Trapt (PlayStation 2) review
"Allura has the ability to instantly create traps, and the only way to get enemies to fall in said traps is by leading them; wait for them to pass the right spot at the right time, press a button and watch the carnage. Slower paced than your average action game, but there’s creative merit to it…"
Trapt is fun for an hour.
That hour starts after the poorly translated cutscenes that put you in control of Princess Allura, after her evil stepmother seizes control of the kingdom from the King’s cold dead hands, and after gentle Allura is cursed with the power of a marauding demon. Mercenaries, assassins and soldiers stand in the way of Allura and her rightful throne, leaving her with one choice: Run away.
That’s how you play. Allura has the ability to instantly create traps, and the only way to get enemies to fall in said traps is by leading them; wait for them to pass the right spot at the right time, press a button and watch the carnage. Slower paced than your average action game, but there’s creative merit to it…
A bomb, while powerful, has poor range. But if you use a magnet wall to hold the enemy in place…
There’s no way the enemy would fall into those electric chairs by accident. But if you were to place a catapult floor tile at the right place…
The electricity generator only makes a light show when it activates, looks useless. But if you were to place it in a pool and wait for the enemy to take a dip…
The joy in Trapt comes from mixing and matching deathtraps, disposing your enemies with everything at your disposal. A simple pleasure, for sure, but once that hour’s up, you notice things.
You notice how enemies always die in a similar manner: 1) Say something 2) Fall in a pool of blood. That’s fine when you actually kill them in a way that would warrant that, but it’s annoying when you electrocute them, or flatten them, or knock them in a river of lava and they still die from a chest wound.
You notice how the game doesn’t have radar when it needs one so badly. Timing is crucial for the traps, and the only way to know when to spring the trap is by looking at it This wouldn’t be such a problem if you didn’t always have to run away and the camera wasn’t so dead-set on watching Allura’s plush behind. You have to stop, turn around, look at the enemy as he approaches, wait for the right moment, then spring the trap, and if you’re facing two enemies at a time – which you often will be – you’re guaranteed to get sideswiped.
Worst of all, you notice that there’s no point in using different trap combinations. Once you find a combo that works well, why bother? It’s not like you’ll see any special death sequence for your effort. Your only reward for ingenuity is a decreased frame rate.
And therein lies the problem: Trapt had a great concept, but no idea how to support it. There’s no replay, no drive, no real interest past the idea. And, unless one hour is all you want out of a game, that just will not cut it.
Staff review by Zack Little (November 21, 2006)
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