Those Were The Days. Racing to the nearest Smiths to buy the new Fighting Fantasy book from Ian Livingstone. Whether you were battling the Warlock of Firetop Mountain or getting hideously lost in the Forest of Doom, these books provided gameplaying fantasy fans with a new challenge. Ahhh... fond memories indeed. Ian Livingstone created a new gaming experience; with sales of over 15 million, the FF series was, and still is, one of the best-selling sets of game books in history.
The concept was simple but strangely addictive. Your role was that of a lone adventurer battling his way through hundreds of 'locations' represented by descriptive paragraphs within the books' pages. At the end of each paragraph was a decision point, which then lead you to a new page and location depending on . what choice you made. Combat & was resolved by running away to nother 'page si location' or by using a combat system involving a lot of luck and a dab hand with a pair of dice.
So that's the story and concept behind the books, what about the game? Well, this is the first in a new series of games based on the FF books and it comes from a strong team of fantasy heavyweights. It's obvious that Ian Livingstone still has a keen interest in the development of his concept, having recruited two key members from Games Workshop. Richard Halliwell, the author of classic tabletops Warhammer and Space Hulk, has been hard at work implementing devious dungeon designs and puzzles, ably assisted by ex-White Dwarf editor Jamie Thompson. All in all, not a bad start...
Dragons & Dungeons
There will be 16 levels in the finished game, and during my visit to the development team I saw them being sketched out on paper and ' transferred into the 3D editor. This is where all the traps and creatures are given their own place and introduced into the intricate level layouts, with the result that everything can be put into perspective. But there's more than monsters and traps to be added to the game...
Deathtrap Dungeon is the latest 3D adventure game to include dynamic lighting. Dark damp corridors will be illuminated by torches, and if you cast a spell you'll see the floors and ceilings light up, while swinging chandeliers add to the atmosphere by throwing long shadows which warn you of enemy presence. This technology is being used increasingly in many new titles, and from what I saw I'd say that Deathtrap Dungeon's effects are right up there with the Dungeon Keepers and Into The Shadows of this world.
But flash lighting effects aside, Deathtrap Dungeon has been designed from a solid gameplay point of view. Okay, there are a lot of puzzles to solve and traps to avoid but as far as combat is concerned the team don't want to see the player getting bogged down in sluggish melee rounds. The combat is fast and furious - buckets of blood and plenty of sword-swinging and limb removal should be the order of the day. There'll be 55 monsters and beasties for you to get your sword stuck in to - take a peek at the monster panel to get a taste of what's in store.
But let's not forget one of the main reasons for the incredibly fast and violent combat - yep, you guessed it, the team are currently working on a network option. I for one just can't wait for a stab at multiplayer hacking and k slaying over an IPX network and/or modem. This is another piece of good news for fantasy fans, especially with the imminent arrival of Wireplay from BT-with any luck Deathtrap Dungeon will be another title to become available on-line. I'm keeping my fingers crossed until September...
Download Deathtrap Dungeon
Hack. Slash. Two words that go together quite nicely, don't you think? The problem begins when you have little to add to them. Both Diablo and Vampire have been rightly accused of this, but the fact remains that they are far more than that: they both have character stats, spells and a story. When Deathtrap Dungeon came out a couple of years ago, we were all disappointed that lain Livingstone (who co-wrote many of the fondly remembered Fighting Fantasy books with Steve Jackson) had come up with something so action-based and so lacking in depth. Dungeons and swords is about as much as you're likely to find here, together with some dodgy camera work. But if that's all you want, you could do a whole lot worse for a fiver.
- Mmm, I see your point, but in the spirit of the old Fighting Fantasy books I thought Deathtrap was a hell of a lot of fun. It was quite trippy in places, what with goblins driving about in giant shoes. And those clowns really were quite scary. Perhaps they should've ditched the Tomb Raider angle in favour of a bit more adventure. Anyway, c'ya.
- Ye gods, did they playtest this game? I paid 35 for it and found it to be very, very crap compared to, say, Jedi Knight, Quake and Tomb Raider etc. I'm very disappointed and I'll be partexchanging the blighter for something a hell of a lot more playable soon.
Deathtrap Dungeon is the latest offering from Eidos, the company behind Tomb Raider. Based on Ian Livingstone's popular game-book series, this action/ad-venture game takes place in a treacherous dungeon modeled in full 3D. Packed with more than 50 types of enemies and traps, you must battle through 10 harrowing levels armed with the standard fantasy fare, including swords, hammers, and magical spells--you can even fight with your bare hands!
Although Deathtrap is still early in development, it features colorful graphics and amazingly realistic light-sourcing effects. Another highlight is the variety of action, which involves a mixture of both fighting and puzzle-solving challenges. While it certainly contains many promising elements, the sluggish gameplay still has a ways to go before it can be favorably compared to its illustrious predecessor. Given Eidos's track record, though, accomplishing that should be no problem.
