CONSOLE REVIEW; Deathtrap Dungeon (Eidos) PlayStation

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Indy Lifestyle Online
In the beginning, dungeon bashing was confined to the pen-and- paper world of role-playing games, but now you can hack 'n' slash your way through goblin hordes on the PlayStation, with the new Tomb Raider- style adventure, Deathtrap Dungeon.

There are two characters to choose from, either Chaindog, a gladiator with a brain the size of a walnut, or Red Lotus, a female pirate clad only in some dodgy S&M gear (classy is definitely not the word which springs to mind here). Their mission is to destroy the red dragon at the heart of the maze, and, of course, steal all the loot they can carry.

From the outset, it's obvious that a lot of thought has gone into the game. The levels are cleverly designed and the architecture is coldly atmospheric, with dank walls covered in slime and arched vaults decorated with bright mosaics. The traps are devious and the creatures - from snake priestesses to demon lords - are impressive, especially as your trusty sword slices them into pieces.

However, there are some serious defects. The hand-to-hand combat is lacking in offensive and defensive moves, which makes fighting monsters something of a lottery. Also, the "intelligent" camera is seriously distracting, since not only does it occasionally hamper views of the action, but even makes you queasy as it swings wildly about. All this, unfortunately, makes exploration a chore instead of the exhilarating experience it's supposed to be.

Deathtrap Dungeon certainly conjures up a unique medieval world, but it needs to pull its socks up before it can match the adventures of a certain Ms Croft.

On release, pounds 44.99