|Platforms||Sega CD, 3DO, 32X, DOS|
|Genre||Controversial Interactive Movie|
|MtAMinutes to Action||3|
|Score||7 Gameplay: 6
Fun Factor: 8
|Buy from Amazon|
Night Trap was a controversial full-motion video game released on a variety of CD-based systems in the early 90's. It serves as a great reminder to people who wish to defend against video game censorship in the United States as the game's leading opponents: Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl, are still serving in the Senate 15 years later. Night Trap is pretty timid compared to some games nowadays and mostly attracted attention because it used real actors (if you could call them that) in pajamas and had a vampire blood sucking scene. There have undoubtedly been hundreds of scenes of vampires sucking the blood of a young woman out in film and even on TV over the years, but Night Trap gets targeted because why?
Anyways, a little about my experience with the game. I actually beat Night Trap a few years ago, it was an epic moment in my video game career and a story I'll be able to retell for ages. I first played it when it was initially released on the Sega CD back in 1992. Even then I realized how bad this game was, the control is simply horrid and the full motion video is anything but that. My friend and I played it because we were young and intrigued about the notion of the possibility of breasts in a video game. Of course, there isn't any nudity but we liked to think that if we beat the game, we would be duly rewarded. If you consider the opportunity to kill Dana Plato a great reward though, well, you will love this game. Now on to the first hour review of Night Trap for the PC!
(minutes are in bold)
00 - Well, the game starts off right away, I don't even have to press Start! The developer and publisher's logo flash by, and then we get to see the Night Trap logo, with a bloody letter A! An RV pulls up and I get a binoculars' eye view of a house. We cut to what I presume is inside the RV, a SWAT-like team of people are moving around inside, preparing for a mission of sorts.
01 - But they're not SWAT, they're SCAT. I don't think I could have possibly thought of a worse squad acronym. A man named Simms starts talking to me about this slumber party that's about to go down. Five teenage girls are going to a mall friend's house for some fun, but this isn't any normal random set of people, pretty girls have disappeared from here before! My job is to protect the five girls. Somehow SCAT already snuck someone into the house and discovered a robust security system with cameras and traps in every room (including the bathroom) and they spliced the cable so we could also control their security. Right now the trap's access code is simply set to Blue, but anyone could change it at anytime, so I have to pay attention. They could also cut the spliced cable.
02 - Man, this is a lot to worry about. Luckily I'll have a woman on the inside, Kelly, code named in the real world as Dana Plato, the star of Diff'rent Strokes! Simms yells at me for another moment, then I say I'm ready to go and the game really begins.
03 - So I'm looking at a view of the girls climbing out of their station wagon and they begin to unpack. They joke around in hilarious fashion and then Dana Plato, I mean Kelly, approaches the camera and asks if we're ready to go. The family's daughter, Sarah, comes walking down the stairs and says she's surprised they came.
04 - The parents also come out of the house and Sarah introduces everyone, the dad is all creepy like and even kissed Kelly's hand. One of the girl's brought her little brother, Danny. That just seems odd. Through all of this the game is beeping.
05 - I should explain the UI, on the top half of the screen we have the full motion video area, where we get to see the grainy, low-res hotties in action. On the bottom half we have what looks like a view of the house and buttons for the various cameras around the building. It also shows my current access code, and some numbers that say Possible (15) and Captured (0). Every time the game beeps the Possible goes up by one.
07 - Umm... "Weird Eddie" just approached the girls, "he's really cute" one of them exclaims. Danny waves like a dork. They enter the house, but I can see some black-clad dudes on the roof! I click the Trap button but it does nothing. The front lawn is just empty. Guess I'll head inside.
09 - Kelly breaks the fourth wall again and tells me to check out the house. I have to either follow these guys around or look for the baddies. They're hanging out in the kitchen now, unloading their goods.
10 - Woah, I just entered the bedroom and some guy was creeping around. It was playing some "rock" music and I tried to trap him but nothing happened.
