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The Deception games are a series of console strategy-RPGs created and published by Tecmo for Sony's line of PlayStation consoles, that have an emphasis on passive combat via the use of traps. There are currently four games in the franchise.
Tecmo's Deception: Invitation to Darkness
Kokumeikan (刻命館) in Japan
The first game in the series, released in 1996 for the PS, Tecmo's Deception also has the distinction of playing unlike its successors in almost every capacity. It used a first-person perspective similar to Doom or the then-popular King's Field series. At the time, Tecmo's Deception was also rather controversial with its storyline about a murdered, nameless prince who makes a pact with the Devil to become the master of what's known as the Castle of the Damned, in order to get revenge on his brother Yurias, who framed him for the murder of their father, the king, in order to usurp the throne and claim the fiancée of the player, Princess Fiana.
Despite the surprisingly soft rating of Teen (for animated violence and blood), the back of the game's jewel case contained an additional disclaimer which reads as follows: "WARNING: This game contains satanic references and may be inappropriate for some individuals." All later Deception titles, although no longer about service in Satan's name, received ratings of Mature.
The first Deception was home to a number of features that would never be seen again throughout the series' run. First and foremost, as stated previously, it was played from a first-person viewpoint, lending the game a different playstyle from its successors. Secondly, instead of being limited to position one wall-, ceiling- and floor-based trap in each castle room, the player could place as many traps as he could make fit into the room, assuming he or she had enough Magic Points to construct them with, although all traps vanished after striking an invader once, necessitating a need to reconstruct them if invaders dodged or survived them all. Third, monsters could be constructed from captured invaders' body parts and summoned using "Block Orbs" to fight for the player. Fourth, the Castle of the Damned could be built onto and expanded with more rooms. Finally, the trap enhancement engine was much weaker and simpler than what would come in later entries, with each "family" of traps having only two upgrades each, and merely being stronger variations of existing traps. However, this game was also the most RPG-like of the series, with an emphasis on carrying and using items, increasing stats with item upgrades, and gaining character levels by killing or capturing invaders. Tecmo's Deception contained six different endings which could be attained by making different choices at key storyline junctions, and saving required nine blocks—over half of a single memory card.
This game was released as "Devil's Deception" in Europe.
Kagero: Deception II
Kagero: Kokumeikan Shinsho (影牢～刻命館真章～) in Japan.
Shifting the viewpoint to third-person and the emphasis to trap combos, Kagero: Deception II formed the foundation of current Deception titles and would be built upon in future titles, coming out two years after its predecessor. In it, players assume the role of Millennia, a young girl being used as a puppet and guard for a race known as Timenoids (or TMD, as the game abbreviates their race's name), who are like humans except immortal, and whose power is desired by the humans whose lives they govern. Millennia finds herself in the middle of the war between her own race and her captors, with her chosen side dictated by the player. One of the endings to the game heavily implies that Kagero is a prequel to Tecmo's Deception, and that Millennia will grow up to become Astarte from the first game; this interpretation is supported by the fact that naming the main character in Kagero "Astarte" lets you start with a hefty sum of extra Ark (the game's currency). However, Tecmo has not made it clear if that ending is canon.
The change in how traps functioned gave this game a much more strategic edge than the first game, with traps able to interact with one another in long strings that could be likened to Rube Goldberg set-ups, just much more lethal and involving other people. Instead of using items such as medicinal herbs, healing was accomplished via glowing blue crystals called "loons" which could only be touched once before breaking, never to be used again in a given chapter. Trap improvement was conducted by using the points earned after successfully killing each invader, called Ark, and by following a somewhat logical "tree"—improving an Arrow Slit after a Lightning Rod was created could make a Laser Arrow, for instance. Six secret traps (one of which depicted Suezo, a popular monster from Tecmo's own Monster Rancher titles) could be unlocked in future replays by completing the game and achieving all four endings in the game, as well. Traps, when constructed, could be used as often as the player liked, but required a recharge time between uses in any given level. Game saves are one block in size.
Deception III: Dark Delusion
Soumatou (蒼魔灯) in Japan
Deception III: Dark Delusion expanded on the gameplay of Kagero by introducing a training mode, a mission mode, and trap enhancement through a series of crests and other artifacts. In the main story mode, players control Reina, a girl who, with her adoptive family, has been kidnapped and brought to the land of Burgenhagen to be sold into slavery. Reina must use the trapping powers she acquired to defeat her kidnappers and solve the mysteries of the pendant she wears, which other people seem to covet for unknown reasons.
The aforementioned Free Training mode was simply a means of testing all of the available traps in a controlled environment with an immortal invader who could programmed to adopt behavioral patterns, to learn their effects and uses without any real consequences. In contrast, the mission mode, known as Expert Mode, assigned the player a given goal to achieve, usually within a time limit, with the traps available being any unlocked up to that point. Typical missions include, "Crush the invader with a 4-hit combo," or, "Make the killing hit a Pendulum trap." Also included is a Trap License mode which functions as a further tutorial, asking the player to perform various tasks that teach him or her the nuances of the game in the name of learning helpful tips or trap functions. Traps have been made even more customizable than in previous games through the uses of Base Circles, Orbs, Emblems, and Rings. Base Circles contained the variety of trap involved (Pendulum, Arrow Slit, Bear Claw, etc.); Orbs determined the power level of the trap, ranging from 1 to 4; Emblems gave the trap an element or special characteristic (Lightning, Fire, Slave, etc.); and Rings further enhanced a trap by increasing their power, shortening their charge time, or a myriad number of other changes. The more modifications a trap employed, the more "Dreak" (the replacement for Kagero's Ark) it took, but again, traps could be used infinitely upon creation. These elements make the an excellent example of the trap-em-up genre, which also includes games like Heiankyo Alien, Home Alone, and Night Trap. The loons from Kagero also returned as the sole means of regaining lost hit points. While not having secret traps, special emblems and rings can be acquired by achieving the game's four endings. Game saves are one block in size.
Kagero II: Dark Illusion (影牢II -Dark illusion-) in Japan.
Trapt (sometimes known as TЯAPT) was marketed as Kagero II: Dark Illusion in Japan. Players now control Princess Allura, a maiden who runs away from her kingdom after being framed for the murder of her father, and who enters into a similar demonic contract with a being known only as "Fiend" to get revenge on her pursuers.
This game, aside from being the first entry on a next-generation system, utilized what were known as "Dark Illusions"—specialty traps which were contained within the room of any given castle, and required a special sequence of triggers in order to be used, with the payoff being greater damage done to the invaders and a generally more spectacular presentation. Furthermore, at certain points in the storyline, side stories could be explored which presented some alternate scenarios from the main plotline, providing more backstory on the game's events. Included in the game's menu was a Survival Mode, which pitted Allura against waves of invaders with only nine traps at her disposal—three ceiling, three wall, and three floor. Creating new traps necessitated the spending of "Warl", like Ark and Dreak before it, and was done similarly to Kagero through the use of a logical tree. Secret traps and settings could be purchased with Warl by finishing the game and unlocking the three endings, collecting preset amounts of Ark, or by killing all encountered invaders. Saving the game requires 64K of free space on the PS2 memory card.