Now that Catalina’s people are dead, we’re at Mission 12: Hertzog Sends A Huge Variety Of Dudes At Us And We Send Them To Heaven To Play With Catalina’s Dudes. And Catalina. And A Bunch Of Hungry Villagers And Random Knights.
The side mission for mission 12 is short and only involves killing two people, but I think it might be my new personal favorite because of how entertaining it is to use the smash wall and smash floor to launch flare rocks back and forth across the room at these people. It starts with Josie of Josie and the Pussycats fame being threatened by the kingdom’s exiled head of palace mages. Apparently he’s taken up experimenting on young women as a hobby. Then Allura shows up and he decides that he wants to experiment on her instead, so we play tennis with flare rocks until him and his creepy friend are dead. It’s important to get the thief-type friend first, because he flees pretty much at the first sign of trouble and it’s annoying.
Allura’s expression as she’s being talked to is amazing. I love that blank, open-mouth stare that wordlessly communicates everything you need to know about her.
Oh, and after the side mission is over, a cutscene plays where a mysterious guy shows up and claims that he knows who chose Allura to be the Fiend’s sacrifice and receive his trap powers. Someone who’s a “she.” Someone Allura knows very well. I wonder who that could possibly be given that there’s currently only one living person who fits those criteria in addition to being so suspicious that their involvement was obvious from the beginning. He also says that Allura has talent and wisdom, which sounds like sarcasm given the fact that she hasn’t yet pieced all of this together.
Okay, I’m warning you right now that this mission makes no sense whatsoever. It starts with a bunch of people telling Allura that Hertzog told them to let her go, but they ignore that order to instead kill her. He presumably gave that order because he didn’t want to see her harmed (I mean, he explicitly said as much when we last saw him), so I’m wondering what the plan is should they actually succeed. “Hey, I know you told us not to kill her because you like her, but we killed her anyway. Can we have a promotion?” I’m not seeing how this could possibly work out for them.
Pretty straightforward stuff, really—some people want to kill Allura, so she kills them first. I do want to point out that the picture above shows me hitting an enemy with a pendulum in midair after they were hit by a smash wall, though. I didn’t even mean to do it, and what’s even funnier is that the pendulum lit the candles so that the Dark Illusion is ready, and the same guy gets hit by it a few seconds later after running over the bloody part of the floor that triggers it. Andrew can’t catch a break.
In case you thought that Trapt’s enemies’ creepy focus on Allura’s gender was limited to beefheads and thieves, we now get a female archer who brings it up as part of some weird girl power thing. Of course, her stated reluctance isn’t reflected in the actual gameplay, so we kill her on the staircase like so many others.
You know, I’m not normally on the side of gender extremists, but she kind of has a point in this game. I mean, the nicest (still alive) guy thus far has been Jais, and even he tries to viciously murder Allura if she goes against his wishes and flees in mission 10. Not that the women of Trapt are much better, but at least they’re significantly less rape-y before trying to kill Allura. Still, I can’t help but think that her activism is undermined somewhat by the fact that she’s working with and under the command of guys who have remained conspicuously un-murdered.
Hey, remember when I mentioned that the hit detection is generous?
Yeah. This is what I was talking about. That wall should have missed me.
Once the first wave is taken care of, a cutscene plays where Mayte and wizard-tease (I think his name is Bertran) decide that killing Allura is the only way to prevent the Fiend’s revival. This is totally a dick move since neither of them have done much to help out with the waves of people who wanted to murder Allura despite peacefully talking those groups down being in their best interests. You don’t get to show up in the ninth inning and complain about the score. They also state that the people we just killed stormed the mansion on Hertzog’s orders to try and stop the Fiend’s revival, which is where things stop making a lot of sense. He obviously didn’t do this in the mission 10 ending where Allura flees, so it’s safe to assume his knowledge of the Fiend begins and ends with “something to do with Allura,” and yet he ordered his men to let her pass? Then a cutscene plays where Hertzog orders a new wave to enter the mansion, and many of the new enemies mention her being a “pawn of evil” and such, making it sound like their goal is to kill her after all. Confusing.
Whatever the reason or goal, there’s a new wave of baddies (or since they technically have a point about Allura being a pawn of evil, would they be “goodies”?) in need of murdering. This whole mission has been back at the mansion because a loading screen clarified that Allura saying Rachel’s name was out of worry on her behalf, so I set up the smash wall and get down to business. What’s funny is that the positioning of the wall causes enemies to frequently die in the healing circle thing, which is a giant middle finger on top of the whole “getting murdered” thing.
This mission has been a trail mix of different enemy types. Archers, knights, an ice mage, a dark mage, and even a thunder mage. The final enemy is a generic wizard guy, and I quickly deal with him by sending him through the music box Dark Illusion since it resets between the different sections of multi-part missions (basically, whenever cutscenes show up between gameplay chunks, you can reuse Dark Illusions). This has been a mess of a mission as far as character motivations are concerned, but gameplay-wise it’s been entertaining to deal with so many enemy types even if they were all killed with our signature death staircase.
I know one of the things this game gets criticized for is that you can find something that works and then never stray from it (that’s obviously true), and the lack of trap customization compared to Deception III definitely contributes to that, but repetition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The fun of Trapt and the Deception series in general isn’t to challenge yourself. The fun is more along the lines of what you feel when you use cheats in a game to become unstoppable and steamroll everything in your way. It’s a power trip combined with the fun of Rube Goldberg trap chains, entertaining physics, and the physical comedy of a bunch of idiots dying elaborately.