Being the hero is [[GoodIsBoring so dull]]. I mean... [[ItstheSameNowItSucks it's always the same]]: Grab your sword, run to the castle of evil, fight against the boss, [[VictoryIsBoring easily beat him]], save the world, everybody loves you, right?

Well, perhaps it's time to play from another angle. [[EvilIsCool After all, playing for the other team has its benefits, too.]]

In 1996, for the Sony PlayStation, Tecmo released ''[[InCaseYouForgotWhoWroteIt Tecmo's]] Deception: Invitation to Darkness'', which, while not a smash success by any stretch of the imagination, allowed the player to do something not often seen in video games: [[EvilFeelsGood play as the bad guy]]. The goal of the story was to resurrect {{Satan}}, and instead of doing so with direct combat, you utilized a series of [[DeathTrap deadly traps]] that you placed throughout your castle. The game did well enough to spark a small series.

The series in general follows the same pattern, with you having to protect your castle [[ExcusePlot for one reason or another]], with {{Death Trap}}s and gizmos. The biggest selling points in general is the same: play from an unusual point of view (the TrapMaster) and kill your enemies in [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential gruesome ways]]. In most of them you are plain evil, but some of them try leave you in a more ambiguous position, where [[BlackAndGreyMorality it's not clear which side is the good one]]. This actually makes the experience stronger, as one is not sure if what you are doing is right or wrong.

The Deception games consist of:
#''Tecmo's Deception: Invitation to Darkness'' (''Kokumeikan'') -- Released in July, 1996. As a [[HelloInsertNameHere nameless]] prince of Zemekia, the player has been framed for the murder of the king by his brother Yurias in a bid for the throne, and he is spirited away by a demoness named Astarte to make a DealWithTheDevil to get his revenge.

#''Kagero: Deception II'' (''Kagero: Kokumeikan Shinsho'') -- Released in July, 1998. A girl named Millennia is caught up as a MeatPuppet in a power struggle between the [[BlueBlood Time]][[{{Immortality}} noids]] and the humans over whom they reign.

#''Deception III: Dark Delusion'' (''Soumatou'') -- Released in December, 1999. A girl named Reina has been abducted, along with her family, to be sold into slavery in a neighboring kingdom. She is freed by a rebel faction and must decide whose side she is on.

#''VideoGame/{{Trapt}}'' (''Kagero II: [[GratuitousEnglish Dark Illusion]]'') -- Released in June, 2005. Princess Allura has been framed for the murder of her father and flees to a dark castle to escape execution, and while there, a demon offers her a chance for revenge.

#''Deception IV: Blood Ties'' (''Kagero: Darkside Princess'') -- Released in March, 2014. Centered around a girl named Laegrinna, an "animated fragment of the imprisoned Devil's soul", she operates under the guidance of three servants: [[EvilRedhead Veruza]], Caelea, and [[CuteAndPsycho Lilia]].

Demonstrating how inviolate TheWikiRule is, the series now has a fledgling wiki [[http://deceptionseries.wikia.com/wiki/TRAPEDIA:Tecmo%27s_Deception,_Kagero:_Deception_II,_Deception_III:_Dark_Delusion,_T%D0%AFAPT here]].
!!This series provides examples of:

