Windows - 1999
Description of Nocturne
I need a new graphics card. No, really - up until now I have been more than happy with the TNT card which, although a bit old hat these days, pairs nicely with a PIII-500 to roll along just fine. Until Nocturne landed on my desk, that is. Could this be the most demanding game yet released? It needs a 400MHz processor, 1GB+ of hard drive space, and 'suggests' either a Matrox G400 or a Rage 128.
So why does Nocturne, a simple console-style combat/adventure game, put such extreme demands on gamers' systems? The finger of blame is pointing soundly at the 3D engine. The Nocturne Engine - for so it is called - features real-time...well, everything. Shadows, volumetric lighting, volumetric fog, reflections, lens-flares, a skeletal-based character animation system, 3D positional audio, and surround sound. Lots of these features were only present in professional 3D rendering software a few short years ago - and they were generally expected to take a few minutes per frame, at least. Games like Nocturne need to shift 20 or 30 a second to look smooth. Times have certainly changed.
The world is a dark place
Terminal Reality recommends, for the full experience, the game is played in the dark with the stereo turned up loud. It even has a "monitor calibration" sequence where you set your screen up to make sure you are seeing the game exactly the way it is meant to be viewed. Even the cut-scenes are done in-engine, and certainly don't suffer for it.
Nocturne casts the player as the mysterious Stranger, a member of a secret American paranormal investigation team, Spookhouse. Set early this century, your task is to guide the Stranger through four different scenarios comprising tasks like ridding a Texan town of zombie infestation, or recovering an ancient talisman from a clan of German vampires. Though he sometimes has company, most of the time the Stranger works alone.
Levels are generally straightforward - shoot the undead fiends, find keys or other puzzle objects, rescue people, or simply survive long enough to reach the exit. Weapons are provided for the Stranger to defend himself, of course. Mostly standard fare for this type of game, he can choose from pistols, shotguns, tommy-guns, a crossbow or flame-thrower. Melee weapons like axes and spades are included as well. Hacking limbs off zombies soon sorts them out, and in one of the game's many gory touches, you can pick up the severed limbs and throw them at your enemies. If you are the type who likes to kill from more of a distance, however, a shotgun blast or two will generally leave the unfortunate creature in two large pieces on the floor. Parents, take warning: Nocturne will turn your seven-year-old son into a slavering patricidal death machine, even before the girl next door gets her hands on him.
Who will protect the world from darkness?
Camera perspective is fixed, and as the Stranger moves off the edge of one view, it changes to the next - very Resident Evil. But if you turn on your gun-mounted lamp, you'll see it illuminating and casting shadows on the walls in a way the Playstation crowd will only have dreamed of. And when using the Stranger's two pistols, the red aiming lines can be aimed at two different enemies at once. Handy when the zombies start coming thick and fast. Sound is unobtrusive but good, and the music responds well to the action.
From just a short time spent playing, it is clear where the designers have drawn their inspiration from. There is a lot of George Romero, Dawn of the Dead action - and on the video games front there is a good helping of Resident Evil. But Nocturne doesn't quite manage to capture the feel of either of these exceptional gore-fests - it is just too derivative, and there is not much evidence of careful level design. Seems the designers have been careful to do it "by the numbers" where a few tiny sparks of originality or innovation would have made all the difference. Puzzles are mostly simple key/door affairs, although occasionally some interesting levers-and-lifts problems raise matters a bit.
Ammunition shortages are standard fare for survival-horror games. Again, Nocturne does not buck this trend. Especially when using the more powerful weapons, you will need to be accurate or risk being left defenceless. However, it falls a bit flat when the melee weapons are so powerful. After a while I found the axe was by far the most effective means of dispensing with zombies - a bit silly to create tension by letting the player run short of ammunition and then include such a powerful alternative.
But is it frightening? Sadly not. As is the case with many games, Nocturne 's fear factor is restricted to the odd monster jumping out on you - more like Alien than The Exorcist. There is no real effort to create an atmosphere of dread, or to draw the player into the rather two-dimensional plot and characters. Lasting appeal, such as it is, is more provided by the difficult nature of the levels than story development. Whether the game will keep you involved for long depends on your patience.
That's not to say that Nocturne is necessarily a bad game. Blowing limbs off the zombie horde can be great fun, and there are some great set pieces in store. If you can spare the 1.2Gb needed for a full install, you will be able to play any of the four adventures in any order - so getting stuck on one section will not be too much of a problem. But once finished, the only reason you will have to play it again is to show off your ninja PC to your mates.
Terminal Reality has announced there are plenty of Nocturne extras in development. They will be releasing an editor for the game, allowing owners to design new levels, characters and graphics. More interestingly, there will soon be an add-on for Nocturne based on the Blair Witch mythology - it won't be necessary to own the original game to play it. And the inevitable Nocturne 2 has also gone into development -so this certainly won't be the last time we hear the name.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
Bladez1992 2021-06-07 -1 point
I made a fix for this game, a new installer.
If anyone wants to play it join my Discord server and look in the releases section for this download and other classic game fixes like this
Legacy Gamers' Union
Cassandra 2020-10-13 7 points
Okay I know the problem, it keeps crashing as soon as it loads up saying; Unable to lock front buffer and comes up with a file named WDDVMEM.cpp Line; 838. Does anyone know what this means and how to fix I’ve done all compatibility modes but still does the same thing. Any reply would be very much appreciated :D
Cassandra 2020-10-12 2 points
Please help I used the fully patched version and the iso version using the patches and they all seem to crash at start :(
stangermoon 2020-08-05 -3 points
thats great review but ı dont understand review of those times lower the score nocturne but ın revıews they say most of thıngs far better than resıdent evıl wıll be. nocturne even better than slıent hıll 2 ın many thıngs. yes ıts not have slıent hıll 2 or resıden evıl cutscenes but ıs that the game part lol. slıent hıll 2 stroy yes addıctıve you have to learn whats goıng on but ın the end very shallow nothıng the tell story. nocturne ıs more lıke bucnh of xfıles epısodes but good ones. ı never understand how thıs game lover scored bcouse of camera angels whıch praısed ın resıden evıls and slıent hılls. to put the sımple compared nocturne game those games looks 2.5d ın best and sound desıgn evnoprment and enemy wıth sounds (lıke when zombıe break wındows and come to you) ın nıcturne better than even slıent hıll 2.
ZAZ 2020-02-04 1 point
Finally I am happy to say this is a game that works. Of course it is an ISO file. Don't know what an ISO file is? It is basically a mirrored copy of the original CD(s) that the game was sold with. You may have to mount the ISO image using certain software. I am using windows 8 and you simply left click on the ISO image and choose to extract files into a folder. Once you do that you just find the "Setup" file and Nocturne is yours. BUT if you are still unsure about ISO files you can download the RIP version below. Good Luck!
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