Nocturne (video game)

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Developer(s)Terminal Reality
Designer(s)Joe Wampole
Programmer(s)Mark Randel
Artist(s)Chris Burns
Chuck Carson
Rick Felice
Writer(s)Paul Eckstein
Composer(s)Kyle Richards
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
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),[2] 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.[3] The 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.



The game received favorable reviews according to the review aggregation website GameRankings.[4] AllGame gave a very positive review of the game, giving it four-and-a-half stars out of five and 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."[18] GameZone gave it 8.3 out of 10, saying, "Nocturne may not be for everyone, but if you’re at all interested, you won't be disappointed."[19] Benjamin E. Sones of Computer Games Strategy Plus gave it four stars out of five, saying, "If you have the hardware to run it, Nocturne is an intensely unique and visually beautiful game that will draw you in and keep you coming back for more in spite of its shortcomings. Just make sure you play it at night, and keep a few sharpened stakes close at hand..."[20] However, Jeff Lundrigan of NextGen gave it a negative review, saying, "Nocturne isn't terrible, but neither is it especially terrifying."[15]

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.[3][8][13]

The game was a runner-up for Computer Games Strategy Plus' 1999 "Adventure Game of the Year" award. The staff wrote, "Wickedly high system requirements provided some impressive atmosphere for this Alone in the Dark-styled horror romp."[21] It won the 1999 "Adventure Game of the Year" prize from GameSpy, whose staff called it "the best adventure game [...] in a long time".[22]

The game sold 109,000 copies in the U.S. by October 2001.[23]


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".[24] 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,[25] and for Ghostlight to change the subtitle to Lucifer's Call.


  1. ^ Fudge, James (October 28, 1999). "Nocturne Ships". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on June 20, 2003. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  2. ^ Debroo, Sam (February 21, 2011). "Terminal Reality Horror Games (Nocturne)". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Lopez, Vincent (November 22, 1999). "Nocturne". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Nocturne for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 30, 2019. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  5. ^ Conley, Eric (November 16, 1999). "Nocturne". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  6. ^ Todd, Brett (February 2000). "The Horror, the Horror (Nocturne Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 187. Ziff Davis. p. 142. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  7. ^ Hudak, Chris (January 15, 2000). "Nocturne". The Electric Playground. Greedy Productions. Archived from the original on February 10, 2001.
  8. ^ a b Bramwell, Tom (March 14, 2000). "Nocturne". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on January 7, 2001. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  9. ^ Bergren, Paul (February 2000). "Nocturne". Game Informer. No. 82. FuncoLand.
  10. ^ "REVIEW for Nocturne". GameFan. Shinno Media. January 27, 2000.
  11. ^ Olafson, Peter (November 14, 1999). "Nocturne Review for PC on". GamePro. IDG Entertainment. Archived from the original on December 16, 2004. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  12. ^ Brian (November 1999). "Nocturne Review". GameRevolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Kasavin, Greg (November 17, 1999). "Nocturne Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  14. ^ Buecheler, Christopher (November 3, 1999). "Nocturne". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on March 6, 2005. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Lundrigan, Jeff (January 2000). "Nocturne". NextGen. No. 61. Imagine Media. p. 103. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  16. ^ Smith, Rob (December 1999). "Nocturne". PC Accelerator. No. 16. Imagine Media. pp. 87–89. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Williamson, Colin (February 2000). "Nocturne". PC Gamer. Vol. 7 no. 2. Imagine Media. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  18. ^ Nguyen, Cal. "Nocturne - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  19. ^ Kemuel (November 16, 1999). "Nocturne". GameZone. Archived from the original on February 10, 2001. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  20. ^ Sones, Benjamin E. (October 26, 1999). "Nocturne". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on June 19, 2003. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  21. ^ CGSP staff (March 6, 2000). "The Computer Games Awards: Adventure Game of the Year". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Stratgy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on April 1, 2005. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  22. ^ GameSpy staff (December 1999). "The GameSpy Best of 1999: A look at the greatest games of 1999 (Adventure Game of the Year)". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on August 15, 2002. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  23. ^ "GOD's Games" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 207. Ziff Davis. October 2001. p. 31. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  24. ^
  25. ^ NTSC Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne title screen

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