Review by Captain Steel

Reviewed: 10/08/01 | Updated: 10/08/01

A highly innovative super-hero satire.

VORTEX SLAIN!
Enter a gotham-esque type cityscape. Only problem is... the super-hero responsible for keeping the super-villains at bay has been assassinated! Who was the culprit? Who whacked the noble Vortex, protector of the innocent? The vile Sutekh (of course), a Jackal headed Egyptian-type guy who looks like Anubus.

To make matters worse, Sutekh has freed the other local super villains, creating (Dun, Dun, DUN!) a super villain gang! They are - Rat King, Goliath, Lord Muck, and the Ninja Mistress. But that's not all! Now that Sutekh has a bevy of henchmen (and one henchwoman) he has set about pilfering the 4 artifacts of power... which, when collected, will enable him to take over the world.

Enter Nightshade - a would be super hero, hoping to pick up where Vortex left off. You play the role of Nightshade, who definitely does not appear like a standard super hero. Instead of brightly colored spandex and a cape, he wears a raincoat, a fedora, and 70's style Ray-Ban sun glasses...

Only problem is, as soon as Nightshade begins his quest to bring Sutekh to justice, he is captured by the enemy. The game begins with you, Nightshade, tied to a chair with a bomb under it. Laughing in your face is Sutekh, master of mayhem, telling you that he is going to leave you to your demise. Of course, you escape, and then begin your mission.

Okay, sound hackneyed? Well it is! It is supposed to be, because this game is a parody. Every super hero cliche and stereotype is present in this very interesting (and fairly amusing) RPGish adventure.

GRAPHICS -8- For original Nintendo, the graphics in this game are spectacular. For nowadays... well, for original Nintendo they were great. Get it?

SOUND -7- Hmm, some variation here. Some of the tunes, like the ''Peter Gun'' style Nightshade Theme song, and the spooky Egyptian sounding Sutekh's ''secret underground lair'' theme are very well done. There is even some cool special effects -for example- when nightshade enters combat, it flashes the Nightshade logo on a black screen and plays a snippet from the theme song! But... most of the rest of the music is pretty average. And when Nightshade chooses an option he cannot do, the game makes a very annoying ''negative'' sound.

GAMEPLAY -9- Yeah! Different, and maybe a little difficult to get used to, but once you do, you will be set. I'm going to spend a little extra time with this category, because it is important. The game has three modes: exploration mode, combat mode, and the ''escape the easily escapable situation of impending doom!'' mode.

Most of the game takes place in the exploration mode. This kinda feels like a point and click RPG. You pick up items, use them on different objects, and talk to different people in the city. You walk around 3-D environs ala Double Dragon style playcontrol.

The combat mode features 2-D sidescrolling duels. You can fight anything ranging from common street thugs to Sutekh, Super-Villain Master-Mind Extraordinaire(TM). You punch, kick, and jump your way into Super-Hero fame.

The final mode is the ''escape the easily escapable situation of impending doom!'' mode. Whenever Nightshade runs out of health, he becomes captured again by Sutekh. You are then strapped to various machines of death(For example, you may be tied to a conveyor belt, headed toward a masher). Sutekh, like in the intro, laughs in your face and then leaves you to your demise. Of course, what would a super hero be without ''easily escapable situations of impending doom!''? Each situation gets more difficult to escape, until finally, on the fourth time you are captured, you finally are killed without a chance of reprieve.

In order to win, you must defeat Sutekh, but in order to do that, you need to become a Super Hero. What really fuels a Super Hero's abilities? His (or her) ego, of course! The more heroic deeds you perform, the more your Popularity Meter rises. More options become open to you when Nightshade becomes more popular. You start by performing such mundane tasks as rescuing lost kittens. When you get a little bit more advanced, you can try rescueing a child from a burning building, or even stopping muggers in the act! When Nightshade is popular enough, he can take on the Super Villain Henchmen. Each time he defeats a Super-Villain, Nightshade collects a Scarab Key. Once all the Scarab Keys have been obtained, Nightshade is able to infiltrate Sutekh's ''Secret Underground Lair.''

OVERALL -8- This is a great game and very funny if you read comic books at all as a kid. (and have a sense of humor about it). The banter between Nightshade and Sutekh in their various encounters is particularly entertaining. Even the ending is very good for an original Nintendo title. This game has a little something for everyone: Action, Puzzles, humor, a little suspense, and most of all, fun.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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