1999 Reviews

Nocturne

  • Review Date: 2000-03
  • Release Date: 1999-10
  • Developer: Terminal Reality
  • Rating: 7.5

Nocturne is a third-person adventure set in a past where vampires, ghosts and monsters exist and fight the humans.


To install this hefty game, you need nearly 1.5gb, so obviously I couldn't install the whole game. Fortunetly you get four missions (which for the average player should take 2-4 hours each) and I installed the first three. I got used to the controls and movement pretty soon, except the jumping took a bit longer. Movement is probably one of the weaker points of the game though. It can be quite touchy. Those with a slow computer and little bit of lag could find themselves turning around in circles all the time!


The first mission takes place in a dark and creepy setting, starting with the village then the forest, castle and dungeons. Level design is quite impressive, apart from the layout. I found myself lost or not knowing where to go next a few times, especially in the castle. The atmosphere is excellent, especially in places such as the graveyard with fog around you.
The second mission was even better, starting in a small town of zombies before going underground to the mines and the tomb. The underground had great atmosphere, with brilliant lighting in the mines against the spider webs and rotted wood.

Gameplay was good most of the time. Although Nocturne is not an action game, I was kept entertained by the many monsters of the night. Nevertheless, there are some parts which can piss you off, such as the werewolves' constant attacks in the forest level. Most of the time you have enough ammunition to get the job done, although using the axe is quite effective against most enemies. There is just enough health which you carry around and automatically use it in battle when you are nearing death.

The gameplay in the second mission, however, is not so fun. For the first level in the town I was reminded of Neil Manke's They Hunger as you repeatedly chop through zombies. It can get boring after a while. What was fun, however, was saving the village people who are hiding throughout the town. You need to escort them back to the church where zombies will not go. And if one of them gets killed it's game over - but not before a short cinematic sequence where you get fired from the spookhouse!


Down in the mines it is exactly the same, zombie after zombie, until you reach the secret underground tombs where you'll meet these great looking dinosaur type creatures that run at you. But with only them to fight it is no great challenge. Overall, it is quite a good game, but is full of many small problems. Some that come to mind would be the times when monsters would suddenly come at you in all directions and you can't help but get hurt, or when you need to use the 'use' key, but cannot have your weapons out at the same time. The problem there is sometimes as soon as you do something (such as place a stone/rune) a bunch of monsters will jump out at you and you won't even have the chance to pull your guns out.

Usually in puzzle games I get stuck and need a walkthrough, but if you don't run into any small glitches (such as trying to place a rune somewhere for about five minutes, repeatedly pressing the 'use' key and moving slightly each time, before the idiot character actually does it) then you should have no problems. The puzzles aren't very hard, and the gameplay is usually fun. Along with a superb atmosphere, if your sick of FPS' then give Nocturne a go.
Note: I never bothered to finish the game as I got sick of it.