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SoulTrap is the exciting, nightmarish saga of Malcolm West. From childhood, Malcolm has suffered from severe nightmares. He eventually learned to control them and was able to move on and become a successful account executive with a major computer manufacturer. Unfortunately, the nightmares are back, stronger than ever, and Malcolm is faced with the grim possibility that they just might kill him. That is, unless he can defeat them first. Therapy has shown him that his nightmares stem from common phobias that plaque people everywhere; fear of heights, drowning, technology, claustrophobia and death. With this knowledge Malcolm must now do battle, with your help, in this dreamscape and win back his soul.
You begin your journey in The Training Grounds which were inspired by Malcolm's summers at camp. Here you get a first hand look at the environment and are given a brief tutorial on what to expect, how to use the Jetboard and to get a feel for the physics of the game. Being able to jump and land successfully is crucial where the objects you have to land on are sometimes very small and moving. This area also includes a shooting range where you get to practice by shooting at targets which will give you a feel for coordinating the aiming and firing of the weapons you'll find along the way.
The next level is a Gothic nightmare that pits Malcolm against the Angel of Death himself. This is where the game really takes off and you get a feel for just how bad things are going to get for you and Malcolm as you delve deeper and deeper into his nightmares. A dark level with boiling lava ready to burn you to a crisp should you not make one of your landings. Point of advice, look for an out of the way place to stand to defeat the Angel of Death. The next level is Freek Park, a very colorful world of strange but cute creatures with Dopey the Clown keeping them all captive. Only you can free them by defeating Dopey. As you go higher, through Water Works, Vertigo, Top Secret, Future Shock and more you'll explore the truly demented state that is the nightmare. Each level has a key or some other object you'll need to get by the final bad guy. Be sure to find all the weapons you can as they don't follow you from level to level. Each level has it's own nightmarish way to kill your foes so keep your eyes open. All the items you pick up will be placed in your inventory as you pick them up. The number of charges or times that they can be used will be displayed beneath each item. They can be selected by using the Home and End keys With these basics, be sure to expect the unexpected.
With a true 360 degree, 3D perspective, controlled with the mouse, you'll have to keep your eyes open for where to go next as well as for the next danger. An innovative Smart Camera makes sure that objects don't block Malcolm's view. Throw in three distinct camera zooms and you're all set to make sure you have the best view in any situation. The graphics truly make this game an experience not to be missed. Microsoft's DirectX is used to its fullest with spectacular results. You can also select a higher resolution to give you an even clearer view but use it only if your systems resources can handle the extra work.
SoulTrap has an original CD soundtrack that accompanies the game as you play. You can select which track to listen to by pressing the * key on the numeric keypad, or you can turn the music off completely. If you really like the music, you can play the soundtrack on any ordinary music CD player. There are 15 different music tracks to select, so even if you end up playing and replaying a level, it won't be the music that will drive you crazy.
Your main menu screen gives you the option to load a game, save a game, resume a game, start a new game get some help and even choose to replay one of the levels you've already played. From here you also have an options screen that lets you set your preferences for things such as mouse sensitivity, music volume, sound effects volume, low detail, flip mouse/joystick Y axis, show inventory, show player/game status, smart camera on/off, whether to show the targeting cursor as well as choosing your inventory display format. You can further customize by setting specific controls to keys other than the defaults. Other keys like Quick Save and Quick Load make it quick and easy to save and replay from where you last saved ensuring that you won't have to start from the beginning of that level if you do die. And you will, so save often.
Installation of SoulTrap is a breeze, especially if you have Windows 95 set with the AutoPlay option for your CD ROMs. SoulTrap also requires that you install its version of Microsoft's DirectX for the game to work properly. Depending on your display driver this might cause some problems so be sure to read the ReadMe file for more details. Full installation will cost you 82MB of hard disk space. You also have the CD ROM only option which only takes up 11MB. Either way, you'll need to have the CD in your CD ROM drive as the game won't run without it.
If you are having trouble running the software, the game makers recommend the following; select low detail, deselect the targeting cursor, deselect the Smart Camera, and reduce the overall window size. All these changes can be made from the Options selection in the main menu.
Written by Glenn Soucy
Click here for screen shots.
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