Video Game / Night Trap

Night Trap is a Full Motion Video game by Digital Pictures. It was created (well, filmed) in the mid-80s and was originally intended to be released on Hasbro's videotape-based game console, the NEMO. However, the NEMO was never released, and the game debuted in 1992 on the Sega CD. In 1994, it arrived on the Sega 32X, 3DO, IBM Personal Computer, and Apple Macintosh. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, it is set to be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2017, complete with a limited physical run which mimics the Sega CD box art.

You are a member of a special task force (S.C.A.T.: Sega/Special Control Attack Team) currently investigating a missing persons case. A number of teenage girls have mysteriously vanished after entering a suburban house belonging to the Martin family. The Martins claim that the girls left safely, and refuse to allow the police to search the property. However, a reconnaissance by S.C.A.T. uncovers an elaborate security system with almost every room equipped with cameras and booby traps designed to capture intruders.

An undercover S.C.A.T. agent named Kelly Medd (played by Dana Plato) has managed to infiltrate the house by arranging a sleepover with the Martins' teenage daughter and four other friends. Furthermore, you have hacked into the security system and gained control over the house's cameras and traps. When the house is suddenly invaded by a band of black-clothed stalkers, it falls to you to use the traps and protect the girls while investigating the secret of the Martin household.

The game is mostly known for the undue controversy that it caused upon release: it is no exaggeration to call it the reason games have age classifications and content ratings. It has also made several "Worst Games Ever" lists (which is funny in hindsight, considering upon its release it received a fair amount of critical acclaim for its use of full-motion video and multiple-playthrough approach to gameplay).

Followed by a Spiritual Successor titled Double Switch in 1993.

This game contains examples of:

