Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Night Trap

Night Trap was a very early interactive movie and the first on the Sega CD where it was originally released in 1992. The premise of the game is that you play the role of a Special Agent who must watch over a group of teenage girls in a house full of danger. You watch surveillance video from within the house and must trigger traps to capture those who mean to do harm. There are more than 1.5 hours of video and it was originally created for a prototype game for a VHS based game system. That system was cancelled and the footage ended up being used five years later for this game.

There are eight cameras throughout the house and you can switch between them at any time. Clues an be gleaned from the various conversations you may overhear and from an undercover agent who assists you. You have to keep track of changing access codes for the traps and trigger them at the correct time. After a trap is triggered, it is unavailable for a short period of time.

This was certainly a unique concept for the time and there is an appeal to the B-Movie like nature of the game. However, the game play itself is relatively shallow and there's not much in the way of replayability. This game ended up becoming famous not for it's outstanding game play but because it was one of the games that led to the establishment of the ESRB. Night Trap was accused of containing "gratuitous violence" and "promoting sexual aggression against women" which of course was complete nonsense. The publicity had the predictable effect of increasing sales but the game was pulled by major toy stores (when there were such things) just before Christmas.

The game was pulled from the market by Sega in early 1994 but after the publicity died down the game was ultimately ported to the 32X, 3DO, DOS and Mac OS. The 3DO was probably the best version as it had the largest video window. The 32X version was very similar to the original but with an improved interface. There have also been some more recent ports including a 25th anniversary edition for the PS4 and Windows that was released in 2017 and a port for the Switch that was released a couple of months ago.

Images above are from the 32X version of the game.

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