I picked up the game Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition pretty much on a whim when it was on sale on the Switch eShop. I was intrigued by its use of video and its reputation as being something of a cult classic, so I decided to check it out despite its mixed reception.

I didn't really know anything about the game other than a little bit about how it stirred up a lot of controversy on its release, apparently for "promoting gratuitous violence and sexual aggression against women". It turns out the game is a campy take on a horror B movie and features nubile teenage girls looking forward to a fun weekend in a house with many secrets. The gameplay itself is very similar to the Five Nights at Freddy's game in that you're tasked with monitoring an array of video cameras and you have to press a button at the right time to trap baddies who pop up all around the house. I found the game to be good fun, and from today's perspective everything is so cheesy and the violence is so cartoony that it's hard to imagine how it could have traumatized any video game playing children of the time of its release in 1992 on Sega CD. In terms of beating the game you basically have to memorize (or take notes about) which locations baddies appear at and at which times, and there are certain key moments you have to catch where the characters converse about changing the active color code of the alarm system.

Apparently there are quite a few endings, and this special edition has an array of unlockables based on getting all the endings and triggering other specific events in the game. I didn't bother with any of that, and completing the game will take you at least several playthroughs. A full playthrough only takes about half an hour, and beating the game should only take you a few hours. You'll get a game over if you let too many baddies slip by or if you fail to save any of the characters, but the game has a handy restart system if you get about halfway through. Since you're only catching snatches of dialogue here and there, even when you're forced to restart the experience is a little different every time since you're focusing your attention on different parts of the house all the time.

Overall I actually enjoyed the game, although the "young teenage girls as victims" trope is somewhat problematic in this day and age (although to be fair, there are a couple of male victims thrown in the mix as well, and we're left to assume that the majority of the baddies you're tasked with defeating are male). The gameplay is novel and the story has some funny twists, and the game doesn't overstay its welcome (it also features a banger of a theme song, haha). I kind of like campy B movie stuff and don't mind simplistic gameplay, but more demanding gamers will probably want to skip this one.


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