  • The '80s: While the game was released in 1992, the video was recorded in 1987 and it shows.
  • Affably Evil: The Martins seem like nice enough folks, and reason people are going missing is because they run a charity wherein they provide blood for augers, though this gets people killed.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Danny, Lisa's brother. Lampshaded, the only reason Danny is even at this sleepover party in the first place is because Lisa's mom made her take Danny along.
  • Bare Your Midriff: In Disc 2, you can see Kelly taking off her shirt and baring her midriff in front of her friends when she reveals herself as an undercover agent. In fact, she will remain in this way for the rest of the game.
  • Boss Rush: The climax of the game. You have to beat each of the remaining Martins in order: first, when Victor Martin, Sheila Martin, and Sarah Martin corner Kelly in the bedroom, Sheila comes the closest to catching Kelly, so you first have to trap Sheila with a bed that catapults her out the window (which was not originally intended for her; apparently Victor was going to give that trap to his wife as a "surprise"); Kelly will then manage to make it past Victor and Sarah, but Victor chases her. Second, when Victor chases Kelly into the bathroom, you have to activate a wall trap that gets rid of Victor, but that still leaves Sarah. Sarah will cut Kelly off outside in the hallway, so you have to drop Sarah down a pit and then all the Martins are gone and you've won the game. If you miss even one of the three Martins in this sequence, Kelly will escape at first, but then whichever Martin you missed will show up with a crowd of augers to drain Kelly and you'll lose.
  • Damsel in Distress: All the girls are in danger of getting killed by the augers, and it's up to you to keep them safe from harm.
  • Dummied Out: One of the Game Over scenes.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Mr. Martin, who tries to come off as a charming gentleman.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The player has the option of doing this. If you get the perfect ending, you can decide to kill Kelly with a trap for... the meter turning red.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: "Weird Eddie", one of the Martins' neighbors, invented a laser gun in order to combat them and the augers. Interestingly, the SCAT team has real guns, though it's still not particularly violent. (The augers only seem to emit sparks even when shot with real guns and the Martins, being vampires, are immune to bullets.)
  • Fanservice: Lisa primping herself in the bathroom while wearing a nightgown is one of the most well-known scenes in the game, and the fact that it contains a girl-threatening auger capture means you have to watch it for a while, otherwise you get a game over.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Subverted.
  • Fun with Acronyms: SCAT. It was probably meant to be a play on the "go away" definition of the word rather than the "excrement" version.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A surprisingly literal example. Due to the live feed nature of the video, and only being able to focus on one room at a time, playing a perfect run denies you the full story as augers are often wandering around away from the girls and/or the Martins. Kelly will address the cameras as if she expects you to be focusing on her all the time.
  • Genki Girl: Megan is the most excitable of the girls, leading the lip-synching of the theme song during the party.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Sarah (if you're fast enough to see her in the bedroom at the start of the game) and Tony. All of the other vampires have them as well, but only when they show their fangs.
  • Gratuitous French: Mr. Martin says a couple of these phrases, natch.
  • Guide Dang It: The split-second room changes the game requires from you are nearly impossible without playing the game multiple times or having a comprehensive walk-through.
  • Have a Nice Death: Letting Tony capture Kelly will cause him to drag her down to the basement, where he'll immediately find out the cables connecting your controller to the house. He will then inform Jeff offscreen. Jeff will then personally tell you how much you messed up before sending you down one of the traps. A similar event will happen if you allow Cindy to die, as she will be turned into a vampire by Jeff and tell him about the override cables, which will prompt him to give access of the control to his parents. Vincent and Sheila will then send you down a trap.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In the kitchen, you can see one of the two girls (Cindy) try to take a bite out of a popsicle before doing a Spit Take in disgust and saying that it's blood. They eventually discover who the blood in the "popsicle" actually belongs to...
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: S.C.A.T. managed to install a tap into the surveillance and trap system of the Martin home. It involves a very large, visible cable hanging down from a window in one of the hallways.
  • Jive Turkey: Eddie, the sole black member of SCAT. He pretends to be a Jamaican who's lost his boat as a cover story so he can ask everyone in the house (including SCAT's field agent Kelly) if they're doing all right. When he talks like himself, he sounds relatively normal.
  • Large Ham:
    • The guy playing Lt. Simms is deadly serious and is not above disconnecting your controller if you screw up or don't start the game fast enough.
    • Also, Mr. Martin. ("THE WALL TRAP! AAAAAAAAAAAH!")
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Any time the trap access code is changed, the result is randomized. It always starts at Blue, though.
  • Magical Security Cam: The normally stationary security cameras suddenly zoom in or out and sometimes even move to cover new angles whenever something is happening in a room. At times the video could be coming from a camera physically located at the same place as where the normally static image originates, but many times the change in video feed would require physically moving the camera.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Martins' house was built full of traps and hidden cameras in order to contain and kill helpless kids. S.C.A.T. hacks the system and takes control of it to save the kids and kill the Martins and their auger minions.
