Video Game / Night Trap

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Use the traps, Control!

Night Trap is a Full Motion Video game by Digital Pictures. It was created (well, filmed) in 1987 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, Panasonic 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, IBM Personal Computer, and Apple Macintosh. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, it was released on PlayStation 4 and Steam on August 15, 2017 (with the Xbox One version set to be released at a later time), complete with a limited physical run which mimics the Sega CD box art; this version includes the prototype game Scene of the Crime which led into Night Trap's development.

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.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The 2017 edition removes the credits from all the game over sequences and instead gives you the option to retry if you lose. After you saved Lisa, where Disc 1 would end before you started Disc 2 in the 1990s console versions, the 2017 edition saves your progress on the midway checkpoint before the game continues on, so you can now return to that checkpoint if you lose. One example is that if you fail to save Cindy, the game continues on as normal, but only for a few minutes. If this happened in the 1990s console versions, you were screwed and would get a bad ending; but if you failed to save her in the 2017 edition, then you might as well either trap Megan or let her get killed in order to save yourself any further embarrassment of a Downer Ending.
  • Axe Before Entering: While Kelly reveals herself as a S.C.A.T. member to her friends in the bedroom, the two augers approach the bedroom door, and one of them pulls out a short ax and begins hacking at the door in hopes that it will open.
  • 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. (Actually, Kelly and all the girls sans Lisa are baring their midriffs throughout 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.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: The times you fail to save Kelly from the baddies, she berates you as if you just spilled wine on the carpet rather than her life being at stake.
  • 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.
  • Distressed Dude: In the never-before-seen extra footage added to the upcoming PS4/Xbox One remaster, you have to save Danny from being drained by the augers in the downstairs hallway, or else it's Game Over.
  • Double Unlock: You have to beat the game once to unlock Theater mode in the 2017 version. Then you have to play through the game again several times, watching at least a second of all the possible scenes (including various game overs) to unlock them for casual viewing.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Secret S.C.A.T. member "Weird Eddie" dresses up like an Auger in order to infiltrate the mansion and make sure Kelly and her friends are doing alright. Be careful that you don't trap him, though...
  • Dummied Out: One of the Game Over scenes (in which you accidentally trap Lt. Simms while he's fighting off Sheila), which could only be viewed using a Sega CD Movie viewer on a Windows computer. The 2017 edition adds that scene back into the game along with two other Game Over scenes that never made the final cut.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Mr. Martin, who tries to come off as a charming gentleman.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The events of the game take place over the course of half an hour.
  • 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.)
  • The Family That Slays Together: It's pretty obvious that the Martin family is a bunch of vampires (and Jeff and Sarah's cousin Tony is one of them as well), which may explain why many teenage girls have vanished without a trace.
  • 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. At least in the 2017 edition you can still see the story going on in other room icons while you're trapping Augers, but you still can't unlock more story scenes in Theater mode until you at least highlight one of the room icons for them.
  • 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. Even veterans who have played the 1992 game or its other 1990s console versions before while playing the 2017 edition (and going for a perfect run) will suddenly get treated to a Game Over scene of Danny getting captured and drained of blood in the downstairs hallway (which wasn't there in the previous console versions before) and realize that they missed an extra Auger to trap! Guide Dang It, indeed.
  • 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.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The Special Features Collection has the actors doing some of them. One of the scenes even has Debra Parks (Lisa) telling the "auger" stuntmen to act all scary while they're prepping up for the "controversial" bathroom scene.
  • 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.
  • Interface Spoiler: In the 1990s, the Sega CD version and the other four console versions had the room icons that were static images, and you could only see what was going on in one room by selecting it. In the 2017 remaster, the room icons now have dynamic, real-time thumbnails, meaning that if you see movement in one room while being in another, you know that something's going on. For example, you can watch the girls rock out in the living room and impress Sarah, while you witness the Augers kidnap S.C.A.T. member Jason and drain his blood in the downstairs hallway before taking him to the basement without even going to said hallway! (One Defunct Games review lampshades it by saying that seeing the movement in some of the room icons makes you feel like you're watching a livestream event of the game itself.) Beating the game to unlock Theater Mode counts after you've gotten the most spoileriffic scenes.