11 - Oh man, I just missed out on a trap! A ninja vampire was in the bedroom again and the little bar starting flashing red, but I had already clicked Trap and missed my chance. Darn. 24 Possible, 0 Captured.
13 - Two guys just went into a secret doorway, I don't know how to follow them! The parents are outside talking about leaving, "what could possibly go wrong?" the father asks. Oh, just wait.
14 - I keep entering rooms right when a vampire is leaving. Lame. Oh, the girls are having a dance party in the living room now! Think I'll watch that for a bit.
16 - Holy crap. I just witnessed quite possibly the greatest scene in a video game ever. Someone puts on a song, and it turns out to be the Night Trap song! Seriously. "blah blah blah blah NIGHT TRAP!" That's basically how it went. One of the girls had a tennis racket and was strumming it like a guitar and then using it as a microphone. All of a sudden all the girls stand up and start rocking out. Amazing!
17 - But of course the whole time I was missing out on captures, whoops.
18 - NOOOO! I just had my first capture in the bag but someone changed the code! I don't know what it is now!
19 - Oh snaps, I lost. Simms comes up and tells me the house is being overrun, he's probably right! Time to start again.
20 - All right! This time I don't waste any time watching Simms talk to me and just get right to the house by pressing Enter. That seems to have worked because right away in Hall 1 two ninjas appear and since I know the code is blue, I take them out right away. A door opens up and then a wall shoves them outside. Rocking!
21 - Wow, I'm on a roll! I've now captured 5 out of a possible 7. The daughter, Sarah, was in the bathroom freshening up and some nasties followed her in there (unknown to her). I took them out with a rotating wall and some cleverly placed holes in the floor. Awesome Blossom!
23 - There are trapdoors all over this house, took out another two vampires. And another.
24 - The mom just came out from behind a bookcase, something fishy is going on here.
25 - The game has finally reached the point where the girls are unloading the station wagon. Geez, that seems a little lame that the opening video literally cuts into the game like that.
27 - Owned, the sliding staircase just dumped two enemies to the underworld. LOL, the bed just flipped up to toss one outside. This game is crazy.
28 - The game just pulled the same wall pushing two outside again. And since it was all full motion video, it was the exact same scene. I've captured 13 of 17. Not bad if I do say so myself.
30 - Took out some more in the bathroom. Some of these guys have giant weapon like things that look like they're for grabbing on to people's necks with (and then sucking their blood!).
31 - I come across the mom and dad in the kitchen, sounds like the mom is suspicious of Kelly. Not good for SCAT!
33 - Oh no, someone changed the code! When did they do it? I try changing it to Green and I immediately get an opportunity to try that out, doesn't work. Crap.
34 - Haha, the girls are about the sing the Night Trap song. I'd better not watch this time. Well, the code isn't Orange either. This sucks.
35 - What the frak? One of my SCAT buddies just burst into the house. Odd. I'm doing a lot worse now, 18 out of 34. And I still haven't confirmed the new access code.
37 - Ugh, not Purple either. Little Danny just found one of the secret doors and he went in, and two vampires followed! But I couldn't take them out! Finally, it's Red! Just don't change again anytime soon, please.
39 - Oh sucka! I just overheard the cousins talking about changing the code to Yellow. I rule.
40 - And yellow works immediately, whoopee! The girls have gone upstairs after their little dance-off. Sarah is showing them their rooms.
41 - Someone just pulled up in another station wagon, it's some black guy wearing a crazy Hawaiian outfit, but he's with SCAT! I think he's going to try something... "Give them the old Jamaican number." I am frightened for my life.
42 - Holy crap, Dana Plato in a sports bra! My dream has come true. One of the girls finds some crazy sex-toy thing in the closet, Sarah says her dad collects weird things. Uh huh.
44 - Well, the SCAT guy was inside talking to the cousins, but I didn't pay attention to what they were doing. Instead I found the craziest thing yet (besides the song). Some guy was hoisted up by his ankles in a closet and the vampires hooked some oxygen tank up to his neck and started sucking the blood out! Crazy!
