Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The joy of traps

4:00 PM on 04.25.2012 // Chris Carter
  @DtoidChris

When you think of the word "trap," what's the first thing that comes to mind? If your psyche isn't in the darkest depths of the catacombs, you're probably thinking of a mechanical device with the purpose of inflicting harm up on another entity. How could that not bring joy to your heart?

For some reason, the prospect of out-crafting other AI and unsuspecting players cures me like a Black Forest ham. There's a certain sense of accomplishment in luring people into traps that virtual shooting, stabbing, punching, or any form of maiming can't replicate. It's a shame that there aren't more trap-setting games, because playing them is one of my greatest joys in gaming.

Mega Man. Prince of Persia. Tomb Raider. When you think of these games, many of you may be reminded of the numerous spike traps that led to the untimely demise of your digital avatar, and possibly the demise of your actual controller. Of course, one can only think of themselves in this situation, but what about the poor contractors that were conscripted in Dr. Wily's army -- the saps who actually designed those labyrinths? Are they not people too?

What if you could outwit your opponent with a combination of crafty cudgels and catapults? Of course, tower defense prides itself on setting up giant obelisks of power ready to crush your enemies with a single blow, but most of the time, you're not fighting in the trenches in favor of an omniscient God-like overview of the battlefield. The feeling of actually being in the thick of things is another emotion entirely that a lot of people sadly miss out on.

While I could fill an ocean with my appreciation for trap-setting games, I'll just share a few of my personal favorites that I feel exemplify my love for the genre.

Imagine that you're the keeper of a secret mansion -- the sentinel for an undying, God-like race. Now picture a bunch of jealous humans trying to break in and mess things up for said Gods. As young slave girl Millennia, your loyalty is called into question as you balance the scales between those who wield power and those who seek it. That's basically Deception II in a nutshell, and the result is an awesome explosion of trap crafting to the most epic Rube Goldbergian proportions!

Deception II, in essence, gives you a bunch of ground, wall, and ceiling traps and then sets you loose on a cavalcade of enemies from ninjas to mages to knights armored head to toe. The big tactical catch is that you are completely defenseless when it comes to hand-to-hand or ranged combat -- your survival hinges entirely on your ability to out-Goldberg your opponents.

Friends, there is no better feeling than nabbing someone in a bear trap as you cue a giant Indiana Jones boulder down a nearby stairwell, then watch them panic as you quell their fears (and their body temperature) with a well-placed cold arrow. Traps sound so much more fun when you're not on the receiving end of them, don't they?

Deception II is basically a sadistic 3D version of The Incredible Machine, which is pretty much the best thing ever. In what is truly a unique experience, the Deception series is unrivaled when it comes to 3D trap action.


While the rush of Deception can't be echoed quite so easily, another game that brings me great joy is a title that happens to be one of the only competitive multiplayer games in the genre: Trap Gunner. While you have the ability to both shoot projectiles and perform melee attacks here, the meat of your damage is going to come from setting traps. Luckily, the game comes with one of the most amazing mechanics of all time: the ability to search, uncover, and disarm traps.

Trap Gunner allowed you to be the Sherlock Holmes of action games, adding the mechanic to search suspicious areas for traps in your proximity -- if you find one, you're able to disarm it through a random QTE. Of course, your enemy could spot you and blow you to kingdom come, triggering the trap.

This creates a unique cat-and-mouse situation, where you have to weigh the prudence of setting or disarming traps at any given moment. The idea that any given square could have a deadly bomb on it is pretty nerve-racking and makes for a pretty stressful experience, one that's fairly unique to the trap-setting genre!

My absolute favorite thing to do is set up a minimum of five push traps that elaborately force my opponent across the entire map and into a stack of TNT so gigantic it would make Looney Toon's ACME Corporation jealous. I remember spending afternoons planning out levels on paper in a grid-like fashion, deciding the best places to place certain traps -- not many contemporary games are capable of providing that feeling, and I miss it.

