Night Trap is the game that defined how games are rated for content. Sega CD owners and ’90s kids will no doubt remember the controversial game that almost seems tame by today’s standards. Night Trap was a title based on the thin premise of a girl’s slumber party being raided by deadly goons. Your goal was to prevent the deaths of all the good characters and defeat the bad guys. It was a slasher movie made for gamers, and somehow it managed to change the industry entirely.
The way this game is played is incredibly difficult if you have no previous experience or walkthrough handy. In Night Trap, you man the controls of basically what boils down to a booby-trapped house filled with young women, vampires and masked thugs. You switch between rooms every few seconds to try and bounce between the plot and the times when the invading masked killers stalk the halls. When you see the level monitor in the lower right corner of the screen reach red, you hit the trap button and take out the goons until the house is safe.
The controls for Night Trap can be very aggravating. This game takes a lot of multitasking to get it right. Much like games that have come since Night Trap requires you to jump from room to room at the exact right time and press the controls with near perfect precision. The style of gameplay is like a cross between the classic Don Bluth produced game Dragon’s Lair and the more current ongoing series Five Nights at Freddy’s. To get the timing just right, multiple attempts to beat the game are required. The quickest route is to go at it with a detailed walkthrough which basically has you following the script more than anything else.
Night Trap and Mortal Kombat are basically the games that put the United States video game censorship standard into place. Senate hearings were conducted in the early ’90s to condemn the game and have it removed from shelves due to its graphic content. Honestly, the game is no more brutal or scary than any slasher movie of the late ’80s, but since video games were still considered to be kid’s stuff back then, this game was targeted more than any other title that came before it.
Despite the controversy surrounding Night Trap, the game is still fun and super cheesy when you defeat the ghoulish auger characters, and the reveal at the end that the bad guys were all blood sucking vampires makes the whole thing seem ridiculous and really funny. It’s a classic title that’s worth revisiting for the sake of nostalgia with friends during a sleepover. You’ll have the time of your life.
Take a look at our previous “Remembering” where we examine the overlooked classic Splatterhouse.