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Reviewed: Nocturne
Author: Chris Kim       Date: November 30th 1999
Page: 3

There is no multiplayer game, which is undoubtedly a good choice because Nocturne's environment is really ment for only one person to experience at a time. With extra deathmatch features, the game would probably miserably fail because of the low frame rates and the camera angles.

The artificial intelligence in Nocturne is excellent. The monsters most often represent and quite simple and feeble mind, but when taken deeper into account, a large portion of the game really is credited towards the excellent maneuvers and tricks of the AI. Enemies will move with only one notion in mind kill the opponents. So naturally, they will come and try to kill Stranger. But if a smallish fight is started, they sometimes will fight with their own kind, another great enhancement. One thing that really is chilling about the AI, is how resourceful the enemies are. They will use other items and weapons on the floors at their sides to attack with against Stranger.

NPC character AI is also excellent, Svetlana on the first mission is quite effective for battling off other fiends of werewolves or other enemies. They will have the intelligence to cover the closest enemy or help out with the enemy attacking.

Butcher Room
1930's Hotel
In the Head

Another slight mishap of Nocturne is the possible controller and interface problems. The controller interface is exactly the same as that of many other first person shooter games, using the keyboard for movement and the mouse for actions. Movement works very well with the controls at default with mouse and keyboard. There is also an excellent auto-aim feature that novices can use to have the guns snap onto an enemy for without the worry of having a bad shot or messing up. That is really great to use when there are a ton of bad guys, as with the pistols, one arm can shoot to one side and the other arm can shoot to the other side, allowing for double fire.

Two things that slightly bite about the interface are the cameras. The camera angles can get a bit confusing and difficult to work with at times. In the jumping puzzles, moving from once place to another can lead to a death because of the difficult to line up and make the perfect jump because of the camera angle. Sometimes, the camera angle can also switch drastically from a behind view to front view, which can be confusing at times. Another gripe about the game is the extremely long and large load times and installation. The minimum install is a 550mb install and the recommended install is 1.2GB with all missions on the hard drive. The load times are also nearly impossible to work with, load times even range up to 7 minutes on a 64mb machine!

Shot Dead
Hmm... Sexy Doctor
Bulletin Board

Easily one of the most impressive looking and technologically advance graphics engine used in any game before. The engine used allows for volumetric fog, dynamic complex flashlight halo lighting, and dynamic moving and animated characters. The environments rendered in this game are some of the most impressive and believable environments seen to date. Combined with the most realistic lighting effects, fog, special effects, and polygonal characters, the graphics don't disappoint. The environment is undoubtedly extremely dark, but the usage of colors is great and gives an enhanced feeling of being in a dark and cryptic place adding to the horror. The best part about the environments is how none of the textures are flat or boring, all graphics have depth to them. All buildings will have things sticking out like balconies, roofs, and windows. Trees and other environmental plants are rendered to great detail with lots of shaking and violent rattling. Special effects like explosions, blood pileups, guns effects, and weather are all extremely well done. The most impressive features are the fogging and the lighting effects though. The light halo used creates the most unreal experience ever seen. Shadows increase and immerge based on the lighting sources and movement of the character. Darkening and lighting rooms fill and empty with accordance of the light halo. The volumetric fog, used extensively in the outside environment of the fourth mission, depict the most realistic fog ever seen with varying effects of reflection and movement ever seen.

One of the coolest features about the graphics were the cloth technology, the cloaks of the Stranger and Svetlana actually move with inertia and momentum. The cloth will swing about in accordance to how the player moves, running, walking, or standing still. Of course, not all this great eyecandy comes at the cost of performance, Nocturne requires a beast of a machine to look like it was ment to be. Even on a C450, 64mb RAM, and a G400, performance was still a bit choppy at 1024x768 resolution sometimes. The game must be rendered in 32-Bit color for full glory as the engine allows 1 million (or was it billion?) colors on screen at once. So Voodoo3 users are out of luck and must use the software engine, which still is a very impressive looking engine.

Impressive Graveyard
Die Imp!

With one hell of a graphics engine, how can the sound engine hold up? Equally as impressive, sound also immerses the player to the degree that the sound really makes the player feel in the environment and is also scary as hell. Receiving the most impressive usage of ambient sound effects, Nocturne feels right at home with sounds making the environment seem real. Rustling of leaves on the ground, footsteps nearing closer and closer, water flowing further and further away, birds chirping and screeching with increasing and decreasing volume all help to enhance the feel of the game. The gun shots and explosions all are used to a great degree. The hardware mixed version of the sound is excellent with great sound reproduction.

The most ear catching part, must be the great use of voice acting. Each of the characters has a distinct accent of speech and are very unique. The acting is done terrifically with excellent use of emotion. NPC characters talk with great emotion, as if the traumatic event really occurred.

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Added:  Tuesday, November 30, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 3/5

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