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Trapt

Developer: Paon Corp | Publisher: Tecmo
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/01/05 | Genre: Survival Horror

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As the PS2's time with us begins to wane, it is surprising just how many good games continue to be released for the platform. One of the more unique games to recently hit the console is the thinking man's title Trapt. Trapt is another babefest brought to us by the fine folks at Tecmo. Now, you may be tempted to write the game off as some lame adventure game at first glance; however, once you get into it and begin toying with setting up the perfect death trap, you will see that there is more to the game than hot chicks and castles.

If there's one thing this game has taught me, it is this: you simply cannot, under any circumstances, trust women. The women of Trapt have got to be the most heinous, outrageous bunch of manipulative little tarts I've ever seen. To all the girls out there, these ladies are definitely not role-model material. The game begins as Princess Allura's father, King Olaf, is murdered right before her eyes. Allura's evil step mother calls the guards and tells them that Allura is in fact the culprit. While the whacked out Queen is obviously lying, the guards know no better and alas the Princess is forced to flee the scene, assisted by her maid, Rachel. Somehow, the pair end up in some old manor that is supposedly the place where the devil himself (called The Fiend in game) is said to be sealed.

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As it turns out, Allura is marked by The Fiend and as such, she is able to conjure up all sorts of nasty traps in order to vanquish any pursuers. The downside is that all the souls she sends packing are being devoured by our friend The Fiend so that he may break free from the sealed manor and take on a new body. They call that a raw deal, kids. Of course, setting up these traps is the real appeal of the game. At each stage of the game, you'll be put into some room, or series of rooms, and enemies will stalk you relentlessly until either you or they are dead. To set up traps, you bring up the in game menu and you are able to choose a floor trap, a ceiling trap and wall trap. You set these up on the map via a grid system. After you've set the traps up to your liking, you must lure enemies into them and spring them at just the right time. Floor traps are activated with the X button, wall traps with the circle and ceiling traps with the triangle.

In between stages, you can use wari (think money) to buy new traps and then select which traps you wish to take with you into the stage. You've got quite a selection too; Allura has access to buzzsaws, spears, giant iron balls, bombs, spring boards and even giant swinging axes. As if that weren't enough, the stages themselves feature some nice little doo-dads that you can use to your advantage when planting your traps. Whether it's a lovely iron maiden, a falling chandelier or giant spiked roller, they're all fair game. One of my favorites was to place a bear trap next to a tall pillar and set up a push wall on the opposite side. When an unsuspecting foe walked over the bear trap, they'd get caught, the push wall would activate, hit the pillar and send it toppling down on top of the victim.

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The game offers a few modes of play and some nice extra features. You can play normal story mode (which includes side stories) or go for a survival mode where you take on hordes of enemies without a chance to catch your breath. One of the coolest extra features is that the game tracks each enemy you've killed and even the manner in which they perished. In addition to this, every enemy in the game has a back story that you can read if you're so inclined.

As is almost always the case, despite the game's good qualities, it does have some problems that detract from the overall experience. In Trapt's case, the biggest problem is the enemy AI. I mean, ok, it is fun to set traps to spring on enemies, but ultimately you're just running around trying to lure the enemies into them. They don't exactly learn from their mistakes either. You can manipulate them to run over the same trap time and time again. This makes the game feel rather monotonous at times. However, it is worth noting that you will likely get out of the game what you decide to put into it. Sure, you can set the same trap over and over again to defeat enemies, but you probably won't have a lot of fun. If you actually get into things and try to think of the most devastating trap combos your demented mind can come up with, you will have a blast. The feeling of setting the perfect trap is sickly rewarding! You can't help but smile as the devastation plays out on screen.

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In the end, Trapt is a solid gameplay experience and definitely unique. While it can feel repetitive, and is on the very short side (about two and a half hours) it still is a game worth playing. In fact, I was pleased to see that it wasn't some daunting 10+ hour journey. It's a great game to unwind with at the end of the day. There are also multiple endings and unlockable content to keep you coming back. At the very least, this game is worth a rental, possibly more.

By Ryan Schaefer - 02/15/06
ESRB Details: Blood, Violence
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Screenshots for Trapt

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