* ActionGirl: Curiously, female [=PCs=] outnumber the males four to one.
* ALighterShadeOfGrey: Especially prevelant in Deception 4, where the holders of the twelve verses are all rather evil. They range from a corrupt mercenary, to a psychopathic nun.
* AerithAndBob: While some characters have normal names, such as Gordon, the series also has some truly ridiculous names, such as Goatbone, Scuba, Loongear, and others, too numerous to list.
* AnAdventurerIsYou: Or rather, the invaders are adventurers. Each game in the series has a different set of classes the invaders can be comprised of, each of whom have different attacks and react to traps in their own ways.
* AndYourRewardIsClothes: Allura can unlock costumes that let her dress as Millennia and Reina.
* [[HeroicMime Antiheroic Mime]]: The player-character in ''Invitation to Darkness'', Millennia.
* TheAtoner: Possible for the player, if the correct {{Dialogue Tree}}s and courses of action are so chosen throughout the games.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Red Dragon summoned monster. It does tremendous damage to multiple foes, but it's so large that it usually cannot fit into rooms in the castle, plus one of its components is rare.
* TheBackwardsR: The cover art spells the fourth game's title as ''TЯAPT''.
* BananaPeel: An actual trap offering; it performs just how you expect.
* BigDamnHeroes: Inverted; these guys (generally) are your ''enemies''.
* BlindIdiotTranslation
** For example, ugh, [[LetsPlay Goatbone]].
* BlackComedy: Quite a bit. For instance, in Chapter 3 of ''Invitation to Darkness'', you kill a family who are coming to collect a bounty on you for an operation to save their child.
* BlueBlood: Both literally and figuratively in ''Kagero''. The Timenoids are a race of beings with blue skin who rule over humans.
* BonusBoss: Pretty much any gaiden character in ''Trapt'', but especially the final bosses of each path: Millennia (trap-tripper) and Kendal (creates illusions), each more inexplicable than the last. (That last one is very [[GainaxEnding "Congratulations"-y]].)
* BoringButPractical: The vase traps. They're what will net you your highest combos early on, especially if you never repeat yourself in a combo.
* BurnTheWitch: ''Invitation to Darkness'' starts with the player-character being burned at the stake for murdering his father.
* CameBackWrong: [[spoiler:Fiana if Wizbone kills her and you accept Astarte's offer.]]
* TheCameo: Suezo from ''VideoGame/MonsterRancher'' appears in ''Kagero'' as an unlockable trap. Previously, Ardebaran from ''Invitation to Darkness'' appeared in a ''Monster Rancher'' game as a secret monster.
* CastFromLifespan: In ''Deception III,'' this is the price for using traps too much--you'll wind up killing yourself eventually. Unfortunately Reina doesn't have any choice because a whole lot of people keep trying to kill her.
* ChargeMeter: Traps in the sequels must recharge between uses, but can otherwise by used indefinitely.
* ClassAndLevelSystem: ''Blood Ties'' awards experience for Elaborate, Sadistic and Humiliating traps independently, to be used for unlocking more traps in that category. It's in your best interest to try and balance them, though.
* ClothingDamage: Deception IV: Blood Ties has this feature where attacking armored enemies with the right kind of attack (different for each one) causes their armor to be blasted off, leaving them in their underwear (and vastly reducing their life gauge). Female armored enemies are usually wearing some kind of string bikini underneath.
* {{Combos}}: Introduced to the series in ''Kagero'' to fantastic effect. Chain together more traps and receive more points.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: in ''Blood Ties'', Elaborate traps are blue, Sadistic traps are red, and Humiliating traps are yellow. Even the patron Daemon of each method dresses appropriately!
* ContentWarnings: ''Invitation to Darkness'' only garnered a T rating from the ESRB, but it includes a separate blurb on the jewel case noting the satanic elements of the storyline.
* ContinuityNod: Each game takes place in its own little universe. However, one of ''Kagero'''s endings implies that Millennia [[spoiler:would go on to become Astarte.]] Also, Ardebaran's mask appears in ''Kagero'' as an unlockable trap.
* CostumeCopycat: A lookalike of Fiana is brought in to try and reason with you, but it turns out to be a trap. Subverted in that you can check your map, [[GenreSavvy see the trap ahead of time and disable it]].
