Deathtrap Dungeon

Eidos takes a whip at Fighting Fantasy but molds it into a dull Tomb Raider clone.

These... ugh... things, can do some crazy damage.

These things – whatever the hell they’re supposed to be – deal insane amounts of damage,

Deathtrap Dungeon is based on Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy series, a choose-your-own-adventure set of books with added role-playing flourishings (you need a pair of dice and a character sheet to get through them – not exactly D&D but still good fun). Unlike Livingstone’s lightweight adventure books (which are chiefly aimed at kids and teens), Deathtrap Dungeon the video game is a bloody third-person dungeon romp with enough T&A to hold a whole pack of prepubescent boys at bay for the duration – it’s enough to make Lara Croft blush. While it’s definitely no Tomb Raider, it’s nonetheless down the same lineage.

Pick either the brawny barbarian Chaindog or the buxom and trampy Red Lotus, whose naively doe-eyed face and leather-clad body suggests a submissive-aggressive wet dream, and traverse the dangers of a treasure-filled dungeon lair. There are 13 weapons, ranging from magical swords to a flamethrower, blunderbuss, an archaic rocket launcher, war hammers and  even “warpigs” that, once let loose, run around wildly until they blow up.

The monsters run through the standard fantasy baddies list: axe-wielding zombies, death knights, grim reapers, an extremely limber sword wielding femme with a distinct dislike for excess clothing. The monster AI is virtually non-existent, but what the game lacks in smarts it makes up for with sheer numbers. Adding to the ambulatory hazards are the deathtraps of the title, each room greeting you with collapsing floors, crushing walls and monsters spawning in the worst imaginable spots.

Learning to Walk All Over Again


Lara tries on her new latex jumpsuit.

On the downside you can only save in certain key locations. The game’s controls are terribly unresponsive with either gamepad or keyboard, the camera is painfully unwieldy and it’s often difficult to tell what’s going on in a fight. The game’s damn difficult as well, with certain enemies liable to kill you within a couple of hits, frequently ganging up whenever in a horde.

Deathtrap Dungeon is a challenging and violent game with enough entertainment and mayhem to make it somewhat worthy of consideration; however, the lousy save game function, poor controls and unworkable camera angles really bring it down.

In the end it’s probably the wrong genre altogether – the FF series were story-driven role-playing game books, to which turning one into a hack and slash adventure just seems misplaced at best.

System Requirements: 90MHz Pentium, 16 MB RAM, 120 MB HDD, Windows 95

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