Game: Midnight Nowhere
Developer: Saturn Plus
At first glance, Midnight Nowhere seems a fairly promising adventure game. The game opens with your character waking up in a body bag in a mortuary with no memory of who he is and finding everyone else in the building has been killed by a serial killer known as The Executioner. Despite the cliched amnesia plot device, it's an intriguing enough start. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for the problems to start showing.
Firstly, there's the translation from the original Russian version. It leads to the character saying completely nonsensical comments half the time that seem entirely unrelated to what you just tried to do. Presumably they're supposed to be jokes, judging by the sarcastic tone of voice the lead voice actor insists on using for practically every line, but you won't be able to tell why they're supposed to be funny. Another annoyance is that the developers idea of an adult game seems to be to have pictures of naked women on most of the walls in the game, and have the main character comment "great tits" on seeing a female corpse.
It's a shame, since it's the sort of immature humour that breaks the dark atmosphere that is one of the few strengths of the game. The environments are suitably dark and creepy and the story unfolds at just the right pace to keep providing you with new details and give you a reason to play. The trouble is that the puzzles don't actually relate to the story very much. For most of the game, they consist of finding a way to get through yet another locked door, with the occasional password to find to log onto a computer. The time the game breaks from this style is when a prisoner gives you a series of riddles to solve, which need outside information to find the answers. Even worse, some of the questions involve Russian culture, plus there's the usual translation errors that make them hard to understand.
The interface consists of five icons, for looking, talking, picking up objects, using objects, and accessing your notepad (where various obscure hints are noted.) It's not a terrible interface, but it's far from perfect, since the game will often change from one action to another after you've used it, whether you want it to or not. There's also an occasional stability problem, although if it crashes, you'll find that when you restart it has conveniently auto-saved. A nice feature, although better stability to start with would be even nicer.
Despite all these problems, the game isn't all bad. The story, when you get to it, is reasonably interesting, although even here, the ending is rushed and leaves several major plotholes. It gives the game an unfinished feel. It is a pity, since the game has real potential, but the whole thing is just slightly too sloppy to be really enjoyable. If the plot sounds genuinely interesting, or if you're an adventure game collector, you might want to check it out, but everyone else would be better off avoiding Midnight Nowhere.
Save System Review: Standard adventure game save system, save at any time you want. Also includes an auto-save feature if the game crashes. No problems in this respect.
Arbitrary Final Score:
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