* DamageDiscrimination: Averted; you can get caught in your own traps or by environmental objects if you're not paying attention.
* DeathTrap: The entire point of the series.
** AnnoyingArrows / ArrowsOnFire
** BottomlessPits
** DescendingCeiling
** ElectricTorture: Water conducts it very well!
** GiantHandsOfDoom / GiantFootOfStomping
** PitTrap
** RocksFallEveryoneDies
** SpikesOfDoom
* DePower: In Deception IV, the armour-breaking mechanic might be this. Enemies in armour, not only take less damage from any attacks that don't bypass defense, they also have total immunity to certain attack types such as boulder drops. If you manage to break the armour of an enemy, they lose all the benefits including the immunities.
* DolledUpInstallment: They were only a "series" in the loosest sense in Japan. In the US, they're a consistently named series... up until ''Kagero 2'', which was the first straight-out sequel in Japan.
* DrosteImage: The mirror in ''Invitation to Darkness''.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: ''Invitiation to Darkness'' is almost completely different from its successors, and it made use of [[ArtEvolution gouraud-shaded]], SuperDeformed polygons similar to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' while the sequels would opt to go with straight texture-mapping and proportions.
* EasterEgg: Rename Millennia "Astarte" and you start with some extra Ark to spend.
* EliteMooks: The Hellknights from Deception III are this trope. These guys are almost indestructible - taking only 1 point of damage from anything that doesn't ignore protection, they're immune to the effects of the summon ring, they have a long distance rush attack where they practically fly at you and a single swipe from their scythe will rip out large chunks of your health. A last kicker is they can also teleport. Most bosses in the game aren't even close to matching the deadliness of a Hellknight.
* EnemyScan: Each game lets you check out the statistics of invaders before you enter into combat with them.
* EquipmentBasedProgression: ''Invitation to Darkness'' has a leveling system whose only real purpose is to unlock new breeds of trap and monsters for you to research (the stats in that game mean very little overall). The sequels focus strictly on traps and forging new ones from old templates.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Princess Fiana and Princess [[strike:Alicia]] Allura. Laegrinna might count as well, given how her daemons keep referring to her as hime-sama.
* TheEvilPrince: Yurias.
* EvilSorcerer: Several, notably Zamur in ''Invitation to Darkness'' and Deadmoon in ''Kagero''.
* ExperiencePoints: Only in the first game, both for yourself and for your monsters.
* FateWorseThanDeath: The fourth game allows you to capture weakened enemies in cages danging in some of the rooms. Lilia's joy when you do this makes it clear this is not a mercy.
* FunWithAcronyms: For whatever reason, "Timenoid" is shortened down to "TMD". "AUO" in ''Dark Delusion'' stands for [[http://www.accessup.org/pj/6_C4D5B2B0/i20050719.html Alendar Umbral Operations]], although this is never mentioned in the game.
* FragileSpeedster: You can't attack directly, the enemy can inflict truly devastating status ailments (often via guided projectiles too!!!) and after Deception 1, your own character is only a shade more enduring than the baseline grunts in the early levels. So it's a good thing that few enemies can keep up to your character when she starts running and you have the abililty to roll away from an attack - the closest the enemy have are the agile characters like ninjas and thieves jumping away from a limited set of traps. Just be careful, some enemies have a rush attack that's more like low altitude flight and certain bosses can have ones that can almost reach the end of a room.
* FriendlyFireProof: Played straight with the enemy amongst each other, someone who accidentally gets an arrow from his buddy will take no damage from it. Brutally averted by your own traps, they're just as dangerous to you as they are to your enemies. Especially amusing is watching your girl grab her crotch and crumple in a heap after getting dinged by the Delta Horse.
* GaidenGame: Judging by ''Deception IV'', ''Trapt'' is officially this now in the overseas "canon".
* GenreShift: First-person RPG for the first game to third-person action-RPG for the sequels.
* GreenLanternRing: The magical stone which allows Reina to control traps in ''Dark Delusion''.
