‘Night Trap 25th Anniversary’ Review

Limited Run Games Releases Night Trap 25th Anniversary

Limited Run Games and Screaming Villians has re-released the controversial game that helped create the ESRB, Night Trap.

In 1992, the gaming industry was falling in love with the technology of Full Motion Video, FMV for short. Many companies felt that the future was a blend of digital graphics with pre-recorded scenes to give the audience and more cinematic effect. At the time the Sega Genisis and Super Nintendo were the leaders in the home video game market. New technology was coming in the form of the Phillips CD-i, 3DO and Sega CD. These CD-Rom based consoles needed titles to sell the new and very expensive technology. This is where NightTrap comes in.

As an avid gamer and horror movie fan in 1992, I was quick to snap up a copy of Night Trap for my Sega CD. I was not alone. Night Trap sold over 1 million copies over several platforms. Sadly for Night Trap, this brought to it attention not only from parents but from congress. Former senator Joseph Lieberman Co-Chaired a panel that looked at violence in video games. He said that Night Trap was, “Ultraviolent, sick and disgusting.”  Eventually, this game along with the Mortal Kombat series, was held up as examples for the need for the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) in 1994.

Here is a Documentary on the game:

Having played the game, I was completely bewildered by the hearing and the statements. Night Trap was essentially a very mild version of a slasher film of the 80’s without any slashing or blood. For those of you who may have never played FMV games, they are essentially Choose Your Own Adventure stories with video instead of text.

Here is what the developers have added to the 2017 release.

The new release of Night Trap was completely rebuilt from scratch and is a completely redeveloped and remastered version of the game with video footage in near DVD quality. Additional features added include:

  • A theater option to watch all of the scenes in the game,
  • deleted scenes,
  • a completely new gameplay mode called “survivor” with randomized gameplay and online functionality (leaderboards),
  • production stills and a concept art gallery,
  • director interview with Jim Riley about the creative process for the title, and
  • an additional game never before released called “Scene Of The Crime,” which is the original prototype for “Night Trap.”

As far as the new game itself, immediately upon the start, I began to get a strong sense of nostalgia for the style that was so entrenched in the 1990s.

The look, the colors and even its star Dana Plato, formerly of the 80s sitcom Different Strokes, took me back to a simpler time. The scenes were originally shot in 1986 for, at the time, a large budget of $1.5 million. It was originally intended for the Hasbro Control Vision and was shelved along with the console.

Eventually, it was purchased by Digital Pictures and put on the Sega CD, PC Cd-Rom, and Mac.

The story centered around a group of girls at a slumber party being stalked by vampiric creatures. The characters have to set “Traps” to capture the villains before they are captured themselves. Night Trap was never revered as a pillar of game design and, to be honest, I would not have reviewed it positively in 1992.

But in 2017, the game has a wonderful charm. Whether you try it without help or use a walkthrough (it is not easy) it is a bit of fun that I recommend to any older gamer. Children may have a hard time with the pace and the look but it is a good way to show teenagers what games were like in a certain period. I often show Night Trap to my students to show them what led to the ESRB and they find it fascinating. The theatre option is a nice touch for those who want the complete experience without playing the game.

I truly recommend adding Night Trap to your library to have a bit of fun, nostalgia and a piece of gaming history. It makes for a great conversation piece when your friends come over for a Game Night and it also has a wonderful sense of Camp. Here is arguably its most memorable moment:


Standard Edition (PlayStation 4)

  • Limited to 5,000 copies worldwide.
  • Region free.
  • Includes full-color manual, large fold-out poster, reversible cover art.
  • Available exclusively from Limited Run Games, $29.99.
  • On sale Aug. 11, 2017, at 10 a.m. EDT.

Standard Edition (PC)

  • Limited to 2,000 copies worldwide.
  • Region free.
  • Includes a large fold-out poster.
  • On a DRM-free disc for Windows PCs.
  • Packaged in an individually numbered big box.
  • Purchase price includes a digital download.
  • Available exclusively from Limited Run Games, $34.99.

Collector’s Edition (PlayStation 4)

  • Limited to 3,000 copies worldwide.
  • Region free.
  • Includes full-color manual, large fold-out poster, reversible cover art, cassette tape featuring theme song, 4-inch custom embroidered Special Control Attack Team patch on black ballistic fiber.
  • Individually numbered shrink-wrapped box specially tailored to be a throwback to the original red box Sega CD release.
  • Available exclusively from Limited Run Games, $54.99.
  • On sale Aug. 11, 2017, at 10 a.m. EDT.
  • Digital
  • PlayStation: PlayStation Store; Aug. 15, 2017; $14.99. http://store.playstation.com

A copy of Night Trap was provided for this review by Limited Run Games

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1 thought on “‘Night Trap 25th Anniversary’ Review

  1. First off, Night Trap is badass.
    Moreover, I am currently taking public speaking with you.
    In conclusion, just more badassery.

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