Night Trap (Sega CD) review
"You'll be caught in the night!"
It may seem silly to comprehend this today but the transition from cartridges to CD technology was a rough one. Everyone was ready to jump into the new frontier of this brave new world but no one quite knew exactly what they were doing. Panasonic, Sega, Atari and Nintendo all had planned to be the first to pioneer this new and exciting time by either adding CD drives to enhance their existing consoles on the market or creating consoles that were entirely based around CD technology.
The failure of this brief and unfortunate era was the false promise (or BLATANT ACTUAL LIE that the use of full motion video (made capable with CD technology) was going to provide a new revolutionary interactive experience that would usher in a new style of cutting-edge gameplay. Some of these titles used animation but most used live actors and relied on the player to determine the outcome of events by simply pressing buttons in reaction to visual stimuli. Not exactly the immersive and radical experience that consumers were promised and the interest in full motion video waned significantly due to the inability of these games to match expectation.
While Night Trap is no different, it DOES have some endearing qualities due its campy nature and comically bad acting. It was controversial for creating a misconstrued moral panic due to its perceived misogynist content, giving the game an unwarranted notoriety for sex and violence despite the game containing no scenes of sex and explicit violence.
The concept of Night Trap has an elite team of military special forces spying on the home of a mysterious wealthy family. These creepy socialites are suspected in the involvement of the disappearance of multiple girls who are mysteriously invited to the mansion. The group are known as the Sega Control Attack Team or Team SCAT! and have managed to infiltrate the mansion by placing an undercover agent within the ranks of the next group of girls ready to fall victim to the families unusual tastes.
SCAT have their **** together because they have also hacked into the security system of the house which is packed full with numerous traps used to capture the girls for their own pleasures. Donít worry, itís nothing sordid. The twist is that the family are vampires and their penchant for blood needs to be satiated.
The house and its surrounding areas are swarmed with vampiric minions called Augers and its your mission to use a set of cameras that focus on key locations within and outside the estate. You can use the set of 8 cameras to keep an eye on the girls within the house, eavesdrop on the families conversations and to liaise with your agent on the ground.
You can switch from camera to camera at any occasion while the movie plays in real time. You are given little indication to what camera to required be focused on so you have to sporadically jump from camera to camera in order trap as many Augers as possible. If you fail at this, then youíll be given an unintentionally humorous lecture from the SCAT team leader and youíll be condemned to start again.
Catching an Auger is simple, once they appear on screen you wait until the appropriate visual cue appears on your display. If you press the button at the right time and you have the correct coloured code selected, the trap will activate and the Auger will be humorously imprisoned via a secret trapdoor or some other environmental obstruction. If you activate the trap and you have the incorrect code displayed, it wonít work and the Auger will escape. The code is specified by different colours and you can use the interface on screen to set the appropriate colour, this will change on occasion and you will have to listen to various conversations as the story progresses to make sure you have the correct code active.
The controversy this game generated was due to the misconception of the gameís objective. This was the source of outrage for many conservatives at the time. One specific scene where one of the girls is in her underwear and an auger jumps out of the shower. The scene is not erotic and has no violence other than some mild suspense. However, the fallout of this debacle led to the game being pulled from shelves from many stores as well as its eventual temporary discontinuation.
Night Trap is a cult classic. Itís trash in the same way a bad movie can be enjoyable. The concept and environment works well but the frantic method of switching between scenes to try and figure out the correct code means that you are likely to miss out on a lot of the cut scenes and key story aspects. This may encourage some replay value if youíre willing to re-watch certain parts of the movie to get a more in depth experience but it really depends on if youíre a glutton for punishment. Despite this, thereís something endearing about Night Trap, like scratching a skin rash or popping a zit.
Community review by Vorty (March 11, 2023)
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