Deathtrap Dungeon: The Interactive Video Adventure – Review
Follow Genre: Choose-your-own-adventure, interactive video
Developer: Branching Narrative Ltd
Publisher: Branching Narrative Ltd
Platform: PC, Mac, Android
Tested on: PC

Deathtrap Dungeon: The Interactive Video Adventure – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Great story with exciting turns and twists
Bad: Some decisions feel like they should have been yours to make
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Perhaps those from a past generation still remember Deathtrap Dungeon. This used to be an interactive choose-your-own-path type of book from 1984, and later on it turned into an action-adventure game that got released for PS1 and PC in 1998. With the gradual increasing popularity of Dungeons & Dragons and similar tabletop games over the last few years, it may come as no surprise that Deathtrap Dungeon, as a story, has been used to create an interactive one-on-one video adventure.

Story

The Interactive Video Adventure of Deathtrap Dungeon follows the original set-up of the book. Baron Sukumvit designed an insane contraption that challenges all adventurers, no matter who they are, to traverse the insane layout of rooms, tunnels, monsters, and fellow adventurers. You will never know what you can expect unless receiving literal hints that might help you in a situation by obtaining them in a different room, and every choice could be your last one. You need your wits and luck to keep on going, but fortunately, this Video Adventure also offers a lot of save points that you can easily get back to by opening a map and choosing an automated save point from any location you previously visited.

Graphics

Besides the map, for the biggest part, Deathtrap Dungeon shows you a single narrator who tells you what’s going on. Sitting in a chair, this narrator (Eddie Marsan) is accompanied by a HUD showing you information about a variety of statistics such as your hit points (stamina), how well you will fare in combat (skill), or if you get out of dangerous situations unscathed (luck). Sometimes, sketches are shown to elaborate further on a certain situation or to describe a creature with some visual strokes, but most of the time it’s just you, listening and watching the narrator to follow along with the story. It’s rather effective once you got into it, making your imagination work like you would read an actual book.

Sound

Sound is an important part of the audio-visual experience. Creatures and changes in the environment are backed up by sounds belonging to those elements. Rockslides, buzzing bees, crackling fire… in many ways, it’s a classic array of sounds that a traditional advanced Dungeon Master would also have up his sleeve to enhance his story. For a rough 90% of the times, these sounds work great. The other 10% seems just a tad too generalized and could have been done better with more custom-made effects, but that’s just a small sidenote compared to all the things that this adaptation of Deathtrap Dungeon is doing right. Also, Eddie Marsan’s voice is a pleasure to listen to.

Gameplay

As you give yourself over to the narrator, there is actually little to do in terms of gameplay other than choosing between two to four choices that ask the ever old tabletop dungeon question: ”What do you do?”. If you see a treasure in a room, will you go one of three ways to continue on your path or will you try to pick up the treasure? It’s a branching narrative adventure that makes sense as Branching Narrative is also the literal name of the developer/publisher behind Deathtrap Dungeon: The Interactive Video Adventure.

The downside to all of this is that, at times, you can only pick the options available to you and you don’t know when the game decides that you can’t head back the way you came from or when there’s an option missing that you would have liked to see in a certain situation. From that perspective, the game feels somewhat limiting at times, but there’s a great deal of content to view and many ways to die, where the saving system previously described also offers the option to head back and try a completely different approach. So replaying the game is also advised if you want to fully enjoy everything Deathtrap Dungeon has to offer.

At times you are asked to throw some dice, especially in combat. During this time you will compare your own skill with your opponent’s and add it to your dice rolls. If you fail, you lose some hit points (stamina), so it’s always best to win all three required battle rolls. It’s a nice alternation compared to listening, reading, and deciding. That being said, sometimes the narrator rolls for you to check your skill or luck, which, despite being randomized, can also feel a bit limiting once again.

The real allure of Deathtrap Dungeon is that it’s such high-quality fantasy-rich content that it’s an enjoyable experience for everybody, as well as a heap of inspiration for the creative D&Ders and other fantasy-lovers and/or writers among us. The small remarks you can have about the entire game does not take away that The Interactive Video Adventure gives you an exciting experience which allows you, just like the original written piece, to be a bold adventurer in a strange, mad environment.

Conclusion

Deathtrap Dungeon: The Interactive Video Adventure is precisely what it says, and it does a great job in guiding you on an adventure like having a personal Dungeon Master who has prepared an elaborate experience for you in twisted and damp environments. There’s more than enough content to overlook that you would like to have more control over certain choices or situations, and it’s a highly enjoyable experience as it bridges the gap between (audio)books and videogames.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Deathtrap Dungeon: The Interactive Video Adventure - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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