... with Hypocrisy
You know how they have age ratings on games these days so little Johnny’s poor old granny doesn’t accidentally buy him an age inappropriate video game for Christmas?
Well those ESRB ratings are largely Night Traps fault.
The video footage of teenage girls dancing around the living room whilst nefarious shambling “bad guys” stalked the hallways was too much for the US senate; Sega even pulled the game from the shelves for a while.
Of course the free advertising kindly provided by the Senate and the ensuing media witch hunt was amazing PR for the game, which was unsurprisingly re-released and ported to a host of other platforms riding the wave of coverage it had received.
I guess morals are good but profit is preferable.
You have a light indicator at the bottom of your in-game monitor which will change from green, through amber to red when it’s time to set off a trap. This indicator only works in relation to the camera you have pulled up on the screen, so you could be missing countless other trap opportunities elsewhere in the house whilst your attention is focused here.
It’s important to know that if you time your trap trigger badly you’ll miss the opportunity to catch that pesky Auger and when your chance is gone, it’s gone forever. You only get one shot to capture each Auger, miss it and that Auger will count against you for the rest of your game.
Don’t you open that trapdoor...
Not so, even if you’ve memorised all the trap opportunities there’s another wrinkle with the trap system you need to worry about.
Remember that these aren’t your traps, you’ve just gained control of them and the Martins will realise that as you play through the game.
Access to the traps is colour coded, you need have the right colour selected in order to trigger a trap, (You start out with the correct colour selected on your in-game console) but the Martins will try to regain control of the system by changing the access code colour periodically.
They will tell each other what colour they are changing it to, which is fine if you’re watching the relevant video feed whilst they’re having a conversation about it, but miss it and you’ll find yourself locked out of the system.
The only option open to you then is changing the colour code every time you try to trigger a trap until you stumble upon the correct colour and the trap works, in the meantime each failed attempt results in more Augers milling around which takes you ever closer to the “House is overrun” ending.
One Night At Martins
Following a wonderfully 80’s flavoured introduction video which explains that the taskforce are investigating the strange disappearance of several teenagers at the Martin residence and that they’ve managed to hack into their security surveillance system, you’ll find yourself sitting at a computer screen flicking between live video feeds looking for anything suspicious
(Think “Five Nights at Freddys” but with live full motion video footage instead of static 2d art.)
Yeah! Night Trap!
Night Trap 25th Anniversary edition is a worthy remake of a wonderfully fun FMV classic with an impressive facelift (compared to the original at least) and a modernised interface.
If you missed out on Night Trap the first time around then this anniversary edition is the perfect opportunity to experience a classic.
Of course if you remember the original fondly then I’m certain you’ll love this trip down memory lane.
Night Trap was a huge amount of fun 25 years ago and it turns out that it’s still a huge amount of fun today!
I have no hesitation in recommending Night Trap 25th Anniversary.
Buy it now and pack your bags because you’re going on a nostalgia trip, just watch out for the Augers!
In addition to watching the camera feeds and listening to the conversations taking place in the different rooms, you also have control over several bizarre traps hidden around the house.
It’s your task to spring these traps to stop the nefarious interlopers and keep the house and its visitors safe from their evil doings.
The traps themselves take the comedic, family friendly approach to home defence, there are spinning book cases, sliding stairs, hidden trapdoors etc.
That’s not to say that this game is family friendly...... but then again..... There’s no nudity, no bad language and the same level of cartoon slapstick violence that you’re likely to see in any PG rated movie... Well it’s up to you what you think is appropriate but my guess is that Night Trap isn’t going to damage the sensibilities of even the most delicate of teenage gamers.
It’s ironic to think that this game caused such a stir back in 1992 when it debuted on the Sega CD.
Nostalgia and Goodbyes
The greatest thing about the eighties was...well... EVERYTHING!
Rubix Cubes, The ZX Spectrum, Walkmans, it was a decade that defined a generation and now you’ve got the chance to glimpse it in a very special way through the release of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Night-Trap.
But wait, I hear you cry, 25 years takes us back to the 90’s so what’s with all the 80’s nostalgia?
Well that’s because Night Trap is a game that exudes 80’s goodness through every pore. It’s not just set in the eighties; it was actually filmed in the eighties too!
A company called Axlon was working on some sort of VHS based gaming system, they even got as far as filming video footage for a release title, but for whatever reason the project didn’t go ahead and the film was archived.
That is until Digital Pictures came along a few years later and used the footage to create the FMV gaming phenomenon that was Night-Trap.
That’s right, Night Trap was (and still is) a Full Motion Video title.
