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|N3: Ninety-Nine Nights|
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Designer(s)||Sang Youn Lee
Yasuo Kijima (arranger; original music by Antonín Dvořák and Antonio Vivaldi)
|Engine||Fame Tech 1
(a.k.a. Blue Engine)
|Genre(s)||Hack and slash, Action|
N3: Ninety-Nine Nights, (Korean: 나인티-나인 나이츠, Japanese: ナインティ ナイン ナイツ), or simply Ninety-Nine Nights, is a fantasy hack and slash video game developed for the Xbox 360 by an alliance between Q Entertainment and Phantagram; video game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi served as producer for the game. The game features hundreds of enemies onscreen at any given time, and borrows heavily from other video games of the genre, most notably from the Dynasty Warriors and Kingdom Under Fire series'.
The game was released in Japan on April 20, 2006, in North America on August 15, 2006, and in Europe on August 25, 2006. A demo of Ninety-Nine Nights was released on a DVD-ROM as a pre-order bonus in Japan, and on July 28, 2006, one was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The demo is free and available in all regions.
Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes developer Youn-Lee was involved in creating the game; the game had only six months development time - development kits were received in September 2005, and the game was released in March 2006 in Japan.
Ninety-Nine Nights met with near universal acclaim for its graphics when released. The tone and quality of this game had made drastic changes from other similar games, and graphically was one of the "better" games of its time. The graphical style is for the most part distinctly Western, while set in a fantasy universe.
The games visual design takes cues from medieval fantasy and high fantasy and includes Orcs, goblins and trolls, whilst the games in world architecture in human areas is medieval, typically of the romanesque style. Plot-related characters follow a similar character design strategy to most fantasy role playing games. However, the main characters show some characteristics of an East Asian video game - similar to that of role playing games - large 'baby-like' eyes on one character and the standard teenage leads.
The ubiquitous snow, tropical forest and rocky desert scenarios make their respective appearances in the different levels, amongst others.
Individual soldiers each have their own unique appearance, randomly garbed in a "mix and match" fashion from the available pieces of armor and other items of clothing. In-game cutscenes are rendered using the in-game character models.
This game is of the crowd combat sub-genre, in which players battle hundreds of foes simultaneously. Combo moves are performed by using various combinations of the two main attack buttons, while the jump and dash buttons can initiate other actions or specialty attacks. Individual enemies are generally quite weak, typically being unable to perform any combos or block with any effectiveness.
There are seven different characters with different play styles, although only one character, Inphyy, is unlocked at the beginning. Successfully completing each character's story will unlock one or two new characters, until they have all been revealed.
After completing levels in Ninety-Nine Nights, a player's performance is scored, with both a letter grade and 'points' being awarded, depending on how well the player did. Points can be spent to unlock extras, such as concept art and character bios.
The title has limited role-playing elements, with characters gaining levels and being able to select which weapons and accessories to equip. These performance-enhancing items can be found in the different stages or are awarded for excellent performance, providing benefits such as increased attack power. As the characters gain levels they learn additional attack combinations, but there is no opportunity for skill customization.
Another key component of the title is the "Orb Attack" / "Orb Spark" element. Killing enemies yields red orbs that are stored up until the "Orb Attack" bar is full. Once the bar is full, a player may press B to enter "Orb Attack" mode, where the character can use powerful attacks to slay groups of enemies. Enemies killed while in this mode drop blue, not red, orbs. Once a player has stored up enough blue orbs (which usually requires several "Orb Attacks"), he or she can unleash a super-devastating, screen-clearing "Orb Spark" attack. Killing enemies yields the occasional equipment drop, which you can equip any time during a map as long as you are not retaliating from an attack, in midair, or in the middle of an attack.
The orb collection mechanic is not unlike that found in Onimusha: Warlords except that it is automatic. The orb attacks are comparable to "Musou attacks" in the Dynasty Warriors series, in that the player is invulnerable while making them, although in Ninety-Nine Nights, such attacks are significantly more powerful.
Each character has their own unique attacks, weapons and orb attacks, as well having their own questline (of around four stages on average).
The gameplay differs somewhat from previous games in this genre as enemy soldiers put up virtually no resistance. Players will routinely mow down thousands of such troops per level using various attack combinations. The Orb attacks effectively act as "nuke buttons", destroying vast formations of enemy soldiers, with only boss characters and some formation leaders unaffected.
Each level takes the form of a series of smaller battles which are often interspersed with cutscenes. Although there are usually several objectives during a level, progress through levels and the game is mostly linear.
In a stark contrast to the cannon fodder foes, the boss characters are typically quite challenging and can inflict massive amounts of damage in a short period of time.
- Inphyy (Japanese: Takako Nakamura): The Angel in Crimson Armor, a 17-year-old female commander of the Temple Knights.
- Aspharr (Japanese: Teruaki Ogawa): The Reluctant Blue Knight, a 19-year-old male commander of the Temple Knights, and Inphyy's older stepbrother.
- Myifee (Japanese: Hiroshi Isobe): The Man with Hidden Nobility, a 32-year-old mercenary who wields a Fire Orb Spark and a double bladed sword.
