A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition is a re-release of the infamous game that helped lead to the creation of the ESRB ratings system. The game has mild amounts of violence as players use traps to capture monsters, who disappear in clouds of smoke and light. Failure to use them in time results in small amounts of blood being shown collected by monsters. The campy nature of the game footage prevents this from being too graphic. Many of the teenage girls wear tight clothes or bikini tops, and there's one scene where a girl has changed into a nightgown to go to sleep, but there's no focus on their clothing choices or objectification. Success relies on precise timing of button presses, which could frustrate some players.
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What's it about?
NIGHT TRAP 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION is a remastered version of the controversial game from 1992. Players are cast as an unnamed member of S.C.A.T., the Special Control Attack Team, as they investigate the mysterious disappearances of young girls around the Martin Family Winery. During its own investigations, the team discovers that there are a number of traps, cameras, and control systems scattered around the estate, prompting a larger investigation and takeover of the Martin house's gear with a hidden bus. Installing one of its agents undercover into a group of teenage girls, S.C.A.T. attempts to get to the bottom of the disappearances. Players will need to monitor the eight cameras scattered around the house, and use the traps in each location to ensure the safety of the girls while discovering what's going on. Eventually, the player discovers that there are vampires and vampire-like monsters around the winery, and it's up to the player to save as many of the girls as possible.
Is it any good?
This action game that was once so controversial is incredibly tame both in its content and its gameplay, especially in its new re-release. Night Trap 25th Anniversary Edition reproduces the original full-motion video (FMV) gameplay faithfully, clearing up the clunky presentation from the Sega CD with sharper playback, although it still carries over some of the film glitches of the original. That actually adds to its B-movie charm, which always stood out about the game in the first place. Whether it’s the shuffling, shabbily costumed "monsters," laughing at the broad overacting, or listening to Dana Plato plead for help, the schlock factor is high. The same can be said about the use of traps, although the challenge of precisely timing the trapping of the vampiric-like Augurs adds extra difficulty for players; you'll frequently need to abandon a plot point in one room to trap a monster or save someone, and you'll need to track the Martin family as they catch onto your takeover of the house and change trap color codes. If you miss their audio cue, you won't know what you have to adjust the system to, and you'll let too many monsters escape. This will keep you playing over and over again until you memorize the patterns for each scene. Players that spend the time to capture every monster will unlock extra content in the newly included section The Basement, such as hidden endings, a theater mode that shows every game scene, production art, and even The Scene of the Crime, the game that helped inspire Night Trap. It also comes with a director interview, as well as a documentary on the congressional furor it raised when it was initially released, leading to the creation of the ESRB.
The downside here is that the gameplay itself really isn't very long. In fact, a full gameplay session will literally run less than a half-hour from start to finish once you've gotten the hang of what's going on. There's no radically new content, and with the death of some of the actors, there's no possible expanded Night Trap content here either. On top of that, the gameplay is extremely tame, especially by today's standards. If you're expecting gore, sex, or some of the other things that were initially and mistakenly decried by Congress, you'll find much worse on TV today than you would in this game. The fact that this would literally be a tempest in a teacup today highlights how much standards change over time, and how this title is a tame, yet infamous, footnote in the history of gaming.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Compared to today's games, how violent does the content in Night Trap seem? Is it more complicated since the gameplay features footage of real people, or does the campy nature limit the impact?
Talk about the gameplay. Night Trap focused on full-motion video with real actors, but why do you think this kind of gameplay stopped being popular? Do you think games like this can bring its kind of play back?
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