Dark... and delusional...


    With the release of Deception III: Dark Delusion, Tecmo's trap-setting series becomes the latest to see three full installments on the PlayStation, doing so in solid - if unspectacular - fashion. When the first Deception game was released three years ago, it presented an original twist in not only gameplay, but in story and atmosphere as well. Unfortunately, while the graphics have evolved, the story has become more traditional and the replay value has largely remained the same.

    Tecmo's Deception, the first title in the series, had the player assuming the role of someone who accpeted help from Satan in order to avenge his wrongful prosecution. Deception III instead places you in the role of Reina, a fairly typical 17-year old gaming babe whose family has been murdered before her eyes by an evil despot. She is then ordered to search the island where her family was brought for stones that provide their holder with power. This is a dark plot, and fairly well executed, but it doesn't crackle with the same originality that once graced the series.

Flaming death

    The graphics are functional above all else, with an adequate 3-D engine and managable enough camera system. Good camera control is crucial in Deception III, as you must constantly watch your enemies' placement to know when traps must be triggered, often while trying to run in the opposite direction at the same time. Trap animation is fairly impressive, including a nifty zoom-in effect whenever a trap hits its target. The rest of the game's animations and textures are fairly standard, but much like Castlevania, the series has always traded more on atmosphere than pure graphical prowess -- and that atmosphere remains intact here.

    Deception's trap-based gameplay, while tweaked, has also remained largely unchanged since its first installment. Where Deception III attempts to move the series forward is through including a few new gameplay modes and in allowing creation of your own traps. There is a new Trap License Mode (training) to work on your basics and an Expert Mode (puzzles) that gives you dozens of pre-set challenges to work past, making a nice distraction for the sadist in all of us. Trap creation includes basic trap types and four elemental types as well. With the discovery and use of rings, emblems, and orbs, players can create traps that vary in their destructive powers and speed. The true fun comes from creating Rube Goldberg-like trap combos, such as a floor panel that throws an intruder into a bomb right before he's smashed by a moving wall into a swinging pendulum blade.

No, I won't go out with you!
Wrong place, wrong time

    As much fun as creatively causing death is, there is only so much pleasure one can derive from setting multi-trap combos. The game is also relatively linear in nature, and after a few hours, the impressively done score and creepy sound effects can also start to feel a bit repetitive. A multiplayer mode, while difficult to pull off, is a concept that could keep Deception fans entertained for a very, very long time. As it stands, there isn't too much new meat outside of the Expert Mode and trap creation, but for those new to the idea of dropping flaming boulders on their enemies, "Dark Delusion" gives a strong sense of the slightly twisted gameplay and atmosphere which has come to define the Deception series.

Review by Ed McGlothlin, GIA
Deception III
Developer Tecmo
Publisher Tecmo
Genre Adventure
Medium CD (1)
Platform Sony PlayStation
Release Date  12.09.99
Tecmo announces third Deception title
62 screen shots / promo movie
North American box art