Game of the Week (10/2/16) – Night Trap

Full motion video games, or FMV’s for short, were all the (short lived) rage back in the early 90’s. CD technology had been around for a few years at this time in the music industry but now it was finally mainstream to the point where just about everyone had traded in their cassettes for CD’s by 1992. The same was becoming true for the video game industry as well. Cartridges were being touted as the technology of the past. In order to harness the true power of your video game consoles, you needed to slap a CD-ROM add-on and experience the additional graphical, video and sound capabilities it offered.

The Turbografx-16’s CD attachment beat Sega’s by two years but the Turbo CD was an add on for a relatively poor selling console. The Sega Genesis had sold millions of consoles by 1992 so there was a larger audience hungry to create their own Marky Mark music videos. Have I already mentioned that CD-ROM’s added video capabilities that cartridges didn’t? Oh I did didn’t I….well that’s what this week’s GOTW is all about. Full Fucking Motion Video.

Night Trap was a launch title for the Sega CD in the fall of 1992. The plot of the game involves a number of young women staying overnight in a house (B&B style) which happens to be run by a family of vampires. Dana Plato of Diff’rent Strokes fame, plays one of the young women staying over but she’s actually an undercover agent attempting to find answers to what happened to other women who went missing after staying at this same house. As the player, your job is to man the hidden cameras in each room of the house and set off traps to catch the Augers, or vampire lackey’s whos job is to capture and drain the blood of the women. The key is knowing which rooms to switch to at the right time in order to set off the traps while also understanding that the family of vampires are periodically changing the security code. If you don’t have the right security code set up when you’re attempting to set off a trap, it won’t work. If too many Augers take over the house or certain key members of the party die, the game is over.

For a FMV game, Night Trap isn’t too bad. Sure, there is pretty bad acting and even worse dialogue, but the gameplay can be fun if you know what you’re doing and eventually get the hang of where the Augers are going to be at certain times and knowing when to change the code. This requires a lot of repeat plays, which can make the game a bit repetitive until you’re able to move forward by mastering the early portions of the game. I guess that’s not too unusual for video games in general.

Night Trap features two versions for the Sega CD, the original uncensored version, which I have, or the censored version that removed some of the more “graphic” death scenes. Honestly, these graphic death scenes aren’t that gory compared to what we see today, but because the game uses real actors instead of pixels and sprites, parents were naturally more concerned with having their 12 year old play a game that shows a real-live actor get blood sucked out of her neck by a machine. You can thank this game for helping to usher in the ESRB ratings systems that all video games are subject to. There is also a version for the 32X/CD, with larger, clearer video than the regular Sega CD version. All copies of the 32X/CD version are the censored, post-controversy version of the game, however.

Rating: B-

Currently in my collection: Game with manual

Wish list add: 32X/CD version

 

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