' button when the enemies are within range to trigger the trap) the game is pretty damned tough, often with multiple traps needing to be triggered in fairly rapid succession to progress.

The games visuals vary greatly depending on which system you manage to play it on. Bottom of the pile is the Sega Mega CD version, being the lowest powered machine this game appeared on. The video footage is this version is relatively small, and suffers from a very limited colour palette. The 32X, 3DO and PC CD-ROM versions are significantly better looking, with a larger video display, and better colour depth. Frankly though, this barely affects the playing of the game at all. It plays the same on all versions, with the PC edition getting an edge due to the availability of mouse control making it easier to switch from room to room.

And, yes, this game was controversial. It is not, however, remotely as violent or perverted as its reputation may indicate. In fact, you don't see any blood, or nudity at all. If it were released as a straight up film, it would probably be a 'PG'.

So give it a try. You might be entertained, or you might not.

5/5 if you like FMV games. 0/5 if you don't.

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