Deathtrap Dungeon features 3D hack 'n' slash action--medieval style. In Dungeon, you explore ten levels filled with over 55 monsters, including dragons and mummies, all from a third person perspective in 3D environments. The stages contain many different traps, like covered pits, fake floors, and spinning spikes. During your journeys, you'll collect weapons like a sword, a musket, and even magic spells.
It slices and dices, but that's not all--especially considering Deathtrap Dungeon is brought to us by Eidos (makers of Tomb Raider) and Ian Livingstone, popular writer of the Fighting Fantasy book series.
Deathtrap Dungeon is Eidos' new 3-D action adventure title that's based on Livingstone's popular fantasy books that have sold millions upon millions of copies worldwide. In fact, one of them in particular was called Deathtrap Dungeon.
The version we have is extremely early, so expect plenty of changes. The 3-D environments take place in a medieval dungeon. The graphics in the game are a cross between Tomb Raider and Excalibur. Deathtrap Dungeon should have dramatic lighting with plenty of diversity in mood, but to what extent we have not yet seen in this revision.
The levels have a whole slew of fearsome enemies. Some we've seen in this early version are sword-wielding babes and hulking rockmen. Others that should appear in the finished product are zombies, spiders, necromancers and mummies, among others. Deathtrap Dungeon will have 10 levels in the finished version with over 50 characters (enemies mostly) inhabiting them.
Character development is an important part of everything Ian Livingstone has his hands in. The characters in Deathtrap Dungeon won't be any different, but story isn't all that will have a high degree of detail. Look for fluid animations and a complex polygonal castle There will be plenty of character-based moves (depending on the weapon being used).
The camera in Deathtrap Dungeon is a "smart cam" where the camera moves according to the player position, ideally without creating an awkward view for the player. This camera movement should provide the best shot of an enemy kill, or perhaps your own player's demise.
The enemies are no dummies either. In fact, some of them, even in this early demo we received, are incredibly smart. As you swing, the enemy warrior jumps back and then comes forward to counter. In some cases they even did the splits to avoid an attack and then came back to slash a chunk out of your side.
The complex combat system in Deathtrap Dungeon will feature sword fighting, spell casting and close-quarters combat, among others. Besides the enemies, the levels themselves want a piece of you-look for traps including covered pits, hidden corridors, false floors and moving spikes. Expect more on this one as it nears completion.
- MANUFACTURER - Eldos
- THEME - Adventure
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Based on the multimillion-selling Fighting Fantasy books by Ian Livingstone, Deathtrap Dungeon pushes 3-D action/combat games to their limit. This title features over 16 torturous levels of fast and furious combat, modeled in full 3-D environment. Players are armed with swords, missiles, muskets and magic spells to fight off the more than 55 highly detailed enemies. These hardcore foes include fire-spitting dragons, ores, zombies, giant spiders and hoards of other weapon-wielding monsters. The levels in Deathtrap Dungeon are extremely detailed and drawn in vivid color. Although the backgrounds look dark, this only brings out more of the foreground and the enemies there that the player should be focusing on. Look for more on Deathtrap Dungeon in an upcoming issue.
Thanks to Eidos, the critically acclaimed author Ian Livingstone now has his best-selling Fighting Fantasy book series come to life. I will admit that I have never read these books, but I have heard of them. Since the series has sold multi-millions of copies, it seems like a natural fit to create a video game based on the series. As with every licensed game before it, Deathtrap Dungeon is skating on thin ice right out of the gate because licensed games usually don't live up to the hype. Fortunately, Eidos has a little experience in the 3D action/adventure arena.
Deathtrap Dungeon has you playing one of two characters trying to fight your way out of the hellish dungeon. This dungeon was created by the Baron of the town of Fang as a place of punishment for anyone who tried to oppose him. Since the dungeon was filled with evil creatures beyond the imagination, none of the people were ever seen again. The word spread about the dungeon and since the Baron craved attention and notoriety, he offered a 10,000 gold piece reward for anyone to enter the dungeon of their own free will and kill the supreme beast, the red dragon. In the first year, 17 warriors tried to make it through the dungeon and not a one has ever reappeared. It is up to you, playing as either the scantily clad Red Lotus or the barbarian Chaindog, to make it out alive and claim the reward.
This game can best be described as an action adventure game. Numerous areas of the game reminded me of Tomb Raider II, but without the same flair. This game will inevitably be compared to Tomb Raider II for three reasons. First, Eidos Interactive was involved in the making of both games. Second, the Heroine, Red Lotus, makes Lara Croft look conservative in dress and in figure. Finally, gameplay is a lot like Tomb Raider II.
The main thing about Deathtrap Dungeon which makes it feel like Tomb Raider II is that a huge part of the game revolves around flipping switches to open up other areas. You will flip a switch and the camera will cut away to another part of the dungeon to show you what has opened or changed; this was identical to the switch-flipping performed by Lara Croft. The only difference is that the switch flipping was a fairly minor part of Tomb Raider, whereas it is a major part of the game in Deathtrap Dungeon.
