A preview by slydos, 28th September 2002
From Russian developer Saturn+ we already know the fantasy adventure "Jazz & Faust" (Adventure-Archive review). "Midnight Nowhere" is their newest production, which is already licenced by Russian publisher Buka Entertainment for the East Asian area and in Europe for Poland and Hungary. It is a dark, bloody horror adventure game - nothing for sensitive minds.
I had the possibility to play parts of the first two episodes of the extensive demo version with English sub-titles. The story reminds of classic games like "Count Down" by Access Software or "Sanitarium". Our nameless leading actor awakes in a mortuary. But he can't think much about why he lost his memory and how he came here - the area, in which he is and all further areas, which he will discover and examine, are witnesses of unbelievable acts of violence - everywhere blood, destroyed furniture and ... dead bodies, a lot of dead bodies!
Task of our character, we will call him "John Doe", is of course, to explain these terrible blood acts and also to find his identity. He must find the entrance to a quite secured hospital complex, open doors in the most diverse manner, examine areas and corpses, draw conclusions from found documents, videos, pictures, documents and other references. It seems that a "monster" committed all these murders! The police seems powerless against it.
In the intro sequence, accompanied by exciting music, we are in the darkness of a plastic corpse bag. We hear a Darth-Vader-like breathing, until the zipper of the bag can be opened and the camera reveals us the "risen from the dead" from the feet to the head!
In order to escape from his frozen prison, our hero has to look for objects and sometimes also has to create them, and he even doesn't hesitate to chop off the finger of one of the corpses. Later on he will again seek more or less harmless contact with the present dead bodies.
We control our "John Doe" in 3rd-person perspective with the mouse. Only keyboard use is the escape key, that leads us to the main menu, which doesn't permit to save games or calling the option menu in this demo version. A left click lets "John Doe" run to another spot at the screen but also may select one of the always visible action icons at the top of the screen. After selecting such icons, e.g. "Take" or "Use" the cursor assumes its shape. If we look at an object, our hero will describe it in text and speech. With a small blue arrow the cursor indicates those spots, where you can leave the current scene. The handling is easy and transparent.
A right click opens the inventory bar at the bottom of the screen and closes it again. Here we can select items, which are then taken over by the cursor, we can examine objects with the "Look"-icon or combine them with the "Use"-icon. After some time the inventory will show a lot of objects, partly aplicable several times. From the beginning the object puzzles are of middle degree of difficulty and already became quite complex in the part of the story that I played.
"John Doe" must note down a lot of information, which he can later use profitably, e.g. passwords and codes. Since there is no online-note book, the player must note down this information for himself. That can be for example a hand-written note in a lying around sex magazine or a security code from a surveillance video.
Our 3D-character moves in a very realistic and detailed 2D-environment. There will be altogether more than 60 scenes. During the demo the hero moves almost exclusively alone through the locations, up to short meetings with other living human beings. But extensive interactions with other characters are intended in other parts of the game. To what extent it can come thereby to possible action sequences remains open. The part that I have played was anyhow a pure adventure game.
Unfortunately a large part of information escaped me, since the many documents, posters, notes, pin-ups, books, pictures etc. were only translated, if they play a role for the progress. There one can find however surprisingly many humorous allusions e.g. about an Arnold Braunschweiger, who wrote the book "Bodybuilding for Beginners" or a manual for Windows 2015. There is also a quantity of suggestive representations, from the Therapeuthic Kamasutra to various Pin-Ups and many pictures in the style of Manfred Deix.
Beside the bloody ambience showing also a quantity of violence and sex I have to mention the use and consumption of drugs, what will reduce the target group surely to 16 and up, rather 18 and up. Thus a game for adults, who do not have anything against blood-smeared scenes and lying about corpses. But the whole however also contains a "grown-up" puzzle-offer, addressing to the advanced adventure-fan and promising a long, exciting shivering up to the final solution.
Pentium II 400
adventurearchiv - 28-09-02
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