Thursday, May 17, 2012

Memory Lane: Deathtrap Dungeon

In this installment of Memory Lane, Humor Tumor shares with us his experiences with Deathtrap Dungeon. Could this Tomb Raider clone be nearly as good as those first Lara Croft adventures? No. It wasn't.

A long long time ago, I was a very special child. And by special, I mean fairly stupid. From my love of the movie Bio-Dome, to my never ending want to drink plain chicken broth, I was an idiot.

A sure sign of quality.
But this isn't about those cases of idiocy. This is a case of my desperate need for new games. You see, being young and all, I had very little spare money to spend. I wasn't selective about which games I bought. I got anything, regardless of whether it was horrible or not. One day I happened to be at the local store, and my eye caught Deathtrap Dungeon.

Based upon an adventure gamebook of some sorts, this game had true potential to have a well fleshed out and gripping world. Sadly, the game disregards most of it, instead having just the bare minimum to make it work into the fiction. What could have been a deep RPG rooted game instead took the form of an action adventure slog. To say the least, it was a huge opportunity missed.

Deathtrap Dungeon is a true example of how bad you can make a Tomb Raider clone. This is strange, considering it was published by Eidos, the same exact people who unleashed Tomb Raider unto this world. Then again it's not so strange, considering Tomb Raider pretty much went on a steady nose dive to awful, which culminated in Angel of Darkness.

Deathtrap Dungeon is worse than the worst of those later Tomb Raider games. I would say it's nigh unplayable. I recall at one point in time I spent a good...oh...30 minutes trying to jump to a platform, and if I missed the platform, I died. Another time, I spent what seemed like forever trying to fight these snake ladies. I would die so fast, it seemed to me like you'd need perfect skills to perform what it expected of you. And this is only by the third level. There's still a whole game left after that.

Take, for instance, this gripping video:

Now remember, even for a 13 year old I could tell this was garbage. I mean, I played through a lot of awful games; crap like X-Squad, Soldier of Fortune: Payback and Darkstone, games that made me give up in rage. But only this game has made me stop less than a couple hours in. With the inability to even navigate the levels, or do anything really, I saw no saving grace.

Better looking than Deathtrap Dungeon....
And did I try to like it at first. I tried to justify all the troubles I had. And slowly that faded into a seething hatred for this game. The little purple goblin people who seem to annoy me every time I see one. The minotaurs who teleport into the labyrinth if you don't get through in time (read: impossible with those controls). The snake ladies, and the awful controls. Controlling this game was like walking with stilts with an inner ear disorder, while being hit in the knees with golf balls. Not to mention the graphics. Sure it was a PS1 game, but the graphics made Gilbert Godfrey look like a super model.

My one saving grace about this game is I had a friend. This friend of mine had a game he couldn't play, because he always died at the beginning. I told him I had a game I was willing to trade him for it, and I told him it was a garbage game. He didn't care, he just wanted a different game. Turns out the game he had was Resident Evil 2, a game I consider to be one of the best of all time. I never looked back at that trade.

And my friend?

Well, we aren't friends anymore.

Humor Tumor is currently on a trek to find all the blasts from the past he can. Up next he will talk about his childhood love, Gunstar Heroes.


  1. Ouch! This looks truly painful! On a side note, Darkstone was the game that sold me on getting a PS1. And it's terrible. I think I still have my copy lying around somewhere

    1. Darkstone was one of those $10 bargain bin games I found. I got to the very end of it though, just couldn't deal with the torture that was the final boss. I may touch upon that in a future article.

  2. The only thing I recall about this game is using a piece of chalk to draw arrows on shit.

    Also, this reminds me of another game, that is not even kind of related in any sort of way. Anyone play Kagero 2? Shit was rad.

  3. When walking home the other evening I found that someone had thrown away two PS2s, one worked and is modified, the other not. So now I have a chance to finish Deathtrap Dungeon...