Nosferatu - The Wrath of Malachi Review
Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 10th June 2004
Nosferatu - The Wrath of Malachi
- Developer: idol fx
- Publisher: Mindscape
- Release Date: 14th May 2004
Being the type of person that always gets an urge to walk through the graveyard as opposed to around it I naturally have a fascination with all things old, spooky or indeed morbid. Realistically however, unless someone pays for me to travel to Romania to take pictures of the crumbled ruins of Castle Dracula anytime soon my interest is never really fulfilled; the nearest I get is the local castles set in the English countryside and of course, video games.
Creating a natural eerie feeling atmosphere in a game seems to be difficult to achieve and only a handful of games have managed to pull it off, Nosferatu provides the player with an excellent randomly generated castle to wonder around and whilst a little corny with the crucifixes and holy water the game puts across a spine chilling environment.
In Nosferatu you get to step into the shoes of James Patterson, a British sabre fencer. When James’ sister Rebecca announces her wedding to a certain Count Malachi, James travels to Romania to witness her big day, upon arrival however he soon learns that his family are in need of rescuing somewhere in the castle and his dear brother-in-law to be is not about to impress mum and dad anytime soon!
The game is handled in a 1st person perspective giving you complete freedom of movement and exploration. The controls are easy enough to master with the mouse controlling direction, left mouse button controlling your attack and right button handling an alternative attack. The scroll button gives easy access to whatever you are carrying and the keyboard controls your general movement and action.
The castle itself is huge with many doors and passageways to get lost in and a whole family to rescue. Along your journey you will pick up numerous weapons, objects and keys giving you access to previously closed off areas of the game. Weapons range from swords, guns and even the good old crucifix for horror value and the random enemies that are thrown at you come in the form of zombies, hounds, monsters and of course vampires and whilst the combat is far from easy it soon becomes repetitive, seeing the same freaks jumping out at you and acting in the exact same manner as their comrades.
The atmosphere of the game is what keeps it interesting with the constant reminder to the player that the next corner could be occupied by anything at all and whilst the ability to save at any point is valuable it can also have its drawbacks due to the random enemy spawner, you could save at what you consider a safe spot, but next time you re-load it could be filled with hordes of monsters. Besides fighting the bad guys your mission is to rescue your family and other characters from the clutches of the Count but each rescue has a time limit in which you must do it.
Graphics wise the game does an excellent job of creating a horror film setting, it’s all very dark with the odd noise to remind you that you’re not alone and shadow and lighting effects that make you squint your eyes in an attempt to determine what the strange shape in the corner is. Going beyond first impressions however the game is not so impressive, NPC’s get stuck in doors and walls while character animation is not always as smooth as it should be. There are however some excellent effects such as corpses rising from coffins and the visible shaking of your own character after a confrontation with the un-dead.
Noferatu also boasts a good audio selection with a fitting and varied soundtrack and heart pounding loud shouts and screams guaranteed to make you jump. Voice action is pretty standard although dialogue throughout the game is more or less kept to a minimum.
Overall Noferatu provides a spooky atmosphere in which to explore with the added bonus of first person style combat and a pretty simple gameplay objective. The game is challenging enough without been overly difficult and thanks to the random re-generation of the castle and its contents predictability is kept to a minimum. All in all the game achieves what it sets out to achieve which is an action adventure with an atmosphere that a samurai sword couldn’t cut.
Review Score: 6.8/10
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