  • Menace Decay: Night Trap shocked the nation in the 1990's (or at least the more busybody members of the U.S. Congress, anyway). In 2017, the game is planned to be re-released for the PS4 and Xbox One... and rated "T" for Teen, with BETTER quality video than any previous version.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: In the "controversial" bathroom scene, when Lisa hears an auger in the shower, she thinks the auger is Megan in a "scary costume" and opens the shower door in an attempt to get it out; but when it starts coming for her, she gets an "Oh, Crap!" look and tries to escape but is cornered by two more augers... and that could be the end of her if not for the floor trap near the shower that the auger is getting on (provided that you need a special code to activate the trap and save her in time).
    • Inverted if you try to catch one of the "augers" on one occasion... without even knowing that the "auger" is actually Token Black teammate Eddie in disguise.
  • Multiple Endings: There are several ways the game could end, including the Game Over sequences:
    • Letting too many augers roam around the house, both in the beginning of the game and before disc 1 ends, will cause Simms to interrupt your broadcast and kick you off the mission. Failing to rescue Lisa, Ashley, or Megan will result in this too, albeit with different messages.
    • Failing to rescue Cindy causes Jeff to make Cindy a vampire. Cindy will tell Jeff about the override cables, which prompts him to regain access of the house. Vincent and Sheila override your control and send you through a death trap.
    • Failing to rescue Kelly when Tony approaches her will result in him dragging her down to the basement, where he discovers your controls and informs Jeff about it offscreen. Jeff overrides your control and tells you off before sending you through a death trap.
    • Failing to rescue Kelly from the Martins in the last sequence of the game will result in her being captured by the augers and bitten by whoever you first failed to capture.
    • The normal ending, which you'll get if you complete all critical saves/captures while missing some augers, has Kelly congratulating you, but believing you can do better with practice. As she leaves, there's a parting shot of an auger appearing behind her.
    • The perfect ending has Kelly praising you and hoping to work with you again. As she leaves, she walks over the trap you used to capture Sarah and jokes about you trapping her. In a Cruel Twist Ending, you actually can pull a Face–Heel Turn on her and capture her.
  • New Media Are Evil: This game is one of the reasons why the ESRB exists today. The game caused controversy and was pulled from store shelves due to its "violent content" and its gameplay being centered around "capturing and torturing young women." It's a good thing that none of the senators involved in the hearing actually played the game. Otherwise, they would have found out that none of these things happen and they would have had to rely more on the content in Mortal Kombat to get the ruling that they wanted.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Two times in scenes where the good guys are grappling with the augers or Martins, they'll struggle into range of a trap, which you'll be permitted to trigger; doing so results in this. Trapping Kelly at the end of a perfect run also counts.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires can teleport, make their eyes glow, have super strength, are unharmed by bullets, and can shoot lightning from their hands. Other vampires are created by completely draining a mortal of blood. However, if not enough blood is taken, an auger is created. Augers look like limping burglars due to the fact that they cover themselves completely in black clothing because their skin falls off of their bones due to their hunger.
  • Press Start to Game Over: It's possible to get a Game Over during the intro simply by doing nothing. This was actually quite common with a lot of Sega CD FMV games back then.
  • Red Shirt: A couple SCAT agents (not Kelly) try to scout out and infiltrate the house, and they're summarily captured and killed by the augers. There's no way to save them.
  • Rich Bitch: Lisa, though she's more vain than bitchy.
  • Sociopathic Hero: You can choose to get the perfect ending just so you trap Kelly in the end.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Depending on the version, Kelly's name is either spelled "Kelly" or "Kelli."
  • Sunglasses at Night: Tony wears sunglasses at nighttime, until he takes them off in the last part of the game.
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: The game uses this as a trap.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Jeff to Cindy over the course of the game.
  • Stock Footage: A few auger capture scenes are recycled to pad out the game's length.
  • Title Theme Tune: The characters lipsync to it at one point. The 2017 rerelease includes a free download for it on their website.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Cindy, if you let Jeff bite her. She actually seems quite happy to be part of the walking undead.
  • Token Good Teammate: Subverted, Tony helps out the heroines once, and only because Ashley coincidentally happens to look like his former girlfriend. After that, and after Kelly ignores his warnings to not investigate any further, Tony will attempt to capture Kelly just like any of the Martins, and will succeed if you don't use a trap on him.
  • Token Minority: SCAT has both a token black guy and a token woman (if you don't count Kelly).
  • Tragic Keepsake: Tony has a locket with a picture of his former girlfriend named Madeline (who looks just like Ashley, one of the girls at the sleepover) in it. We never find out what happened to her, though the Japanese dub translates, "[We] could never be" into, "She's already dead."
  • Trap Door: One of the possible traps you can use on the augers; other traps include catapulting the augers out the window, for example.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: The first time the trap access code is changed, it takes Tony and Jeff several seconds to get to the console to do so after being instructed by Mrs. Martin, so you need to trap one auger while remaining on Blue before changing to the new color.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You have the opportunity to trap Kelly in the perfect ending.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't know what happens to the girls or Danny after they escape the house. Some of them are last seen being chased by augers too, making things a bit concerning...
  • What the Hell, Hero?: You get this from Simms if you fail to save the girls early on, followed by a game over.
    Simms: Megan is dead. And yes, you could have saved her. You were responsible for her life, and you screwed up. There's a lot going on in this house. Too bad you're not going to be around to see any more of it. Breaking contact.
  • A Winner is You: All you get for winning the game is Kelly congratulating you on your success. However, if you get a perfect game (all bad guys captured, all innocents saved), you can trap her right afterward.