The original Tecmo's Deception was fun and a bold new concept. The second entry was OK, but not an improvement. By this third entry, Tecmo had somehow managed to grind all the joy out of trapping and killing intruders in grisly ways.

This installment was rushed out in about a year after the second game, so it uses pretty much the exact same gameplay engine. Not only does that mean it feels very samey, but all of the flaws of Kagero: Deception II remain unaddressed. The biggest one, the switch from the smooth FPS style of the first game to clunky Resi Evil-style tank controls, somehow feels even worse and more cumbersome to wrestle with in this installment. Both movement and keeping tabs on your pursuers so you can spring your traps at the right time are continually a headache right from the early stages of the game.

It also maintains the prequel's style of ripping out pretty much all of the RPG and castle-building elements and replacing them with Rube Goldberg trap sequences to knock enemies into all sorts of preset environmental hazards. The thing is, it's so janky and imprecise to try to get environmental traps to work it's not even worth the trouble most of the time. The enemies are so dumb that the best thing to do in most cases is to just spam your highest-damage trap over and over; the game gives you no incentive NOT to do that other than that it's terminally boring, but it's even more boring to try to set up the more elaborate trap combinations and then wrestle with the controls and camera to actually get them to work.

This has a stupid story and a terrible translation too, even by the standards of the series. The broad strokes are that you play as a girl named Reina, who wears an inexplicable midriff-baring Victorian top with some gratuitous tight leather pants to boot. The first game made it abundantly clear you were trying to revive Satan with blood sacrifices, then they walked that back a little with the second game and made it so that you were serving Ancient Aliens instead ... now you're just a generic good guy and there's really no moral conflict aspect whatsoever. Reina is just a nice girl put through a lot of shit by slavers and a racist corrupt king, and everyone who comes after her is basically a kidnapping profiteer or murderer who richly deserves to have a giant boulder dropped on them. Anyway, the story doesn't really matter because the translation is so Engrishy and garbled you'll lose track of anything but "kill the bad men trying to stab you" soon enough.

Clunky and shit to play. Fortunately, this was the end of the series on the PS1 before moving on to become Trapt on the PS2, which apparently saw some benefit from the increased horsepower. Surprisingly nice facial textures for the PS1, that's about the best I can say for it. This particular entry is definitely safe to skip.

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