2, Issue 7
December 22, 1999
20th century was a time of great scientific and social change.
One of the best effects of this, was the phenomenal growth in
sci-fi and fantasy writing. Vast amounts of pulp fiction
(in the form of comics, short stories, radio shows, and magazines)
were published; often telling vivid tales of the fantastic and
unbelievable. Sure, many were slightly cliché and
not bestseller material but they WERE entertaining;
and many childhood dreams were spawned by them.
coming to get your Barbara...(30k)
Terminal Reality; and their latest offering: Nocturne.
Nocturne is a horror/sci-fi/adventure game that is remarkably
reminiscent of the old fantastic fiction from earlier
in this century. Like its pulp brethren, it isnt the best
story or the best game youve ever dealt with; but it IS
a remarkably fun and immersive game, despite its few quirks. The
game is set in the time between the Great Depression and the Second
World War; and stars The Stranger (whom you control),
a shadowy monster-hunter who is part of a secret government organization
that dispatches super-natural threats to the world. Although youll
quickly find out that The Stranger isnt very
chummy with them, the Spookhouse crew (the government
agency mentioned in the last sentence) consists of everything
from voodoo-magic practitioners, to a half-human/half-vampire
female (complete with Transylvanian accent), to an outcast Demon.
The missions span several years; and are varied in their purpose
is played out in 3rd person but fear not, moving-camera-haters!
Rather than being stuck in one viewing angle, or have a chase-cam
follow you around, Nocturne cleverly has a different camera
angle for each location. This mixes things up quite a bit; and
the camera angles / scenes sometimes automatically change to provide
a better view of the action. Unfortunately the system isnt
infallible; and you will occasionally get frustrated with the
angles. This is especially true when a partner or ally of yours
blocks the view of some big monster cutting your character to
ribbons. But overall, its a nice breath of fresh air
and if youre like me, youll be relieved not to have
some stupid chase-cam getting stuck in corners or smashed up against
the back of your characters head when you step into a corner.
the game is pretty top-notch. Dont expect Quake III-engine
detail; but then again, this game came out before Q3A
and is in a totally different genre entirely! The poly-counts
ARE substantial; and the lighting helps smooth everything well.
Speaking of lighting, I have never seen a game as thoroughly designed
to be played in darkness as this one. ANY glare from lights in
the room will ruin the experience. I wonder if the Terminal Reality
offices HAVE windows, but seriously: the grim, dank, and foreboding
atmosphere that the game creates is complimented well by it
and who doesnt love the extra suspense you get when you
do something like watch a scary movie in the dark? As for getting
things adjusted just right, fear not: the game comes with a monitor
calibration routine to help get things set up just right!