* GroinAttack: The Delta Horse trap. A steel-plated wooden horse that shoots out of the ground at rocket speed, agony and torture for both sexes. Extra points for cutting through the defense stat and no enemy having any immunity or resistance to it. Enemies killed by the Delta Horse have their deaths described as "...humiliated by the Delta Horse".
* HealThyself: Special gem-like "loons" can restore the player-character's health to full once per chapter in the sequels. ''Invitation to Darkness'' uses more traditional medical herbs and antidotes. In Deception IV, Laegrinna can learn to heal herself up to 3 times per battle. Some bosses can do the same, which greatly increases the length of a fight.
* HelloInsertNameHere: Reina, who can be renamed (like every game's protagonist), is referred to exclusively in chapter summary screens as "the heroine". This is in text, mind you.
* HideYourChildren: Averted. The Psychic class of invader is made up of young girls, and Reina's little brother is murdered by Miguel during a FadeToBlack moment.
* HumanResources: Used in ''Invitation to Darkness'' either to collect gold, restore the ManaMeter, or to harvest the actual ''bodies'' to create monsters.
* HumiliationConga: All the games have traps that hurt the victim's pride more than their health. ''Blood Ties'' has Humiliating Demise as an entire trap category, and Lilia will love it if an invader whacks themselves with a garden rake, slips on a banana peel, gets a pumpkin mask dropped on their head, then stumbles into a cannon that shoots them circus-style into a dangling cage.
* IdenticalGrandson: [[spoiler:The player-character in ''Invitation to Darkness'' shares ancestry and the same name with one of the Legendary Braves.]]
* AnInteriorDesignerIsYou: You can add rooms to the Castle of the Damned in the first game, though you cannot subtract any that were there from the start.
* InsistentTerminology: The third game always refers to [=TRAPs=] in all capitals, for some reason.
* TheJoysOfTorturingMooks: The primary purpose of the games is to create incredibly elaborate ways to kill your enemies.
* KillItWithFire: It helps if you douse the invader with oil first.
* LadyOfBlackMagic: Astarte.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading
* MadeASlave: Millennia; was supposed to happen to Reina and her family, but her mother and brother were murdered, and Reina herself was rescued from prison.
* MalevolentArchitecture
* MedievalMorons: Villagers and other peasant-types show up to your lair for various reasons (such as being dragooned into it by mercenary thugs) even at some surprisingly late stages in the game. Mostly there as black comedy relief as you kill them with ease in some particularly choice method.
* MonsterClown: One of these is responsible for kidnapping Millennia as a child and taking her to the Timenoids.
* MoreDakka: Chaos Needle and Gatling Arrow traps can fire 5 shots at a rapid pace. They don't do much damage, especially to enemies with high defense, but they do provide an easy multi-hit combo. Unfortunately for you, some enemies have this as well and can shoot a painful series of projectiles that are guaranteed to hit if you get pegged by the first one.
* MostDefinitelyNotAnImpostor: ''3'' and ''Trapt'' both include some schmo-ette pretending to be the evil queen, seeking your help. Fails the smell-test both times, not that that means you can't accept.
* MultipleEndings: Never fewer than three, for all four games.
* NewGamePlus
* OddlyNamedSequel: ''Trapt'' is the worst offender, but if it wasn't for the [[NumberedSequel numbering]] in the first three, few people would know they were related at first glance.
* PerversePuppet: Magic Dolls.
* PlayedForLaughs: Some of the traps cause comedic effects, such as a vase falling on someone's head or a rotating floor that throws off their balance.
* PlotCoupon: The [[strike:five]] six demonic artifacts needed to resurrect the Devil. The fourth game has the 12 Holy Verses that serve the same purpose.
* PowerTattoo: The one on Millennia's back.
* PuzzleBoss: Expert Mode in ''Dark Delusion''.
* RepeatCut: Brief instant replays of the moment a trap connects with an invader; they can be switched on or off.
* RestingRecovery: Building a bedroom allows this in the first game, but you can still be attacked while using the bed.
* RubeGoldbergDevice and RubeGoldbergHatesYourGuts: You can chain your traps in sequence to maximise lethality, and some enemies need to get hit multiple times, requiring you set them up for takedowns.
* SayMyName: "Marco? Marco?! Marco! MARCO!"