So if the thought of FMV gaming leaves you cold then it’s time to say goodbye, the rest of this review isn’t for you.
Out for the Count
When I say count against you, I mean that literally, there’s an in game counter which keeps track of how many Augers you’ve managed to trap alongside how many you’ve missed.
Miss too many Augers and the house will become overrun.
When that happens, it’s Good Night Vienna, sayonara sweet-heart and game over man, the fat lady sings and it’s time to start all over again from the very beginning.
You “Auger” Know
Anyway, we were talking about the “trap” part of night trap, and these traps are all about timing.
You’ll be flicking between the camera’s, engrossed in a conversation that’s going on between a few of the girls whilst countless Augers (That’s what they call the bad guys) are scuttling around the rest of the house.
You always need to keep one eye on the other cameras no matter how interesting the things are on the feed you’re watching, and things get pretty interesting, there’s a story being told through the events and dialogue that’s taking place in the Martin house tonight
So assuming you’ve managed to tear yourself away from the 80’s teen drama unfolding around you and focused your attention on the Augers roaming the hallways, you’re still going to need to trap them and setting off a trap, as I said, is all about timing.
With My Little Eye
Watching these cameras will soon reveal that Mr and Mrs Martin are going out for the evening, leaving the house to their teenage son and daughter, along with their cousin Tony.
It also quickly becomes apparent that there are strange figures wondering around the house unseen by the occupants, as you monitor these shambling creatures through the camera’s you’ll also see a car pull up outside the property.
A fresh group of teenagers have been invited to a slumber party by Sarah, the Martins teenage daughter.
The game proper has begun and it’s not just a passive, voyeuristic experience either. You’ve got a job to do.
Now that all the FMV haters have gone off to play Call of Duty or whatever it is they do, let’s talk about Night Trap because as far as FMV games go, it’s an important one.
In Night Trap you take on the roll of a Special Control Attack Team operative tasked with monitoring the live feed from several surveillance cameras.
These cameras are placed in and around the Martin residence, an inconspicuous house which hides a dark secret.
Fuzzy Motion Video
This 25th anniversary edition boasts remastered video footage, so the game has never looked better, having said that, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear and the source material is old.
Don’t expect UHD quality here, it’s much improved over the original game and is perfectly watchable, but the quality is still more VHS than Blu-ray, but for me the slightly fuzzy nature of the video just adds to the whole eighties vibe.
For the most part the audio is fine too; you might come across the odd sound glitch here and there but it’s nothing too distracting.
Time after Time
The repetitive nature of being forced to replay the game might sound like a bad thing, but with eight live video streams to monitor this repetition is vital not only to learn when and where each Auger is going to show up but also to allow the narrative to unfold.
There are normally multiple conversations or activities going on at any one time, so you’re always going to miss something in a single play through.
Night Trap is a game meant to be played several times.
A house overrun with Augers isn’t the only thing that’ll make the fat lady sing, you need to protect the girls too, when the Augers corner one of the guests (and this is going to happen one by one) you not only need to be watching the relevant camera so you don’t miss it but you’ll also need to be ready with your trigger finger to trap the attacking auger and save the day (or at least the girl).
You just need to save them all and make it through to the end of the game, simple right?
So we know that the 25th anniversary outing has drastically improved video quality over the original but else does it bring to the table?
Well the interface has been revamped (although you can choose to play with the old interface options if you’re feeling nostalgic).
The eight camera feed selection buttons at the bottom of the screen show a constant stream of “live” video footage now which makes the game much easier to play than the origina,l which only had static icons. (You still have the option to play it the old “hard-core” way if you prefer).
The revamp also boasts deleted scenes, a couple of short (but very interesting) documentaries about the making of the game and the scandal it caused along with a few other extras if you want to dig deeper into the game.
You can even play a “gotta chatch ‘em all” survivor mode which is honestly a bit pointless but it’s there if you feel the need.
When you’ve finished the game you’ll get the option to watch the scenes in a “theatre mode” and there’s also the original proof of concept title Scene of the Crime (a little FMV short) thrown in for you to enjoy if you manage to get the perfect ending in a play through of Night Trap.
Ham and Cheese
As far as the acting goes, this one has the cheese factor turned all the way up to 11, which is great. This isn’t a super serious art piece, it a supernatural teen thriller set in the eighties, the decade of cheese!
Hammy acting is a requirement and Night Trap definitely doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
It even stars Dana Plato, who played Kimberley in the TV show Diff’rent Strokes (If you’re not familiar with the show, don’t worry about it, just pat yourself on the back for being so young and move on).
If you do remember the show, you should Google the cast, its tragic reading, especially for Dana herself.