(aka X-COM: UFO Defense)
PixParticipantPodcasterOctober 14, 2017 at 11:00 am #735
I’ve been chipping away at Nitemare 3D all week and finished episode 3 last night. I’ll thought I’d share my final opinion but there will be a few spoilers of sorts in here so I’ve stuck it in a new thread.
The last episode didn’t offer too much new but took everything about the game and turned it up to 11. I reckon this last episode was heavily inspired by Doom with some demonic imagery and enemies. The maps are so confusing that even with the automap turned on they are hard to navigate. They usually have secret panels all over the place, most of which you have to locate and the shooting destructible walls from a distance puzzles get taken to extremes on some occasions.
The enemies got ever deadlier with some sort of tall red aliens dishing out death with a single hit at close range no matter what your health. Combined with this, from about level 7 there were campfires burning all over the place. These come in 3 sizes with the larger ones also spelling instant death if you so much as brush into them. One particular section with a mini maze of these combined with insta-death dealing enemies was tricky to say the least. To be fair the levels do have huge amounts of health pickups so I can’t say it was ever unfair in this sense but I did have to reload constantly.
Some of the “puzzles” in the last few levels were kind of cruel. The paid version of the game came with some text hint files which were invaluable on several occasions when I was otherwise stuck. There are some puzzles near the end where you have to get monsters to block doors into buildings, so that when you enter through the door on the other side, you instead go to an alternate door. Aside from this making no sense, you have to luck into figuring this game mechanic in the first place. If you kill the monster first, you can’t progress at all.
I also ran into one section where I had to resort to trying to shoot a monster through a wall to clear a doorway that I couldn’t otherwise exit because it was in the way. I figured if the monsters had been doing it to me all game, I could do the same to them. It did actually work eventually but if this was required I’m not convinced about the level design.
The final battle is just sneaking up on the mad doctor and unloading all your ammo into him at close range quick enough that he can’t shoot back. It’s not much of a climax but is entirely representative of the rest of the combat.
There is a little cutscene to end the game which was an unexpected bonus. It’s very strangely animated with Penelope having some particularly odd proportions being about 80% legs from what I can see. She gives Hugo the brush off making you wonder why he bothered but I presume it was setting us up for a sequel.
Final thoughts about the game then. The combat was pretty much broken with none of the enemies having anything but instant hit weapons. The melee enemies provide no challenge at any point, everything else was deadly and required you to dive into a room, figure out where they were, then reload and repeat trying to take them out instantly.
The levels were mazes pure and simple. They did at least tend to show the location of keys you needed to find so you could then attempt to work back to them. It still amounted to clicking on every wall looking for secret panels in the long run. I’m unconvinced by the limited automap time mechanic given the nature of the levels.
The graphics weren’t bad for the era and the engine was excellent for a one man effort. It’s a really ambitious project for one person to have taken on back then. I would say that this is possibly the least scary FPS I’ve ever played having said that. The music and sound effects don’t exactly generate tension so it’s perhaps not the best Halloween game in that sense.
Nitemare 3D doesn’t really belong in the same genre as a modern FPS. It’s more about navigating mazes, and less about the shooting. I pretty much hated it after the first 3 levels but when I eventually figured out how to play the thing I quite enjoyed myself despite or more likely because of the quirks. I wouldn’t go as far as to recommend it but I can’t think I’ve ever played anything else quite like Nitemare 3D so the novelty was enough to keep my interest going. I’m thinking that to have a real fondness for this game, it would probably need to have been your first experience of the genre but the same thing could be said for the original Hugo trilogy.
TijnKeymasterPodcasterOctober 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm #736
Wow, great review, Pix! Well done. Congrats on beating the game too!
I agree the game does feel quite flawed, but there’s a certain charm to it as well. And since it’s a one man effort, it’s actually quite an impressive achievement, even though it does feel at times more like a children’s game than anything.
So much for our “spooky October” Halloween game, eh? Haha. Ah well, we might have something scarier next year 😀
toastyParticipantPodcasterOctober 19, 2017 at 9:29 pm #761
Wow, great progress, Pix, and a very fair review. From what I remember the highlights were mostly in the first episode, and the latter two were more gruelling. Still, I look forward to tackling them! I vaguely remember everything being on fire in Episode 3 like you said; I can’t wait 😀
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