- Tyurru (Japanese: Kozue Kamada): A Sorceress and Friend of Water Spirits, a 12-year-old sorceress tho controls a Water Orb Spark.
- Klarrann (Japanese: Kazuya Nakai): The Spiritual Man, a 30-year-old priest; his attacks are slow, utilizing a very large totem or club.
- Dwingvatt (Japanese: Tōru Furuya): The Vengeful Goblin Warrior, a goblin, who is seeking revenge on Inphyy for the killing of his older brother. He uses two short bladed weapons to unleash extremely fast wind attacks. In the game plot, he is initially portrayed as being on the "dark" side of the forces.
- Vigk Vagk: A troll - though he is portrayed as being simple and kindly. His slowness is made up for by his vast size.
Non-playable Characters (NPCs)
There are two types of NPCs that appear in the game: the common soldiers that make up the ranks of the armies and the characters who have important roles to play in the story. Here are the names and descriptions of some of the important NPCs encountered in the game, as provided in the game's booklet.
- Ectvarr: The Maiden of Light and one of the protectors of the Orb of Light. Ectvarr is the Princess of the Divine City of Varrfarrinn and a childhood friend of Aspharr.
- Grorgann: A veteran knight. one of the seconds-in-command of the Temple Knights. Originally the right-hand man of Inphyy's and Aspharr's father, his sole purpose now is to protect the lives of the siblings.
- Heppe: A member of the Temple Knights at the tender age of 20. One of Aspharr's best friends, he is also extremely fond of Inphyy and will help her whenever he gets the chance.
- Badokk: Like Grorgann, he is also a second-in-command of the Temple Knights. As one of the top commanders of the Divine City Mercenary Unit, this heavy foot soldier wields a halberd in his sworn defense of the Divine City.
- TeaTea: During this time as a thief in the fortress city of Varrgandd, something happened that made him join the Divine City Mercenary Unit.
- Epharr: A beautiful, longsword-wielding, female warrior with an extremely cool demeanor. Epharr is a member of the Divine City Mercenary Unit and she shows an alarming ferocity when battling Orcs.
- Mylarrvaryss: A powerful wizard and Tyurru's guardian. A master of elemental fire magic. Known by the nickname "Myla."
- Yesperratt: A bewitching sorceress who manipulates earth magic. At Mylarrvaryss' behest, she is acting as an aide to Tyurru.
- Syumerrt: The chieftan of the Arff Tribe (an Elven tribe). He looks like a young man, but what is his true age? He represents the Elves in battle. Usually rather stoic, but he can show weakness when teased.
- Lord Vydenn: Castellan of Varrvazarr, an outlands-defending fortress. A dignified, highly respected man of great pride. In charge of the strict upbringing of the sons of House of Varrvazarr.
- Leuu: The Orcs are divided into two tribes: the Waw-Raws and the Ree-Waw-Raws. Leuu is the chieftan of the Waw-Raws, a warlike tribe whose military prowess far exceeds that of the Goblins. However, due to their low intelligence and endless internecine strife, they are surprisingly content in their subservient position to the Goblins.
- Dwykfarrio: The king who has united all Goblins and declared a vendetta against humanity. Dwykfarrio has brought together the goblin and Orc tribes and has entered into an accord with the Dark Elves and the outland clans.
- Ppakk the Third: The king of the outland-dwelling Frogs. With their own religion, language, and customs, the Pwuck have managed to maintain their independence, but they're waging guerrilla warfare in the conflict in order to further their own ends.
- Pyurrot: A Dark Elven woman whose tribe is known as the Arphann.
- King Gyagarr: King of the outlands-dwelling lizard tribe, also known as the Gewgs. He takes his place at the pinnacle of this government's pyramid structure and is seen as nothing less than the "Sovereign of the Desert."
- The King of Ninety-Nine Nights: Legend has it that he once wreaked havoc in the world, but everything about him is veiled in mystery.
- Dwinga: Dwingvatt's brother who was murdered in front of him by Inphyy, also the best warrior of Goblin King Dwykfarrio.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2009)|
Ninety-Nine Nights received mixed reviews from various media outlets. On the review aggregator GameRankings, the game had an average score of 63% based on 81 reviews. On Metacritic, the game had an average score of 61 out of 100, based on 66 reviews — indicating mixed or average reviews.
IGN and GameSpot gave it relatively poor review scores of 5.6 out of 10 and a 5.9 out of 10, respectively. On the other hand, Play Magazine awarded it a score of 90% in its review, while the Official Xbox Magazine gave it a 7.5 out of 10. The Japanese magazine Famitsu awarded the game a score of 31/40 (8/8/8/7).
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- N3 NINETY-NINE NIGHTS (in Japanese), archived from the original on 8 July 2008, official website (Japan)
- "NINETY-NINE NIGHTS. (N3) [Q Entertainment Inc.]", www.qentertainment.com (Q Entertainment)
- "Ninety-Nine Nights", www.phantagram.com (Phantagram)
- Ninety Nine Nights Xbox´s official web site, with downloadable demo