What would you do if you were stuck in a mansion, trying to survive execution for a crime you didn't commit? According to Tecmo, get possessed by a demon and rip the crap out of the guys after you, naturally. That’ll show them. Continuing the development studio’s love for the dark, moody and gothic, Trapt is a rather interesting action game that involves a unique puzzle twist.
Set in a suitably gothic medieval world, you play the role of framed Princess Allura, who is evading capture (and thusly, death) after the murder of her father – a killing that her 'German S&M' inspired stepmother blames her for. Fleeing with her maid Rachel, Allura discovers an abandoned mansion that she can hide in. Upon entering however she becomes cursed with a demon known only as the fiend, who turns her into a sorceress of traps. Using these traps, you can defeat the armies of soldiers who are hunting you down, and then sacrifice them to the fiend, making it stronger.
So she’s a trapper keeper then? Hyuck hyuck. Oh, that joke wasn’t funny when we said it the first time, and it’s not even funny in text. A shame, we were going to base the whole review on that. Mind you, what isn’t funny is the power of the traps themselves that you get to control. The game is broken down into missions – that are in turn broken down into little mini battles where you face various pursuers, from soldiers to magicians to even tramps. News of your possession must have gotten round, because it appears everyone wants a piece of Allura, be it for a reward for her capture or plainly to stop the fiend from sacrificing any more victims.
These battles take place in a room in the mansion, and you can do nothing but run away, avoid the enemy’s attack or place traps down. The traps are effectively your attack and defence, since you can’t do anything else. Hitting Circle will show an overhead view of the room you are in, with a grid covering it. You can then assign different traps to different face buttons. Triangle is used for executing traps from the ceiling, Square activates traps set in the walls and X is for floor traps. You get a choice of three of each type of trap, but you can only put down one ceiling, one wall and one floor trap at a time.
Once you’ve set them, markers will appear on the spots you placed each trap, but you’ll need to wait until they’re charged up before you can use them. Then it’s simply a case of luring your victims to the right spot and letting loose by pressing the button that corresponds to the trap. You can even do combos, where using one trap may lead to them being hit by another, and so on. It’s fun to experiment with the different traps till you get to make an unbeatable combination. We found that catching foes in a bear trap, impaling them on a wall of spikes and then having them smacked in the face by a rolling boulder can work wonders for your combo count – but not for your victim’s head, obviously.
The graphics are pretty good, with character models in the cut scenes being quite… voluptuous. Yes, let’s put it like that. The atmosphere and foreboding of the game is created effectively with moody browns and greys inside the mansion, and Allura almost an entire figure of white in contrast. An angel amidst all of the chaos surrounding her, if you want to get analytical.
Despite the fact she is possessed, she is still pretty much in control of herself but, understandably, doesn’t really want to be beheaded by her rather horrible stepmother Queen. A good natured girl, driven to murder simply to survive, yet at the same time feeding the very demon that is to bring destruction to the world. Not the best of situations to be in really is it?
The music is all very gothic as well and there’s a great selection of tunes that will keep you on your toes, while the Japanese dialogue during the cut scenes and in-game is quite emotional. Shame about those sub-titles mind. You can’t get more emotional for a bloke than your nads being shaved off by a zooming buzzsaw, and hearing your enemies groan in pain is almost illegally satisfying.