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Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

Retro Night: Deception III: Dark Delusion

Tecmo’s Deception series, which began with Tecmo’s Deception: Invitation to Darkness in July 1996, is a realtime strategy RPG series which focuses on more passive combat. The latest in the series Trapt, the fourth titles, was released in June 2005 for the PS2. In between the first and the fourth came the third: Deception III: Dark Delusion, the last for the original Playstation. Unfortunately, very little information is available online regarding who the top minds behind the series are or whatever else they’ve worked on.

What sets the Deception series apart from other action/strategy-RPGs is that main character is physically weak. To make up for this, the character has a magical ability that allows them to spawn various insidious traps to deal with invaders. The third game, starring a young girl named Reina who is pursued by the forces of a tyrannical king, is mission-based, with each mision providing different locations and different types of enemies to deal with. Variety comes through in the number of different traps and situations you can engineer, and in setting up and executing a perfect series of traps that Rube Goldberg would be proud of. It does get fairly repetitive after only a few missions as the game has just one gameplay idea which is continues from start to finish, but it doesn’t necessarily make the game boring as it does that idea fairly well. Controlling Reina in the level is a bit clunky, due to the tank-like movement, but setting up and setting off the various traps is easy and intuitive. Aside from the three trap types that Reine can summon [floor, wall, and ceiling], there are also a number of environmental hazards such as a candelabra that can be dropped on enemies, a collapsible bridge, and other death-dealing devices that can be set off.

The game does have a story, told through cutscenes in-between missions, but it’s kind of hard to get a feeling for what’s really going on. In part because it probably doesn’t make much sense anyway, but also because the translation is a very poor one riddled with grammatical errors and just being badly written overall. It’s not a major issue because story isn’t too important in a game like this, but it is annoying because of how many cutscenes there are in this game. They’re also fairly simple, mainly comprised of people standing around talking about this or that. You can probably just skip them and not feel as though you’ve really missed anything important.

The graphics are nicely detailed for a PS1 game and the character models have a somewhat Vagrant Story-look about them, although that’s about as far as the comparison between the two games goes. The game has music, but I honestly can’t remember much about it. It’s at least not annoying, so that’s something.

Deception III is a darkly fun game. Some of the traps you can string together are works of brutal beauty. On the other hand, the gameplay gets a bit repetitive after only a few missions and there’s not much on offer aside from setting up traps and killing people in ingenious manners. It’s $15 on Amazon, which is probably too much.


May 12, 2010 - Posted by | Games, Retro Night | , ,

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