By Al Giovetti, 03/10/97
First there were platform games, and with time they got better, like Zorro. In a platform game you jump from platform to platform working yourself through a maze. If you miss a jump, you plummet to the deck below often to your death.
The perspective is third person in platform games often from the side, as a side scroller. Some games used overhead perspective in the early days. Most of these games have been replaced with Doom clones and other three dimensional games. SoulTrap is a mix between platform games and three dimensional games.
Company LineAwake to your worst nightmares, as SoulTrap takes you on a hauntingly surreal journey into the darkest recesses of the human mind.
Prepare to face your greatest fears, as SoulTrap takes you into a deadly nightmare world of intense terror and lethal surroundings. You'll step inside the twisted dreams of Malcolm West, and face the fears that have plagued him throughout his entire life. Let your mind free-fall into a series of deranged, dream-like environments that are constantly moving and changing in 3D space. Platforms move to block your path, as you battle hostile phobias manifested in various forms. With each addictive level you'll slip further into your madness, until you're forced to face your most horrifying fears and save your own soul!
There are eleven progressively harder levels each with special powerups and weapons. Weapons include the magical battle axe, a 45 cal automatic pistol, grenade launcher, the mysterious Glazier pistol, and over a dozen others. Powerups include medikits, health fields, bandages, pharmacy clone device, Jar of Tar to stick when you land on platforms and others. Keys are needed to get from level to level and they are found on each section.
Third person perspective from behind the character, with lots of blurry and blocky polygonal characters all around. A first person view plus a variety of third person camera angles allow for a uniquely playable game. Players can toggle between these views at any time to enhance gameplay. A special smart camera feature automatically prevents obstacles from obstructing your view. This feature will enhance your targeting and movement abilities.
Hidden clues, deadly secrets and constantly changing environments add a unique strategic element to gameplay.
The plot starts with a line from Petronius which indicates that at least the folks at Microforum have a knowledge of literature. The plot is a short two page description in the game manual (pg. 4-5). You play the part of Malcolm West, a young man plagued with horrible dreams and who has had a love of horror films from his youth. His dreams dwell on his fears of drowning, falling from heights, and nine others which are explored on each level. The fear of drowning level is all underwater.
The dreams are about heights and falling from them, while suspended from platforms. These are dreams that we all have and we have witnessed them on the saturday morning cartoons, vicariously watching the cartoon heros go through what many of us only faintly remember from our dreams. As Malcolm gets older , the dreams become progressively more involved, and grow longer and longer until, Malcolm is trapped within his dreams of deamons and platforms.
The graphics are a combination of clear adn fuzzy objects with lighting effects that cause light and dark areas. Surfaces are both shiny and matte depending on the type of textured graphic. The screens have a surreal crowded look consistent with dreams, that is somewhat enhanced by the pronounced background pixelation.
AnimationReal-Time 3D Movement in Soul Trap is enhanced by the floating camera that moves to avoid obsticles from blocking the view. SoulTrap features 360 degrees of full movement in a real-time, textured 3D world. Look up, down or side to side while enemies come at you from every angle. Customizable options let you adjust graphic detail and window size for optimal speed and maximum performance on any computer.
Voice ActorsThere are a variety of short human speech phrases that punctuate the action including "come on get em boys!," "how dare you interrupt me!," "You're making a big mistake!," "You'll regret this!," and others.
Music ScoreThe ambient music and background noises keep up a continuous mood. Each level has its own signature techno track to accompany and play on the basic fears portrayed.
Sound EffectsThree dimensional sound effects include guns firing, the splat of weapons creaming your enemies, screams, and other ambient noises, such as crickets chirping and winds howling, that keep up the tension.
Multi-player FeaturesSoultrap has no mulitplayer features.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
JournalistsJason and his co-writers in the April issue did not hand out scores easily. Does this mean Computer Games is peopled with skilled reviewers or just trying to look that way? Obviously Computer Games has competent reviewers, but when it seems like they are deliberately panning games for little reason, it may be some overriding lack of self confidence that motivates the move.
ReferencesGordon Goble, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 76, 40%.
Julie Gordon, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 11, April, 1997, pg. 63, 70%
Corey Cophen, PC Games, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 96, 75%.
Collin Williamson, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 5, May, 1997, pg. 113, 69%.
Microforum SoulTrap Web Page
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