Review by sanhedrin

Reviewed: 09/06/02 | Updated: 09/06/02

And you thought GTA3 was morally reprehensible...

Kagero: Deception 2 is the only game I’ve ever played that made me feel like I was a bad person. I was going for a perfect kill score, see, and when the unarmed peasant woman and her child showed up, I had no choice but to catch them in a bear trap, spray them with poison gas, and shoot them with flaming arrows. What else was I supposed to do? Let them live?

This is the kind of game they made the videogame rating system for. Not so much because it has copious amounts of violence but because it requires you to play with devious cruelty and utter disdain for human life. Most games punish players for attacking innocent bystanders. Deception 2 actually rewards it. It’s the videogame equivalent of the Republican Party.

The gameplay of Deception 2 is very simple. You are the bad guy. Your job is to defend different castles from intruders. In a departure from common videogame convention, you are unable to jump or attack. The only way you can kill your opponents is to place traps around the castle and use yourself as human bait to lead the good guys into them. Each room can have a trap hidden in the floor, walls, and ceiling. The idea is to use all three of your traps and any environmental dangers in the room like lava pits and spikes to catch your target in a trap combo that delivers mondo damage and points. The easiest way to start a combo is with an immobilizing trap like a magnetic wall, vacuum floor, or bear trap. Then it’s easier to target your target with the spinning saw blades or lava-filled vases. For example, in my favorite combo I caught a guy in a bear trap, used a moving wall to push him into an electric chair that happened to be in the room, then sprayed him with confusion gas until he wandered back into the bear trap and the whole combo repeated. Ain’t I a stinker?

The longer your combos, the more points you get. Points can then be used to purchase new kinds of traps, from projectiles and falling objects to electrified floors and rolling bombs. Some of the enemies later in the game are immune to certain kinds of traps, so it helps to diversify. Instead of giant spiked boulder, why not try out a land mine?

Downsides: The translation job in Deception 2 is just about as horrible as any other game imported from the Land of the Rising Sun. The cutscenes before and after every level can get a bit tedious since all they do is introduce who’s next on you dance card. And once you find a swell combo that works consistently, you’re better off just using it over and over rather than trying out new combinations of traps. These are all rather small qualms with what is overall a thumbs-up game.

So if you’ve got a real hankering to smash a ninja or a defenseless old man on the head with a solid lead 6 foot sphere, it’s much easier for you to do so in Kagero: Deception 2 than in real life. If you have ethical misgivings about killing innocent people in cold blood, and you probably should, you can rest easy knowing that by playing Deception 2 you are only desensitizing yourself to cruelty and sadism instead of acting out your crippling bloodlust in the real world.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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