“Night Trap will never appear on a Nintendo system.” Howard Lincoln, President NOA
Night Trap certainly has a level of infamy surrounding it, sitting alongside the likes of Mortal Kombat as one of those shocking videogames that were warping children’s minds back in the early 90s.
Unlike the other title, Night Trap was probably not much of a threat to many back in the day due to its exclusivity on the ill-fated Sega CD – a console which had few games and fewer owners.
25 years later, the title finally saw the light of day on modern systems with the Night Trap 25th Anniversary Edition.
Is the youth of today ready for this shocking abomination?
PULL THE AUGER ONE
After five teenage girls disappear at the Martin Winery Estate, the Sega Control Attack Team investigate and discover a series of elaborate traps scattered around the household – but no evidence. Suspecting foul play, the S.C.A.T. squad send in five more teenage girls, including their own inside operative Kelli. With her on the inside and you taking control of the house’s traps, you need to keep them safe and find out what’s going on.
As Augers, pseudo-vampiric beings that feast on blood, close in, the girls rely on you to protect them before they become the next victims. These hunters of young girls formed the basis of the controversy back in the day, but in reality it’s all very PG. With the goofy traps and the goofier looking Augers, it’s more reminiscent of Home Alone than some seedy video nasty.
What sets the game apart from most FMV games, however, is that the storytelling is somewhat unusual; as you control the cameras, video scenes will be playing in certain rooms – often at the same time – meaning that you’ll miss a lot of the story when you initially play, but will piece together more and more with each playthrough to fill in the gaps. You get enough of the story to understand the gist, but replays will reward you with the full story of everything going on.
FIVE GIRLS AT FREDDY’S
Taking control of the CCTV feed, your objective is to switch between feeds searching for the Augers as they sneak in. It’s a bit like Five Nights At Freddy’s, except nowhere near as obnoxious.
Footage on the screens is pretty clear, allowing you to flick between story scenes and Auger scenes fairly easily. Augers can be hard to spot at times, leading to failed opportunities, but the game’s short length means that such moments are easily memorised.
With Augers in sight, you merely have to wait for them to line up with the room’s trap (indicated by a handy flashing light) and hit the button…
… And that’s basically the game. Obviously the focus is on the plot and the surprisingly good acting for a 90s FMV game. There are moments where you need to make sure not to trap someone, or listen out for a change in the security key colour, but these are pretty infrequent compared to the rest.
Such a short story game is a pretty hard sell to many people, especially as it’s designed with a pretty niche audience in mind. However, the game attempts to boost its appeal with the special features on offer.
There are documentaries surrounding the game, unlockable scenes in the theatre that allow you to get the whole story, and even the prototype game that spawned the idea – a game that functions in a similar way, but the different location and plot makes it essentially a whole extra game to experience.
The game price already isn’t particularly expensive considering the content on offer, but the game frequently drops to a mere couple of euros making it an essential piece of history.
Night Trap has a reputation that it really does not deserve. Far from being the game that will destroy all humanity, it’s actually a pretty tame tale more akin to Home Alone than A House by the Cemetery. It’s non-traditional storytelling may put off many, as will the minimalistic gameplay, but this is still a curiosity that goes on sale for such a cheap price that everyone should give it a shot at some point. Heck maybe you’ll even be like me and actually really like it!