If you can overlook its technical deficiencies, you might enjoy Trapt on some level, if only because there's nothing quite like it currently available.
- Sadistic fun to be had by leading clueless enemies into various traps
- Plenty of traps and rooms to play around with.
- Story is fairly short and almost unintelligible due to poor translation
- Enemies are almost too dumb sometimes
- The frame rate comes grinding to a halt whenever traps are activated.
Tecmo's latest adventure game, Trapt, may have the same name as the lackluster nu metal band that brought us the unremarkable song "Headstrong," but thankfully the two properties aren't at all related. Trapt the game combines common survival horror themes with puzzle-based gameplay. Although it isn't quite like anything you've played this generation, Trapt isn't entirely new. In fact, this game is part of a series known as Kagero: Deception (later shortened to Deception), which saw three installments on the original PlayStation. Whether or not you've played any of those games, you should check out Trapt if you're looking for something different and are willing to forgive a few technical shortcomings. At $50, though, this one is best left as a weekend rental.
You can pick up the basics of the story in Trapt, but it will probably make much more sense if you speak Japanese, because you'll have the benefit of understanding the dialogue rather than having to rely on the terribly translated subtitles. Either way, the storyline centers on Princess Allura, who is framed for killing her father. You take control of the princess as she flees the castle to evade pursuers and to figure out what's really going on. As it turns out, the princess is possessed by a demon known creatively as Fiend. This demon gives her the ability to use all kinds of medieval traps to kill people and take their souls to feed to him. There are some twists and turns later in the story, but for the most part it's pretty difficult to follow, thanks to an odd cast of poorly developed characters that seem to fade in and out of the story without having any discernible impact on the events in the game. There is a ton of dialogue in the game, delivered during the frequent and overwrought cutscenes that occur before and after each story mission. In the end, you won't really care about any of the characters or underdeveloped plotlines; you'll just want to get to the gameplay.
The gameplay in Trapt is a lot of fun. The game plays like a high-stakes version of Home Alone. You play as the helpless Princess Allura, who can't do anything but run around and set traps. In each mission, you begin in a room with as many as two enemies who will slowly chase you and attack every once in a while. Right away, you can press the circle button to pause the action and bring up a map of the room, complete with a handy grid overlay to help you lay out your traps. You can equip nine different traps before battle, three traps in each category. The trap categories are wall traps, floor traps, and ceiling traps. Wall traps include such traps as spikes that shoot out of a wall to spear enemies. Floor traps are set on the floor, like bombs or bear traps. Ceiling traps fall down from the ceiling, like giant metal balls that crush people, or vases that fall on enemies' heads and blind them.
You can set up these traps anywhere you like in the room, but your options depend on the layout of the room. Once you have your traps set, they'll take a few seconds to charge up and become usable. Some traps take longer to charge than others, but most don't take longer than five or six seconds. Once they're active, you'll see a translucent colored icon where you placed the trap. When you lure an enemy within range of a trap, you can hit the assigned button to activate the trap, and if you time it right, the enemy will take damage. Once you kill four or five enemies this way, you'll complete the level.
It sounds simple because it is, but there are a few factors that throw in a bit of a twist. You can set up traps in such a way that an enemy will get hit by several traps at once. For example, you can set a magnet wall trap to hold an enemy in place, and then drop an iron ball on his or her head. When you catch an enemy in multiple traps at once, you'll get a combo bonus, which gives you more money to purchase new traps between missions. You can also combine your own traps with traps that already exist within the room you're playing in. In one room you can set a vacuum floor trap to hold an enemy in place, then hit a switch to drop a chandelier on his or her head. Or, you can set a smash panel trap to flip an enemy into the air, causing him or her to get impaled on a candlestick and catch on fire. If you can figure out how to use them, the room devices can be much more powerful than any traps you might have. Of course, you can get hurt by all the traps in the game, so you have to be careful where you're running.
Some enemies are immune to certain traps, which is something to keep in mind when equipping traps before each mission. For instance, some enemies are resistant to fire, and others are too quick to be tripped up by certain floor traps. You can study up on each enemy's strengths and weaknesses between missions, which is handy. For the most part, though, it isn't difficult to crush, burn, and impale any enemies you might come up against.
If you're having a hard time laying out your traps effectively, you can run to another room and set up the traps all over again. Extra rooms can be unlocked by spending money between missions, and some rooms are more conducive to certain types of traps. In story mode most of the rooms are pretty nondescript castle settings, but occasionally you'll find some truly treacherous areas that let you get really creative with the way you set traps.