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Reviewed: Nox
Author: Chris Kim       Date: March 12th 2000
Page: 2

Some gamers may or may not be familiar with Nox, which was designed to be an alternative to Blizzard's cash cow Diablo in almost every which way. From the early stages of just seeing the game itself in action, one can see that it derives Diablo from the top-down perspective and approach of the game. In just about everything, from inventory management to magic useage, Nox takes after the before mentioned Diablo. So, how does the game stack up against Diablo? Many games that copy or take after this game seem to just die off and be shoved aside by gamers as some lame rip-off, is Nox one of these games, or is it something completely different that offers more than meets the eye?

One of the most important aspects about a role-playing game is that is that it contain a solid storyline to back up all the great playing time. Thankfully, unlike Diablo, which just had some branching missions, Nox adds an actual storyline that follows in a linear fashion. While this may discourage several players, the missions are interesting enough that the linearity doesn't distract from the enjoyability of the game. Each player assumes the role of one of the three characters available in the game--a warrior, wizard, and conjurer, all with unique and abilities that separate the three classes each class from each other.

Some Hot Chick?
Fire Trap
Break It Down

Apart from the three slightly altered classes, how does Nox differ from Diablo? There were three classes in that game as well. In this game, the classes actually follow completely separate and unique storylines that take place in different times and places, which offers a new gaming experience for the gamer each time he or she chooses to play the game. These unique storylines all follow a similar backbone story in the land of Nox, and how two races were trying to co-exist there. As expected, they cannot, and the war of the Humans versus the Necromancers rages on for years. Enter Jandor, a human wizard who creates a magic orb that seals the Necromancers away forever. However, there is one baby necromancer left, but Jandor hasn't the heart to kill it. Instead, he passes the baby girl to the ogres to raise. She proceeds to grow up, to acknowledge her past, and sets out to set matters straight.

Following in the tradition of both Diablo and Darkstone, players will assume the role of one of the characters (in Darkstone, players had the option of adding a second NPC character). It may seem that warriors have a distinct disadvantage against the likes of conjurers and wizards, after closer examination, it can be seen that the warriors are quite evenly matched against other players. Warriors get the unique skills such as dash attacks and warcry that make them so dangerous. The dash attack is just as it sounds, the warrior will rush at a high speed and collide with an enemy for high points of damage. The warcry is an attack that gives the warriors a tactical advantage over wizards and conjurers; it disables usage of magic in the warrior's immediate area for a period of time. That way, they can rush in for the kill when the magical users are crippled. Top that off with the ability to wield just about every piece of armor and weaponry in the game, and the warrior is very strong physical character to play. One minor problem with the combat system, however, is that it is a bit tedious to control, especially with more than ten enemies on the screen.

Hussle It
Poison Bodies
Always Hated Spiders

Of course, what fun would the game be without any magic or special abilities out of the ordinary? Maintaining the ease of use and playability of the magical users from Diablo, Nox refines this spell casting even more. With over one hundred different spells at the tips of gamers' fingers, some more unique then others, Nox offers a wide range of special attacks and defensive mechanisms for gamers to play around with. The wizard is the most traditional of the group, just casting the normal types of spells such as lightning bolts and fireballs. Conjurers on the other hand, take a rather unique approach to casting magic. While they can't cast fireballs, they can summon monsters, and then use them to carry out the conjurer's wishes, with the conjurer acting as puppeteer. Getting to play around with controlling monsters can be a lot of fun and these prove to be very useful for attacking and helping out the conjurer survive in the land of Nox.

Some of the more unique factors about Nox are the special features such as setting traps, manipulation of the environment, and the TrueSight system. Setting traps is almost exactly as it sounds. Players will receive control of their spells and will be able to set booby traps that will be triggered by another player walking over or crossing some sort of threshold. These traps make deathmatching and multiplayer especially interesting. The interactive environments are also fun to play around with, gamers are able to push and move around objects such as rocks and bookcases. While this may seem very unique and cool at first, it doesn't really seem to have any real use aside from just being a gimmick; the environment has no real effect on the gameplay.

Level Up!
Game Division

The TrueSight system that is implemented into Nox really is amazing and heightens the gaming experience. Considering that no other game in the genre has even attempted to implement this type of experience into a game before shows how Westwood was really aiming for a very unique and interesting game, making Nox a top-down shooter rather than a role-playing game. That's right, a top-down shooter. The game uses the TrueSight system from the perspective of the character, so the player will not be able to see around bushes or buildings. He will only see what a person would see if he was down on the ground right next to the player. This adds some excitement and tension when going around dark caves and corners.

Character development and management isn't nearly as strong or deep as it is in other role-playing games, but this can be expected because of the action element tossed into the game. It was obvious that wide ranged appeal was the focus of the game, with the lack of character building that is involved with either Darkstone or Diablo. Characters will level up themselves and their statistics will rise accordingly. While this may not bug most players, it may bug the hardcore role-players that want all the functionality in a role-playing game. Inventory is nothing special, follows in the following manner of Diablo with prefixes and suffixes receiving different statistics depending on the name and base type.

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Added:  Sunday, March 12, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 2/5

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