Caught in a Bear Trap? Gnaw off your leg!
Reina was an orphan from Burganfada. Despite a troubled childhood, she was
adopted by a kind family, and grew up in relative happiness. That was until
being kidnapped and brought to the island of Alendar. She watched in horror
as her family was slain before her eyes under the auspices of the evil monarchy,
led by King Frederick. Reina was cast into a deep dungeon, left to die. However,
Reina is granted a chance to fight back through the power of traps.
III: Dark Delusion
comes off as grainy and unpolished. The kind of game
that seems quickly turned out, translated, and dumped on an unsuspecting American
audience. True, true… but these things belie how deep and involving this game
actually is. Looks can be deceiving…
Basically, Dark Delusion is a trap-laying game. With each new chapter of the
story, you begin by setting up traps throughout your surrounding. Once the traps
are ready, you lure your enemies into them, and go for the kill. Of course the
only bait you have is yourself.
There are three main categories of traps: ceiling, wall, and floor. Each of the traps can be strengthened and built into more powerful traps as you gain items and experience. Customizations include grafting elemental qualities, such as lightning and fire, and adding timers, so you won't have to trigger the traps manually. The forth category of traps are environmental traps, such as the chandelier that can crash down or the flaming pit of fire you can toss a foe into. The heart of the game lies in combining these traps for maximum damage.
Your basic combo chain works by leading, say, an unassuming villager to a bear trap. Snap! The trap closes shut, and the villager is locked into position. You set off a push wall, strategically placed to push a mining cart right into the hapless guy; the cart smashes him into a box of gunpowder, exploding in a fiery mess. As he lies there, burnt and dying, you pull the coup de grace and drop a giant rock on him. Watch as he bemoans his death while black blood oozes out. Did I mention how wonderfully desensitizing this game is?
To get you into the swing of things the game has a trap license mode, the
equivalent of a training option. As you progress, you'll get a better understanding
of how to set up combos and lure enemies. There's also a free training mode,
where you can test out the next stage first hand, see what traps are already
part of the room, plan out your combinations, and try them out. And for the
master trapper, there's an expert mode.
on, the balance between story and game in Deception III: Dark Delusion
is uneven. Getting into the game and understanding the combo system takes some
time. Thankfully, right about the time you figure everything out, the story
gets interesting, difficulty picks up, and you'll be trapping and killing left
and right. The story isn't perfect, with bits of hokey-ness and melodrama, but
it has the ability to keep you glued.
Unfortunately, ruining the flow of the storyline, there are ineffectual summary
screens all the time. For example, one of the cut scenes used a subtle method
of hinting a relationship between characters. Then, the summary comes up and
says everything straight out, ruining the plot. How would you like it if movies
had written summaries after every scene? It's akin to telling you who Keyzer
Soze is. Other gripes about the summary screens include lousy grammar, misspellings,
and how Reina (or whatever name you give her) is always referred to as "heroine."
How hard can it be to plug a name into a text summary?
Titles, menus, chapter-heading screens - there's an unpolished look to all
of them. The framerate lacks smoothness with pop-ups, polygonal errors, and
graininess reminiscent of a first generation Playstation title. The lack of
clarity makes it difficult to figure out whether enemies are within range of
your traps, but with play, you just become used to it. I hope they have the
sense to bring this game to the newer systems.
Musically, there's a rich score of eerie atmosphere music that perfectly compliments
the very dark mood of the game. The screams and cries of your victims are right
on the money, capturing the terror of death. During the interspersed FMV scenes,
you'll have Japanese voices with subtitles, but for the other cut scenes, rendered
in real time, you just get text. More voice and English would have been nice,
but at least it's a step in the right direction.
Deception III: Dark Delusion
isn't for everyone, but deserves to be
tried. Once you look past the graininess and the lack of polish, you'll find
a worthwhile game filled with tactical planning and original play mechanics.
It's part RPG, part action, part strategy that make Dark Delusion
unique. Give it a shot, and you may just find yourself trapped…