Another big difference between this game and TR II is that you are always carrying a sword or some other weapon. I know that Lara carried her gun, but this game has you doing more up-close combat. Also, scattered throughout the dungeon are different types of weapons and spells you can use. I really liked this aspect of the game. It allowed you to do so much more than just stab with your sword. The spells ranged from shooting fireballs to rushing pigs. It's best to accumulate the spells and save them until you have a formidable foe in your path. It was very cool watching your fireballs blast the Minotaurs. Also, since there is more up-close combat, there are plenty of chopped-off limbs and heads. Blood flows quite freely in this game, so if you have little ones I suggest you play this after they have gone to bed.
Speaking of Minotaurs, this game had some really cool enemies to fight. You had you basic zombies, skeletons and ghosts, but it was the others that were cool. There were hives of insect warriors, snake women, Minotaurs and little goblin-looking dudes who laughed just like Beavis. There were tons more enemies, not to mention traps, fire, and floating platforms to be navigated. I found myself unable to stop playing just because I wanted to see what I would run into next.
Ok, if I don't mention this then I will feel that there is something wrong with my manhood. The Heroine, Red Lotus, makes Lara Croft look like a choir girl. She walks around in a leather leotard-looking outfit that fits like a thong in back and a glove up front. Needless to say, she is proportioned like Lara Croft, only leaving less to the imagination. Since you play the game from a third person behind-the-character perspective, you have a nice view of her ass hanging out the leather thong. Do I have a problem with this? Hell no! I kept trying to position her just right so...um, never mind.
This game had a few things that I did not really like. The character control was difficult at times. It's the standard 3D game problems. The camera isn't behind you when you need it behind you, or when you are trying to jump onto a moving platform, you jump the wrong way because you think it should be the correct direction. All in all, it is not quite as bad as some of the others out there, but it was still a bit of an annoyance.
Another thing I didn't really like was that the swordfights were slow. Your sword was slow and hitting the enemy was slow. It seemed as though you were left open and vulnerable because you could not attack fast enough. You also had to get up pretty close to the enemies, which left you even more vulnerable. The spells did help you out somewhat, but when you are out of spells, you really had no choice but to use the sword or other hand-held weapon.
I am not a big fan of games that make you find switches. You spend about 90 percent of your time looking for a switch to open up another room with a switch so you can flip that switch only to find the ground rise up and lead you to another switch. I think you get the point.
The graphics in this game were pretty good but a bit dark at times. The 3D environment created was very believable and creepy. You definitely got the feeling that you were tooling around down in a dungeon somewhere. Also, the enemies were awesome. I really enjoyed chopping off the heads of the little goblin dudes and watching them fly off into the distance. Also, that little leather thong just made me...what? Time to move on?
Deathtrap Dungeon is a pretty cool game backed by a great idea. I did find myself wanting to keep pushing forward just to see what was next. There were a bit too many switches to be tripped for my liking and the control was tough at times, but overall you should enjoy this game for awhile. Once you finish the game, though, you may not be too excited about trying to finish it with the other character; you will find flipping the switches a second time around becomes almost a chore. All in all, if you are a fan of switch flippers, you should have a good time for quite a while with this game.
Give Lara Croft a sword, trim those shorts to thong width, add monsters, spells, and traps galore, and you pretty much have Deathtrap Dungeon in a nutshell.
In all fairness, besides the comely Red Lotus, there's a hunky barbarian, Chaindog, who you can play as; but what's the point? Deathtrap Dungeon was made with one and only one purpose in mind--to have fun. So, if you slay several beasts and solve a few puzzles along the way, why not do it watching a gorgeous female the whole time?
Unfortunately, Red is a lot less detailed than she should be. DD's graphics are very similar to those of the original Tomb Raider, as is the 3D platform action. You jump from platform to platform through 10 levels, activating hidden elevators, finding keys, and slashing enemies.
Although the bloody gameplay does have limited appeal, the game's real fun lies in solving the small puzzles or locating hidden areas. And before you start, give the manual a thorough read-handling your sword and mastering the jumps is gonna take practice.
Dungeon's not a great game, but it does hold your attention for a while. Take our sword for it--you shouldn't give up on DD until you've rented it for a weekend.
PROTIP: Always press the Action button near any strange-looking or discolored walls. You never know what might pop up (or pop open).
Lots of messy clipping problems and some seriously chunky polygons make Red Lotus's ass look like it was made out of Legos. The imps look cool, but other monsters just won't frighten you.
The problems that plagued Lara in the original Tomb Raider are back: Bad camera placement, off-kilter jumping (including some blind leaps of faith), and a sword with a mind of its own will have you begging for release from this Deathtrap.
The thematic music fits each sequence of events, and audio cues (like doors opening and monsters huffing and puffing) are a necessity-but the thrill is gone after a few levels.
Fortunately, the game's solid adventure overshadows its graphics and control flaws. All of the action (and then some) and exploration that made Lara Croft a star is readily apparent in Deathtrap Dungeon's murky lair.
Snapshots and Media
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