Tomb Raider goes Barbarian!!
Everybody and their mother has heard about the exploits of the voluptuous Lara Croft and her revolutionary game. Tomb Raider, a game set in the third person perspective, not only packed a wallop in great game play and graphics, but also proved that even in the realm of video games, 'sex sells' (like we didn't already know). In fact Tomb Raider not only proved that sex sells, but it set the precedent for how video game damsels and heroines would look in a whole slew of games that would attempt to follow in TR's footsteps, or G-strings for that matter.And if one formula works, then you'd better bet your bottle of Vaseline, that formula will be repeated. So goes the case with Eidos's new and very anticipated game, Deathtrap Dungeon.
Deathtrap Dungeon is a Tomb Raider style game that takes place in a medieval fantasy world. You can choose to play as either Chaindog, the chemically enhanced barbarian or Red Lotus, the latex wearing (I didn't know they had latex and zippers back then!) dominatrix, hell bent on capturing the dark side of our pimple-ridden pubescent fantasies.
Each character comes with the ability to use 13 different weapons ranging from swords, hammers, muskets, and magic spells. The nice thing about using the swords and hammers is that there are a variety of attacks ranging from a slice to a jab that each of the characters can master. Killing your opponents is a joy if you like heavy blood and gore. Legs, arms and head are all hack-able and come complete with plenty of blood squirting and dripping off of nearby walls. Not to mention a realistic hacking sound to accompany your battles as you travel along on your merry way.
Your character even takes on a bloodied and beaten look as you take on more and more hits. There's nothing like a bloodied and beaten look to appeal to our own individual masochistic sides.
The movement controls though are pretty standard. You basically have the same moves as Lara Croft in TR 1, run, jump, and climb, slow walk etc. The graphics and the floating camera angles are great, although sometimes they can be confusing. There wasn't really any camera blocking like there was in TR 1 when the floating camera would get obstructed from view and you couldn't see where you were going.
The in-game graphics make great use of the light and shadows features becoming standard on 3D acceleration cards, and there are dazzling light shows whenever a spell was cast, or some energy bolt was discharged. The character and monster graphics could have been a little more rounded and less angular, giving them a more realistic look. After all, in this age of 3D acceleration, realism rules!! With so many other games like Quake II, Unreal, and the upcoming Half-Life and SiN using more polygons to create less angular characters, Deathtrap Dungeon fell just a tad short of having jaw-dropping graphics.
The game play is also very much like Tomb Raider, in that you're running around in a maze-like dungeon environment where you're looking for the right levers to pull and keys to open doors and passages to the next level. They do a good job in producing confusing and challenging mazes and catacombs to explore. There just happen to be a lot more baddies to hack and kill. Nothing wrong with that, right!?
There are a great variety of enemies to fight ranging from dark elves, psychotic clowns, dragons, skeleton warriors, and even exploding pigs (for you animal lovers). By the way, no farm animals were harmed in the making of this game. Each enemy can be killed more efficiently depending on the weapon you use. Nothing really new there.
The music was mediocre to boring. It didn't really give you the epic feel of excitement associated with a fantasy game. Then again, which game soundtracks these days really move you? The sound effects were about on the same mediocre level as the music.
When I first got a hold of this game, I must admit I had a real sense of excitement and fever to load it up on my PC and play under the glory of MMX and 2 Voodoo2 cards. After about 10-15 minutes of play though, that excitement quickly died down. Not to say that Deathtrap Dungeon was a bad game. It is, in fact, a good game, but it just didn't seem to 'WOW!!' me. It just seemed like Tomb Raider with more swords.
Who knows, maybe I'm just hard to please, or getting more critical in my old age. Let me compare it to science fiction films. If we look at Star Wars (being the best), Battlestar Galactica (good enough, but not enough to have me playing with my action figures in the bath tub), and Battle Beyond the Stars (being the worst, which is why many of you may not remember it), then Deathtrap Dungeon is fighting Cylons along side of Starbuck.