Night Trap

Game Data:

  • Review Date: June 19, 2021
  • Release Date: January 1, 1995 (for this version; the original was October 15, 1992)
  • Platform: Sega 32X
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Digital Pictures
  • Genre: Horror

Anecdotes: It would be impossible to write about this game without mentioning the Senate fiasco over it back in the 90s. As everyone knows, when the government gets involved in something, bad things happen. Apparently, in 1993, there were complaints about Night Trap and its violent and sexual situations. Some Senators were addressing these complaints, but as they were doing it, it was quite evident, just like government today, that they had no idea what they were talking about. It was clear that they never played the game. There was no sex and the violence was more comical than anything. This all gave birth to the ESRB, which still rates games today. Of course, the ESRB knows better what kids need to be overprotected from than the kids’ own parents.

The game stars Suzy Cote, J. Bill Jones, and Dana Plato. If that third name sounds familiar, it’s either because of her work on Diff’rent Strokes or it’s because of her sad, tragic death. Plato died in 1999 by overdosing on drugs at the age of 34.

In Night Trap, though, Plato is one of the leads and she gets to shine on her own. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the one that got the most screen time from the whole cast. Plato, however, viewed this role as a step backwards in her career. I disagree with her assessment. For one, she was never a breakout star, and her role as Kimberly Drummond was always overshadowed by Gary Coleman. Second, that role never bloomed into anything greater. Finally, because of all of Plato’s psychological and drug problems, her frame of mind is highly questionable. At least she had work; having a bad gig usually is better than no gig at all.

Description: I’m completely lost. I’ve read Wikipedia. I’ve read the manual. I’ve played the first part of the game. I seriously have no idea what the hell is going on. Here’s what I did manage to understand:

  • Sarah Martin (Suzy Cote) is having a slumber party and we’re supposed to protect her friends from getting killed by augers. Something is off about her. I don’t trust her at all.
  • Kelly (Dana Plato, “Diff’rent Strokes”) is one of the girls at the party, but she’s actually a spy working for us and occasionally talks directly to us.
  • We can “trap” augers by switching the camera to the room they’re in and setting a trap. This protects the girls. There’s also a color code involved, too.
  • If the feed cuts to Lt. Simms (J. Bill Jones), it’s game over. Generally, this happened to me each time I allowed about 40 augers to get away. It can also happen if any of the girls gets captured.
Lt. Simms (J. Bill Jones) fires me yet again because I had trouble figuring out how the traps work.


  • While I’d consider the color codes an overall negative, I found a positive from it. The code always starts on blue, so for the first part of the game, players don’t have to worry about it. This means players can focus on the characters.
  • To me, the standout characters were Kelly and Sarah. Part of that is how I liked the actresses, but it is also because they seemed like the most significant.
    • Kelly is our spy and is helping us monitor the house. Kelly refers to us as “Control” when she talks to us directly. This is a nice touch, as it completely sets this up as game film as opposed to a standard movie. It also makes the player feel less like an unwanted spy and more like part of a team with an objective. This sets Kelly up as our sidekick, like Robin to Batman.
    • Sarah is the shady host whom I’m almost certain is up to something. She starts the game creepily smiling at the camera before walking away into a secret exit. She seems very deliberate, almost zombified. Everything she does reeks of “don’t trust this girl.” Suzy Cote did a nice job of pulling this character off. She nails the awkwardness of the role, while at the same time, she cranks up viewers’ discomfort by clearly showing us she’s not normal.
Kelly (left) and Sarah (right) have a conversation in which Kelly finds Sarah a bit strange. (These are two good looking ladies, by the way, so I really wish the image could have been clearer.)


  • Figuring out which camera to view is purely a matter of trial and error. There is nothing to indicate which camera the augers will appear on, nor is there any way to know the code color changed if the wrong camera was on.
  • Setting the traps is a frustrating exercise. First off, the access has to be correct. There are six colors and players have to be aware of any changes. Then there is a threat bar below. It needs to be up to the red area to successfully spring the trap. This becomes a huge problem when there’s maybe one second to spring the trap and the chance NEVER returns. If players find the camera after that point, they get to watch the augers escape and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
  • Not only are the traps difficult to spring, but the code color is randomly determined starting with the first change. This makes things a bit more complicated, especially if the new code was missed.
  • I find it hard to believe these events are happening as quickly as the on-screen timer indicates. The girls arrived, did a little dancing, went to the lake, came back, and got ready for bed, all within 10 minutes. Right.
  • I’ll have to check out the second half of the game (I looked at a walkthrough to find the video runs about 25 minutes), but Lisa, Megan, Ashley, Tony, Jeff, and Victor all seem very bland at the moment.


Nobody notices any of this? They’re right in the middle of the house. By the way, I was still learning the basics at this point, which is why I have the code as Red and no captures.
Are they here to install a toilet in the bathroom?
The Martins have nothing to worry about as I haven’t trapped anything yet.
Hey, I figured out how to work the traps!
Sarah follows Kelly into the bedroom. What could possibly go wrong?
Lisa (Debra Parks) is being watched by an auger. She thinks it’s Megan being a prankster. This scene, apparently, was the source of the controversy.
Simms fired me again right after this.
There’s a portion of the cast. I’m not sure what any of them are doing in 2021.

Final Opinion: This game offered full video, which was quite innovative and not seen before at that time. That part is very good, but the gameplay is frustrating and a lot of trial and error. It’s worth trying out to see Plato and Cote and to see the story, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for skipping this.

Grade: C

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