Home Alone meets Slum­ber Party

GAX (Malaysia) - - GAX / REVIEW - By

The re­turn of a cult clas­sic

When it was re­leased in 1992, Night Trap stirred quite a con­tro­versy, spark­ing a de­bate around vi­o­lence in video games, which would even­tu­ally cul­mi­nate with the es­tab­lish­ment of the En­ter­tain­ment Soft­ware Rat­ings Board (ESRB). De­spite be­ing a pi­o­neer in its time for the use of full mo­tion video, the game re­ceived ire from the U.S. Con­gress for pro­mot­ing re­al­is­tic vi­o­lence and sex­ual ag­gres­sion against women. As a re­sult, Night Trap was pulled from the shelves, seal­ing its place in video game his­tory as a cult clas­sic.

25 years later, the game is back with an an­niver­sary edi­tion, remastered in all its glory. In spite of all its no­to­ri­ety in the early 90’s, Night Trap is tame com­pared to to­day’s more graphic and gory ti­tles, if not more amus­ing. Play­ing out like a B-grade slasher hor­ror Night Trap puts play­ers in the shoes of a mem­ber of the ill-named S.C.A.T. (Spe­cial Con­trol At­tack Team), tasked with pro­tect­ing a group of girls in a home be­sieged by mys­te­ri­ous crea­tures known as Augers.

It is a sim­ple premise that is essentially a ‘Choose Your Ad­ven­ture’ ti­tle at heart: play­ers watch over a se­ries of eight CCTV sur­veil­lance cam­eras around a man­sion, and ac­ti­vate a se­ries of traps to cap­ture and pre­vent the Augers from harm­ing the girls. What un­folds on-screen de­pends on how suc­cess­ful play­ers are in trig­ger­ing the traps in the right rooms at the right time. Fail too many times at trap­ping the Augers, and it’s game over.

Voyeurism made easy

The 2017 re­lease is a mas­sive im­prove­ment over ear­lier it­er­a­tions; the video qual­ity is a lot cleaner, and the CCTV in­ter­face now runs in real time, en­abling you to watch the ac­tion un­fold in all rooms at the same time. This makes watch­ing the move­ments of the girls and the Augers in the house eas­ier than be­fore, but more than just catch­ing bad­dies, play­ers also have to pay at­ten­tion to cer­tain scenes for changes in se­cu­rity color code. For­get to do so, and the traps will stop work­ing at some point. So, while it’s im­por­tant to stop the Augers, it’s also key to fol­low the drama.

Clock­ing in at nearly half an hour of game­play, Night Trap may seem aw­fully short, but play­ers are likely to fail in the they get used to the sys­tem. This even­tu­ally means tog­gling be­tween rooms and launch­ing traps on auto-pi­lot, which causes Night Trap to lose some of its charm and soul, which is a shame con­sid­er­ing there’s much to be ap­pre­ci­ated from its campy hu­mor.

With mul­ti­ple end­ings, there’s also a lot of re­playa­bil­ity, although the rep­e­ti­tion af­ter awhile. Ex­tra modes like Sur­vivor add some chal­lenge, while bonus ma­te­rial lets you see the en­tire ‘movie’ from start to end, play the 1986 pro­to­type that in­spired the game, as well as watch a doc­u­men­tary on the con­tro­versy that led to the ESRB. Re­gard­less, Night Trap is not for every­body, and while fans and 90’s kids will love the nos­tal­gia, mod­ern gamers be up their al­ley.

This is like the Un­til Dawn of the 90’s, ex­cept with FMVs and B-grade camp.

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