Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy
Review by MW
Just One Chick's Opinion
Walking out of 2002 and into the industrial age of 2099 I find
myself puppeteering a retired lieutenant from the International
Control Military by the name of Joshua Reev. Slightly reminiscent
of Kojak, minus the sucker and plus a pair of cool shades, Reev
has been summoned out of retirement by Governor Hugh Martens to
repay a debt for saving Reev's life. Terrorists are threatening
Martens's position and have gone on the attack. The subversive
organization has already pulled off a major assault on one of
the town's main industrial subway installations ... If you
like intrigue and espionage, and moreover if you fancy yourself
as ingenious as the ever-skillful MacGyver, then this is the game
While playing I kept expecting to hear Cory Hart's 1980 hit,
I Wear My Sunglasses at Night, but alas it was not to be
... nor was I to find myself in the same league as MacGyver.
The game features great graphicsa bit pixelated at points
but pretty good nonetheless in my estimationwhich is giving
this game a lot of credit given that I am a major eye candy junkie.
While I cannot say that this game is a magnificent achievement
of epic proportion in the world of gaming, I must give it its
fair weight of credit.
Weighing the Contents of the Bad and the Good
Although the game is not a huge brain-buster, it does have its
moments of being able to brilliantly twist your mind like a loose
Slinky ... and then it also has some its moments of patience-twisting ...
Remember when you got that kink in your Slinky from twisting it
the wrong way only to find out you could never seem to "unkink"
it? "Why?" you ask. Well, let me tell you! Two words
... pixel hunting! I am not particularly fond of pixel hunting
(which is putting it delicately), and many times if I did not
place my mouse over a specific area the size of this 0, I missed
picking up inventory items or performing actions. Additionally,
Joshua, quite frequently, ends up standing directly in the line
of sight, which further caused me to overlook inventory items
on more than one occasion. This game gives new meaning to the
phrase, "the devil is in the details."
On a brighter note, there are numerous locations to visit and
things to pick up, and best of all, there are approximately 40
hours of gameplay. The story follows a logical pattern, and most
of the puzzles worked well within the storyline. Joshua is set
to find the terrorists and expose them using his wits and resources,
and each puzzle fits neatly into Joshua's plan. I found this game
to be more logical in a "realistic" sense than other
games I have played, and maybe this is the essence of what gave
me so many problems getting through some of the predicaments.
I have gotten use to illogical elements and finding things that
no one in everyday life would have access to, only to go on and
utilize them in some "Obscuro World" fashion.
Yes, I did have to use a walkthrough ... I did have a legitimate
reason for it, though! (And not just because I was stuck!)
Be forewarned, all of you gamers who are running Windows ME and
even those running some instances of Windows 98 SE: there is a
glitch that will occur, requiring you to download a patch
from the Dreamcatcher site. The bummer about the patch is that
you lose a portion of the game and miss out on several puzzles,
but it moves you forward and you can continue to play. I went
to the walkthrough to find out exactly how much I missed. Let's
just say I did feel a bit cheated, but not enough to stop playing.
Other than this disconcerting incident, the game ran problem-free
on my system.
Overall, I found the game to be interesting. The characters are
well-integrated into the story, so that I got to know them and
their roles, and the puzzles are sufficiently difficult. The inventory
is easy to access, and a push of the right mouse button allows
you to use your items, while the left mouse key spurs Joshua to
tell you about it.
Voice acting is on the whole very good. Those who have played
Chronicles will hear a familiar voice emanating
from Joshua's 3D character. The lip sync is another story ...
Dialog text is available, so if you enjoy reading, you most likely
won't get too distracted by the seemingly retro "lips moving
without speech." One really nice aspect is that when there
is an extended conversation between two or more people, everyone
speaking has a different color of text. This helps the player
differentiate who is saying what. Although there was no Cory Hart,
the music lends itself well to the atmosphere of exploring and
tension within the game. The music is not distracting in any manner
and was obviously well planned out.
In the end, the plot is laid out well despite the storyline getting
a bit perplexing here and there, and I would say that more thought
was put into the plot than most of the games that I have played.
After all of this, I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed,
as if the production people were just tired of working on the
game and wanted to get it out on the shelves. I was hoping to
see a little more of the "Hurrah for the Hero" and maybe
a little more closure in the end after all the effort. The game,
although not on the top of my Best Games of All Times list, is
still more than decent and well worth a try. I might not have
gotten the thrill I was meant to get from the game, because I
felt that it was slightly more skewed to the male gamer, but in
the same breath I think avid gamers will enjoy the challenge whether
they are male or female.
Release Date: 1998
Four Fat Chicks Links
Pentium 100 (P133 recommended)
16 MB RAM (32 MB recommended)
No 3D hardware support
Where to Find It
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