A trip to the market turns into a fight for survival when you are abducted and knocked unconscious. When you awaken, you find yourself in a dark cell. Will you just check out the sealed door, with its keypad? Will you try to figure out how to unlock the trap door or will you search the bookcase? Will you make smart use of the stove or will you make the same mistake that I did? And if you do figure out how to escape the first room, will you be able to find your way out of the abandoned theme park in which you’ve been imprisoned?
Deathtrap is an old school text adventure, one where it’s important to carefully read descriptions, search everything that you can possibly search, and not waste too much time while doing it. It’s also a game that rewards those who are good at solving puzzles. Puzzles, of course, are my main weakness when it comes to Interactive Fiction. I’m terrible at puzzles. I’m the player who dies in a dozen different ways before I finally figure out how to survive and usually, that’s just because I’ve exhausted every other option. Usually, I can only solve puzzles by default.
My fear of puzzles aside, I enjoyed Deathtrap. It’s a well-written game and it’s challenging without being impossible. (I died several times but I imagine people who can actually solve puzzles might not have that problem.) The vivid prose does good job of putting you in the reality of being trapped in a dark and dangerous place and it doesn’t shy away from the consequences of going down the wrong hallway or opening the wrong door. It’s hard not to respect a game that will kill your character just because you randomly opened the wrong door or went the wrong direction or made the wrong decision when it came time to choose whether you wanted to walk or crawl down a hallway. It’s challenging but it’s also very rewarding when you actually do succeed in surviving and escaping. How long will it take you to find your way out?