45 - Oh no, Danny saw them do it! And now little Danny is getting chased! I do manage to take out one though.
47 - Woah, I just saw the famous bathroom scene that all the donkeys in Washington got upset about. One of the girls was fixing her hair in the bathroom while one of the vampires was hiding in the shower. She saw him and opened it up, thinking it was one of the other girls playing a trick on her, but then another came out, and another wielding their giant neck weapon! She starts fighting them off and I kill one, then she runs to the bedroom and out the window. Crazy!
49 - Heh, one of the cousins was just hitting on Kelly, but then Danny runs into the living room saying "they're after me!" Maybe they'll believe him and they can get the heck out! Please insert disc 2... fine, give me a minute.
50 - Oh no, my game froze! Crap... guess I'll replay the beginning for another 10 minutes. That blows.
51 - Okay, now the game is on a fritz, it froze again basically. LAME. Well, just the mouse actually, I can still use the number keys to switch cameras and the Enter button to trap. Might as well give it a try. (turns out later on it was actually my mouse that ran out of batteries, sorry to blame it on you Night Trap!)
55 - Using the keyboard's number pad is actually really easy to use. Quite a good alternative to the mouse.
58 - Just playing the game... 16 of 25 captured. Just flung a guy off the roof, only one I haven't seen yet.
60 - I'm proud of myself, I correctly figured out when the guys turned the access code to Red. But that's all there is to the first hour of Night Trap! Wow! Not as bad as I remembered.
Time for some scores out of 10.
Minutes to Action: 3
The core gameplay of Night Trap is really just you switching from camera to camera as fast as possible to find bad guys running around the house and then trap them. Trapping them doesn't take much skill, just press the button at the right time, but it's more about looking at the right camera at the right time. It's a little frustrating to suddenly find the security code has been changed, but I suppose this game has quite a bit of trial and error behind it, and I quickly figured out the correct time of the first code change. Night Trap's gameplay works off a simple concept, but it is executed pretty well.
Fun Factor: 8
I've always had fun playing Night Trap, and my latest foray into the game's first hour was no exception. The game is flawed in many ways, but once you get a hang of the gameplay and can get past the cheese factor, it is really fun. Trapping bad guys can actually be laugh out loud funny but most of the enjoyment comes from the bad acting and of course, the epic song and dance sequence. It's great to see a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, the developers weren't trying to make the perfect game, the premise is too flawed to begin with to achieve that. They did, however, make a game that is kind of like a scary movie, the more people you have around to watch it, the better it gets.
Graphics and Sound: 6
I played the PC version of Night Trap which benefits from higher resolution video, which is a definite plus. The security camera picture actually looks pretty good and it is always clear when the black clad bad guys are creeping around. What also helps is the soundtrack, the only noticeable piece was the vampire sneaking music but it helped so much when zipping from screen to screen. That Night Trap song was also pretty awesome. Finally, the user interface was also completely revamped from the Sega CD version but I'm not sure if it's actually any better.
Well, if you've read the minute by minute of this game, you'll know that Night Trap's story is pretty much crap. Okay, it's total crap. But it is redeemed by that amazing song that had me entranced for a few minutes. I'm pretty sure this game was intentionally written as a vampire B-movie, but that doesn't mean it gets a break from me. The acting is atrocious but the biggest problem with the story is the gameplay. There might actually be some gems of writing hidden within this game but you'd never know because you have to constantly jump from room to room, causing you to miss 90% of the dialogue. But maybe that's a good thing.
Is it wrong for me to say that I actually enjoyed playing the first hour of Night Trap? I think this game has gotten a tremendously bad rap from certain comedy video game reviewers and the pretty crappy gameplay of some console versions. My experience from playing the first hour does not point to this game being one of the worst of all time. It may have been an awful idea with a cast of D-list actors, but it is so campy and insane that I had fun. It's not a great game, it is though decent and such an iconic moment in video game history that if you ever get a chance to play Night Trap, do it.