The above two games are classic, but what better way to reintroduce the genre than a title that lets you slaughter hordes of angry orcs? Orcs are the picture-perfect Xeno-Scapegoat for killing and maiming -- just ask anybody!

Topped off by a kickass gothic rock soundtrack, Orcs Must Die! bestows upon you the honor of killing hundreds of greenskins (sometimes in a single level) and other such creatures. The setup is kind of like Sanctum but less tower-defense oriented. Your avatar is also the exact opposite of the one in Deception II -- your playable Warrior Mage can kill, maim, slice, and shoot his way to victory even without the help of traps.

Fortunately, said traps are extremely useful, especially with the ability to summon NPC archers and knights to join your cause. While there aren't as many elaborate Goldberg-esque combinations, there are still a few, like springboard floor traps and vent traps that can lift your enemies into danger.

Orcs Must Die! doesn't do anything spectacularly unique, but it does everything extremely well, especially for an indie, budget-priced title. If you're at all interested in the trap-setting genre and share my joy, Orcs Must Die! is a great place to get started.

There are tons of other trap classes in games like Diablo II and World of Warcraft that weren't mentioned here. You could easily compare the genre of tower defense in many ways, even if you aren't necessarily always in the trenches (Sanctum!). 

Traps themselves are also found all over the gaming world. Games like Metal Gear Solid feature claymores and other such proximity-based traps. Mario Kart prides itself on player-set traps. Night Trap ... need I say more? While the genre itself is dwindling in favor of more tower defense games, as it stands, I'm lying in wait, ready to trap my next joy. GoldenEye 64 proximity mines only, anyone?

[Thanks for the game images, Sir Tobbii!]



Chris Carter, Reviews Director, Co-EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wait... Is that...? Could it be...? It IS! Gravity Rush's Kat has taken a break from rushing and graviting to sacrifice some souls in Soul Sacrifice Delta! Which isn't even going for $8 on the PS Store right now! What a steal!
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Finally got my in game time down to under an hour in Super Metroid. I'm pretty happy about that.
Shinta avatarShinta
https://killscreen.com/articles/falling-through-a-100-million-stories-in-gravity-rush-remastered/ Really great article about Gravity Rush's director (director of Silent Hill), and his 1970s French comic influences.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Unpopular opinion time: I not only consider Kanye West to be one of my favorite rappers of all-time — yes, I'm being serious — but he's one of the very few people in the world whom I'd consider to be a role model. I truly wish he would notice me one d
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Trying to play through Undertale's Genocide Route. After forcing myself to kill the Greater Dog, I'm really not sure if I'm emotionally capable of handling this game anymore...
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
"I would buy [game] if I had a Wii U." THEN WHY DON'T YOU!? "I don't want to." So you want to play [game] but you're not willing to buy hardware to play it? "Yes." Guess you don't really want to play [game]. "No, Nintendo should make games for Xbox." ಠ_
Torchman avatarTorchman
Nathan D, they say ROCKET PUNCH!
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
There should be an online multiplayer version of Gwent.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Torchman, what do the five fingers say to the face?
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Can we just get a yarn version of Bionic Commando already?
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Alright. All Waifu are garbage because they're all fake. There, I said it.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
All of your waifus when someone gives them a dollar.
Torchman avatarTorchman
IN THE NAME OF GLORIOUS ZEUS, I PROCLAIM YOUR WAIFU TO BE SHIT
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Alright, Torchboy. If it'll shut yo ass up about our waifus, here is Yukiko's privileged little white bum presented for your, uh, "pleasure".
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Obligatory: All these waifus are best waifus. Yours ain't got shit.
Shinta avatarShinta
Just platinum'd Gravity Rush Remastered in 3 days. Super hyped for Gravity Rush 2.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Several minutes into Spectre and I swear I thought I put on a hentai by mistake.
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
Uncontrollable with slightly less Engrish.
Scrustle avatarScrustle
Hachi Roku is my waifu.
Occams avatarOccams
#Darksiders2
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -