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
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,
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.