Nocturne (video game)
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|Genre(s)||action-adventure, survival horror|
Nocturne is an action-adventure survival horror video game set in the late 1920s and early 1930s – the Prohibition and Great Depression era. The player takes the part of The Stranger (voiced by Lynn Mathis), an operative of a fictional American Government secret organization known as "Spookhouse", which was created by President Theodore Roosevelt to fight monsters. He investigates four strange cases and saves people from classic monsters such as werewolves, zombies, and vampires.
Nocturne is a survival horror video game. It features pre-rendered backgrounds superimposed with real-time 3D characters. he controls are fairly standard for the genre, but controls for moving and aiming are separate. In addition, a weapon must be drawn before it may be used. Therefore, if The Stranger encounters an enemy, he must draw his weapon, aim, evade, then fire with separate controls.
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The game received positive reviews, scoring 75% at the review aggregator site GameRankings based on 29 reviews. For instance, John Misak at PC Game World said in his review, "You'd be insane not to pick this game up, even if you only casually consider yourself a gamer." GameSpot gave the game a "good" rating of 7.0 out of 10. AllGame gave a very positive review of the game, stating that the graphics were "perhaps the best graphics ever for a 1999 PC title" and that gameplay was "very enjoyable, a masterpiece that's addicting. It's a bit on the easy side but the story is very involving and the action is intense. There are a few minor problems that can get a little annoying but once you get past that everything is dandy." Jeff Lundrigan reviewed the PC version of the game for Next Generation, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "Nocturne isn't terrible, but neither is it especially terrifying."
Camera angles were criticized. During gameplay, it is common to experience difficulty keeping track of the player/character, because the camera view can radically change when moving out of the current camera frame.
Nocturne was a runner-up for Computer Games Strategy Plus's 1999 "Adventure Game of the Year" award. The editors wrote, "Wickedly high system requirements provided some impressive atmosphere for this Alone in the Dark-styled horror romp." It won the 1999 "Adventure Game of the Year" prize from GameSpy, whose editors called it "the best adventure game [...] in a long time".
In the United States, Nocturne sold 109,000 copies by October 2001.
There is a partial sequel to Nocturne – a crossover between the Nocturne universe and The Blair Witch Project. The game, Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr, is the first of a trilogy of Blair Witch games published by Gathering of Developers. The game stars the Spookhouse agent Elspeth "Doc" Holliday, who investigates the legend of the Blair Witch. The story's background involves an old hermit named Rustin Parr, who killed seven children in Burkittsville, claiming that he was doing it for an "old woman ghost". Spookhouse becomes interested in the case, and Doc is sent to investigate. The game was developed by Terminal Reality and uses the Nocturne Engine. Some other agents from Nocturne appear in the game. However, neither of the two following volumes in the series made any mention to the Spookhouse; although Elspeth and Volume III's protagonist meet during a temporal breach in Volume I, the scene is not present in Volume III. Both Volume II and III also use the Nocturne Engine.
Nocturne was heavily influential in the creation of Terminal Reality's BloodRayne game. The first BloodRayne game's working title was Nocturne 2, and it contains several references to Nocturne, including several levels that take place in the German castle from Nocturne's Act I. Nocturne 2 was not greenlit by Gathering of Developers, who went defunct soon after, and the developers, unwilling to share the Nocturne license with a new publisher they did not trust yet, decided to create a new franchise which "give[s] familiar nods to the Nocturne fans". The main protagonist of BloodRayne, the dhampir Rayne, is based upon the Nocturne character Svetlana Lupescu. Rayne's costume in the beta version even suggests she was originally supposed to be Svetlana. The "holy grail of the Vampires", the magical stone that can render a vampire invulnerable to most things that should normally harm him from Nocturne's Act I, is the heart of Beliar in BloodRayne.
The name Nocturne for use in video games remained under trademark, forcing Atlus to license it when releasing Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne in North America, and for Ghostlight to change the subtitle to Lucifer's Call.
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- Keighley, Geoff (October 2001). "READ.ME; G.O.D.'s Fall from Grace". Computer Gaming World (207): 30–32.
- NTSC Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne title screen