  • Jive Turkey: Collins, 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!")
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When played on PS4, your controller's backlight reflects the trap access code currently in use.
  • Leitmotif: The Augers have one, everytime they come on screen.
  • 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 was re-released for the PS4 and Steam (with the Xbox One version soon to follow)... 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 S.C.A.T. 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 Danny (PS4/XONE remaster only), his sister 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.
      • Although the end credits were shown after all the Game Over scenes and both the normal and perfect endings back in the 1990s console versions (which was quite common with a lot of Sega CD FMV games back then), the 2017 edition limits the credits to only the bad, normal and perfect endings, and instead gives you the option to either retry or quit after each Game Over sequence.
  • 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: A few 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.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Toward the end of Disc 1 when you save Lisa, and at the beginning of Disc 2, her kid brother Danny tries warning the girls about the basement with the control buttons and the traps, and about the Augers attacking him, but the girls don't believe him and shoo him out. They eventually discover that Danny's right.
  • 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.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Lisa wears her pink blouse and skirt, indicating her rich vanity. She becomes a Woman in White a little later on toward the end of Disc 1.
  • 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. The 2017 version removes this entirely.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: S.C.A.T. member Swanson plays it straight very late in the game. Also, Kelly wears a blue sports bra hidden under her revealing blue-striped white shirt, along with her blue jeans, to show that she's an Action Girl who's not like her other girl friends who wear dresses and are in danger of getting drained by the augers (Megan, however, averts this trope, since she wears a crop top and pants, yet she is in danger). Of course, she ends up being the one who needs your help to get rid of Tony and the Martin family toward the end of the game. Oh, and Sarah averts this as well, since she wears a white dress and yet can still pack a powerful bite.
  • 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.
  • Rule of Funny: At one point in the upstairs hallway, you can see the Augers give each other a high five, as if they think the coast is clear. Pretty hilarious.
  • Sociopathic Hero: You can choose to get the perfect ending just so you trap Kelly in the end.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The DOS port opts to spell Kelly's name as "Kelli."
  • 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. Also, Danny's eventual escape from the house is a straight duplication of his earlier scene being menaced by them, even in the 2017 version which reinstates his possible death scene (once you've saved him, of course).
  • 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.
  • Title Theme Tune: The characters lipsync to it at one point. The 2017 rerelease includes a free download for it on their website.
  • 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."
  • Transhuman Treachery: Cindy, if you let Jeff bite her. She actually seems quite happy to be part of the walking undead.
  • Trap Door: One of the possible traps you can use on the augers; other traps include catapulting the augers out the window, for example.
  • True Blue Femininity: Kelly wears a blue sports bra hidden under her revealing blue-striped white shirt, along with her blue jeans, indicating that she's a mature S.C.A.T. member posing as a teenager.
  • 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.
    • Various unlockables and achievements in the 2017 version are tied to letting each of the girls get killed or trapped. You can also trap a few S.C.A.T. members for an achievement, although you normally get a Game Over for doing so.
  • 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.
  • Woman in White: Megan wears a white crop top along with her white ribbon tiara; Cindy is in a white blouse; Ashley is in her white blouse/minidress combo, and Sarah wears a Victorian white dress with a pink sash around her waist (with white shoes to go along). Lisa later becomes one in her white nightdress while she's in the bathroom.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the 2017 edition, when the Augers corner teenaged boy Danny for the second and final time, they will not hesitate to capture him and drain him of blood if you don't do something.
  • Wowing Cthulhu: The girls think that Sarah wants them to have a party, so Megan turns on the radio, rocks out (and lip-synchs) to the theme tune, and manages to impress Sarah, unaware that she and her family are a family of vampires.
  • You're Insane!: When Tony tells Kelly that she leaves him no other choice but to kill her because she ignored his warnings not to investigate any further, Kelly says she doesn't understand, then tells you, "This is crazy!"; he talks back to her, saying that you wouldn't stand in his way, before turning toward you and taunting you with, "Would you?", then proceeds to kill her.

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