** '''POLO!'''
* ScrewThisImOutofHere: Some of the more cowardly enemies will try to escape from your lair if they lose over half their life bar. They'll even have a cut-scene saying something to this effect if they successfully leave.
* SchizoTech: In Deception IV, enemies range from girls carrying bows and arrows to enemies in armour out of Halo or Killzone who are carrying gas guns and energy rifles. One boss, a deranged nun even boasts of carrying a gun given by God (and it sure hits like it too!!!).
* SealedEvilInACan: And you're the one working to break said seal.
* ScratchDamage: In Deception III later enemies have defense so high that a lot of low damage traps will do only a single point of damage. Arrow traps are especially hard hit by this since many of them only do damage rather than move an enemy around or hold them. Some enemies will actually take only one point of damage even from your hardest-hitting traps, so low-damage multi-hit traps become better than hitting with a single Spike Ball. Later games don't have enemies with such ridiculously high defense, this keeps your old traps from going obsolete and allows you to use a wider variety of traps.
* SequelTheOriginalTitle: ''Kagero''.
* SpoiledByTheManual: [[spoiler:Fiana]] coming back as a monster.
* StandardStatusEffects
* [[DubNameChange Subtitle Name Change]]: The change from "Alicia" to "Allura" was strictly in the text. The voice acting still very obviously uses "Alicia".
* SuicidalOverconfidence: Played straight with most invaders, but a few will realize what they're up against and make efforts to escape. Whether they succeed or not can possibly change the storyline.
* SummonMagic: Only available in ''Invitation to Darkness'', the player-character can call forth special monsters which damage invaders. What's scary is that one of them is possibly [[spoiler:Princess Fiana]] depending on how you play.
* SupernaturalElite: In the second game, humans are basically second-class to a nobility consisting of 'Timenoids' - blue-skinned immortals. As the player, you are initially a slave to the Timenoids, but eventually, you must decide whether to help them brutally suppress an emerging human uprising, help LaResistance destroy the Timenoid elite, or just KillEmAll.
* TalkingIsAFreeAction: Even when they're out for your blood, when an enemy invader finds you, time will gladly stop around you to give them a chance to say what they need to.
* ATasteOfPower: The first game lets you utilize Volt Cages to capture Ardebaran and Idorigo (and optionally Doneal). You don't get access to such traps again until Chapter 11, and even then you have to spend gold to '''create''' new ones.
* TimedMission: Several chapters throughout the series.
* TooLongDidntDub: "Kagero", which means "mirage".
* ToplessnessFromTheBack: The title screen of the second game.
* TrainingDummy: The hapless invader in ''Dark Delusion'''s Free Training Mode.
* TrapMaster: The player characters, and an occasional NPC.
* UnwittingPawn: [[spoiler: Typically, it turns out the main character is being manipulated. Often by [[GambitPileup various sources]], to differing ends.]]
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: The '''other''' entire point of the series.
** Explicitly personified in ''Blood Ties''. Laegrinna's three accomplices rate your kills in three terms -- Sadistic Torment, Elaborate Death, and Humiliating Demise. Each of them offer optional objectives based on their respective virtues.
* VillainProtagonist: Each and every main character holds an explicitly evil power and spends most of their time ruthlessly slaughtering anybody unlucky enough to enter their homes. Later protagonists end up in a more morally gray area, but none of them are ever close to being heroes.
** And right back to being totally evil with ''Deception IV'', where the protagonist is literally the daughter of the devil himself and has no goal other than to kill people. 3 and Trapt's protagonists had the excuse of simply trying to survive using their weird powers. [[spoiler:In IV however, if you choose to spare Celia, this leads to an ending where Laegrinna and Celia end up using the Devil's power to make the world a better place.]]
* WhatMeasureIsAMook: The games often go to some bother to make it clear that you're not killing anonymous mooks, but ''people'', with actual names, backstories and personalities. The [[{{Narm}} terrible acting]] keeps this from having the effect Tecmo was going for, however.
** Less so in ''Blood Ties'', where the [[TooLongDidntDub Japanese-only voice acting]] makes the delivery matter more than words.