The original Night Trap released in 1992 for the Sega CD. At the time I was only 5 years old, and as I grew older, the game always seemed to elude me. Part of the reason was that I never owned a Sega CD, Panasonic 3D0 or Sega 32X until just last year.
The other reason is my stubbornness to never buy a disc-based game unless it’s complete. Needless to say, I have always wanted to play it and I never had a real shot at it.
Night Trap is an interactive experience which uses full-motion video. You are a special agent that is tasked with surveillance duty as you watch a group of co-eds in a house. The girls are in danger from a bunch of weird vampire creatures. The actual game is very basic and repetitive as most full motion games were. You switch between camera angles and activate traps to capture the vampire creatures. Each trap you set triggers a different video scenario. As I type this article, the game doesn’t sound very exciting at all but, you have to understand this game’s history.
In 1993, Night Trap was the centre of attention at US Congress hearings. Along with Mortal Kombat, Night Trap had parents on edge about violence and sexual content in video games. It wasn’t every day that kids saw inadequately clothed women being kidnapped on their game consoles. Looking at the games we have today though, Night Trap is like a serving of soft serve ice cream. My how the times have changed. Nonetheless, it’s one of the things that lead to the ESRB or Entertainment Software Rating Board that is so prominent today.
This all took place during an infamous time in gaming history where Nintendo and Sega were in the heat of a console war. Sega was on fire and Nintendo was doing their best to keep things clean. It was during the 1993 hearings that then chairman of Nintendo Howard Lincoln stated that “Night Trap would never appear on a Nintendo console”. Fast forward to 2018, and Night Trap is announced for release on the Nintendo Switch.
This will be the second re-release of the game as Limited Run Games released 5,000 copies for the PlayStation 4 last year. I picked up a collector edition and Limited Run was nice enough to also send me a digital code.
Finally, I got my chance to see what the fuss was all about. It took me all of about 20 minutes to realize that Night Trap is not a good game. I do appreciate the cheesy 80s style video and costumes. I am a sucker for classic VHS style charm. I also appreciate developer Screaming Villains for reworking the game from the ground up. While the experience isn’t great, Night Trap will always have a special place in my heart.
All in all, Night Trap is a cult classic that sparked a real debate about content in video games. It will always be a nice part of video game history. Night Trap is set to go up for pre-order at Limited Run Games today. Unlike the PS4 release, there won’t be a release limit.