is definitely pleasant; and the extra work that was put into the
cloth-simulator was really nice. In case you havent heard
about it, many of the games characters have wings, or robes,
or coats, or other objects of that nature. The Terminal Reality
guys have done a standup job of recreating the effects of wind
and movement with these objects. Occasionally youll notice
someones rear-end sticking through their hanging cloth,
or a clipping/bounding-box problem with it; but again, its
a minor thing. Luckily (from what I can tell), the TR folks have
done a marvelous job of optimizing the engine; as it runs smooth
as butter on my system with nary a hitch or pause.
that a zombie cow? (31k)
the game comes through admirably as well. Sounds crescendo or
fade, based on the distance from the viewing point; and most of
the sounds seem appropriate for their action. The developers did
a marvelous job in setting the mood with the sounds; and the combination
of creepy sounds and the moody visuals will have you jumping in
your seat on occasion! A couple of sound effects seem disappointing
and too small for their actions; but yet again, this
is down to nit-picking small details.
the big one: gameplay! The games controls take a little
bit of getting used to; and the constant camera-angle changes
can be confusing to the novice gamer. Still, if you spend the
first 15 minutes of play feeling out and adjusting the settings
to your liking, I think that anyone can become comfortable with
controlling The Stranger. There are many helpers for
this, too like the auto-aim feature; something that I find
is useful even after you get experienced with the game. The inverse-kinematics
are pretty cool, as well. For those that dont know, inverse
kinematics is the use of physics-like routines to control animations
or actions. Thus, when The Stranger reaches out to
grab a doctors bag (read: health kit), or flip a switch
he actually reaches out TO that object, and performs the
proper action. No pre-canned stuff here; so no hokey miscues or
off-target animations. While subtle, this really helps
with the immersion; since the characters always act appropriately,
with respect to their surroundings.
as with all of the other aspects of this game, there are a few
glitches. Clipping/bounding-boxes arent always accurate,
sometimes causing odd behavior with the characters. Also, the
ability of your character to fall off ledges seems fluky to me.
Sometimes you cant drop off of a small ledge or area; as
if the game is protecting you from doing so but other times
you can lead the stranger right off a bridge to drown... And your
companions AI routines are sometimes below Forrest Gump
level; watching them run right into already-triggered (and therefore
visible and obvious) traps to keep up with you is frustrating,
to say the least. There are also times where the levels are designed
to keep you from moving in a particular direction; but the artwork
/ layout doesnt make this clear.
all of these minor points, in the end Nocturne turns out to be
a wonderfully engaging (and frightening) adventure game! Anyone
whos wanted to play a part in a film noir production, or
be the stoic bad-ass in a horror/action flick, will really enjoy
it. Nocturne successfully scores big in every major category;
and that carries it through to being a good game. Like its soft-cover
cousins of older times, it may not be destined to top any best-seller
charts; but it sure entertains well and can whisk you away
to another place just as well as any of those news-stand storybooks...
Noel "HB" Wade is a regular contributor to loonygames.
Basically, he just wants attention.