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Nocturne was the big Halloween release this year, combining a new graphics engine with some horror tales it was a big seller. Here is the basic storyline: USA, 1933. An ungodly evil inhabits the shadows. Werewolves, Vampires, Ghouls and flesh-eating zombies lurk in every darkened corner and under every unlit stairwell, their bloodlust sated only when preying on the innocent.
As an agent of spookhouse, a secret government agency that investigates the forces of darkness and evil, you have one purpose. To seek out and destroy these creatures. And you hunt, as your vile quarry does, by night...
Installation, Settings and Intro
Nocturne comes on 2 CD's and due to the rather intensive strains it takes on your PC, needs really a full installation of over 1 GB to get the most out of the game. Installation is a smooth process in itself and if you do run the full install, you won't need to have the CD in the drive to play the game...which is an added bonus. Once the game has installed it is time to load it up, the game begins with a well made full motion video introduction (Which didn't work on my PC, but I managed to run it through the Windows Media Player) that shows a few of the characters from the game. Next we have the in-game menu which contains the following items:
My first task was to make sure the game used my G400 card to its full potential. I went into the options area and selected both the card and to use 3D Hardware, next I changed the resolution to 1024x768 and using 32-Bit color.
Nocturne owes a lot of its gameplay to the superb Alone In The Dark series. Nocturne blends together two forms of gameplay - combat and puzzle solving. As in Alone In The Dark the game is set in a flick screen manor as the action is viewed from a fixed third-person camera that changes from angle to angle depending on where you move to. This works very well in terms of generating a great scary atmosphere as it allows you to only see short glimpses of the creatures walking along castle walls or hiding behind trees....but can work badly when trying to avoid running into unseen traps and dodging enemies whilst fighting.
Ok so I guess you are wondering by now if the game is actually any good, fortunately horror and adventure fans won't be disappointed. The game is more action based than it is adventure, the adventure parts are basically use key with door type puzzles, although later in the game some new puzzles come along. Nocturne is one of the best games to generate a horror atmosphere in terms of both what you hear and what you see.
Graphics, Sound & Music
Nocturne excels itself in terms of graphics and sound, it is one of the most visually stunning games released this year. The well publicized shadow effects are superb and really help add a sinister atmosphere to the game, characters are very well detailed as are the settings, I personally enjoyed the level Tomb Of The Underground God the most as I'm a big zombie fan and reveled in the atmosphere the setting gave out.
I'm lucky enough to have a Matrox G400 graphics card (Only the G400 and TNT 2 can run the game above 1024x768 due to the massive specs the game has) so I have been able to play the game with all of the detail settings on full and get fluid gameplay at 1024x768 in 32-Bit color, I know not everyone has this kind of graphics card, but I would expect the game runs well on other graphics cards below the 1024x768 resolution. The 32-Bit color option really does make a big difference in Nocturne for all the shadows and fog effects, it is probably the first game that I have seen that makes good use of the larger number of colors.
Yet again in terms of sound and music I can't really find too much wrong. Nocturne really uses 3D sound well to create some very scary moments. The music is suitably scary too - the only problem I had with the music is that it isn't varied enough so you tend to hear the same bits over and over.
Overall a pretty good release from Terminal Reality. It has oodles of atmosphere and action but can sometimes be a little let down by the camera angles that crop up at the wrong time. For the next release we need more zombies, I love them...please...more zombies.
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