I remember so long ago spinning up, literally, Night Trap on my Uncle's Sega CD and giving the game a play. I also remember being yelled at later for playing such a "disgusting" game and then subsequently hearing all of the other horrible things about it. Now we are 25 years after that and we are getting a remaster of the game from Screaming Villains on the PC and PS4. Night Trap is one of the titles out there that was responsible for the ERSB being formed so it feels right to give the game a review and see what I may have missed so long ago and to see how it all holds up over the years.
There are strange things going on at the Martin Winery Estate and the authorities need to find out what is going on. Another slumber party is going on for the weekend and now is the time to send in a hidden agent from the S.C.A.T. team to see if they can uncover anything. Thankfully for the girls, we are tasked with hacking into the house's security system to keep an eye and trap anything that could be causing the issues going on with the home. The issue of course being sickly vampires who do not have fangs and need to use an Auger to drain victims of blood. We have to catch them all!
Let us get this out there first, Night Trap was not a video game from the start and it was more of an interactive video with a few game elements mixed in. It looks like the team that brought this back to us understood that as they mixed in a new Survival Mode for this release that has us hopping between screens trying to catch Augers as they enter the house. Pretty much the core of Night Trap without the story. Also without a great explanation on what to do or when the "time is up" or "wave" starts. I found it to be an excuse to mash the buttons more than anything and hope that you catch all of the baddies.
Back to the core Night Trap though, as the next bit I found more than frustrating with it all was the fact that it can be almost impossible to follow the story that is unfolding around us in any kind of easy way. I am not griping on the difficulty of it all, but there are a few scenes that if you miss it will bring the whole experience to an end. Some of them happen while other events in Night Trap are going on. Pretty much you either have to be extremely quick with the buttons and know exactly when to hop around, or you have to actively sacrifice your progress just to see and hear it all. For something that is all about the story here, it seems wrong to force things in this way.
Lastly, and maybe this was a revamped choice but the new UI for the 2017 version of Night Trap seems to be lacking anything that helps the player know where they currently are or what other room they can switch too. The core mechanics of the game side of it all has you jumping between rooms to catch the ninja vampires or to hear codes that are being switched and can lock you out. In the original version of Night Trap the rooms were labeled so you can see where the next clip could be. Now they are all "live feeds" which are nice to see action you may be missing, but do not lend in any way to make sure you are in the correct room at the correct time you need to be there.
It enthralled me when I was younger and Night Trap did it again by doing something in video games that generally is not done. I love the idea of an interactive movie, and most video games are there at this point, but here we actually have well timed and planned events that we can interact with that give the feeling of interacting with live actors. It is honestly a design setup that I actually love even though it is much easier and more interactive with "digital actors" as they are now. Even in this age, Night Trap was able to bring me back into the fun we had with FMV as well as inspire me on how we can innovate in the genre and medium.
Moving along, while the visuals of Night Trap where never that amazing given that the game is 25-years old now, Screaming Villains did an amazing job on bring the best video quality from the 90s and also keep us grounded in "the game" side of it all. Instead of forcing everything to fit into a current 4K display, they set up a better UI and virtual desk for us to watch from. It seems like it would be something to ignore, but in the end they were able to obfuscate the lower quality video of Night Trap but still make this 90s title feel like something that could have been made today. I do wish that there were a few more indicators on which room you were currently watching, in matters, but nonetheless it was well done.
Last up here for this version of Night Trap that I loved was the fact that not only did the full game come to us, but it also came with all of the extras and insights of what caused such a stir around it all back in the day. Other video games out there come with behind the scenes looks and all of that, but for Night Trap it was used to create a whole organization to rate video games and there is no longer the misconceptions that parents spread to their children or how it was originally presented to the masses. Not to mention that the original Night Trap was treated as an AO title but is no releasing with more content as a T for Teen title. Let that sink in there…
As I said, to call Night Trap a video game would be doing it all a disservice. It is an interactive video/film that was greatly misunderstood 25 years ago. Take that in before you think about giving it all a go. Sure, there are now a few extra video game elements added in, but even then, you can hammer through one full play in under an hour. That of course is not the point of Night Trap here as it is better to look at as an experience that helped shape the industry we all now love even more. It is campy. It is cheesy. It is all that was the 90s at the time. It is worth at least some attention from you but more in the way of video game history than checking out Night Trap as a prolonged experience.
I give Night Trap 25th Anniversary Edition 94 Caught Augers on the Caught Augers scale.
Night Trap 25th Anniversary — Launch Trailer
Night Trap 25th Anniversary Edition was developed and published by Screaming Villains for the PS4 and PC on August 15th, 2017. A digital PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.