Review by Skarr
Reviewed: 08/11/02 | Updated: 08/11/02
Yowzers, a great NES game!
Nightshade is one of those NES games that hasn't had much success or recognition, and unfortunately goes unknown for its' existence, although this is truly a grade A adventure game.
You are Nightshade, a self-proclaimed superhero who feels no need to have a flashy get-up or cape (you look a bit like Dick Tracy), and one day, decide to take matters into your own hands when the corruption of Sutekh's madness on Metro City results in the death of local superhero Vortex. Sutekh, the main crime lord who resembles a knick knack humanoid, then decides there are no more heroes left, and quickly begins to take over Metro City. Well, this is where Nightshade decides to fill in for Vortex!
Nightshade features many modes of play, from the standard walk around style, to point-and-click interaction, to one-on-one fighting! The point-and-click also proves to be useful and fun to use here, giving the gamer the ability to buy things, talk to people, operate objects, examine the surroundings, and lots more. There are even mini-game type of side missions, one involving saving a girl from a burning building. And when Nightshade loses a life, you are given the chance to continue by means of escaping a death trap set up by the main baddie, Sutekh. Sutekh obviously has even his flaws in ''escape proof'' traps, and these scenes are also intended as superhero-in-a-pinch parodies. There are four of them, but the fifth death trap (ice ray) is the end of the road for you. Not only all this, but you are also required to build up your popularity level (remember, you're a newbie!) in order to progress and be accepted as the new hero of the day, which can be done by doing good for the community and fighting crime. How's that for gameplay? An instant 10.
Although some of the character graphics can be a bit shabby at times (ninjas are faceless blonde girls in gray catsuits), the game makes up for its' faults with its' backgrounds and character interactions. At times, we will see Nightshade pick something up and cram it into his trenchcoat. Other times, Nightshade will actually itch his head and fold his arms at you, if the game is left sitting for a bit. And the animation is very smooth during fight sequences, making this a decent stageshow of events and images.
Most of the music is a bit repetitive, but its' all among the lines of bearable, and everything seems to have its' own sound effect, from shattering statues to birdies circling the head of a clumsy bouncer crime boss. Sometimes, NES can really do wonders with its' SFX!
HUMOR FACTOR: 8/10
This tends to be a parody of the whole superhero gimmick, and is loaded with adult-esque humor, with everyone mispronouncing his newly-founded superhero name, countless other cliches, and Nightshade's own reactions to mistakes and/or oddities in life. You can even hold conversations with rats and chipmunks (even anarchist chipmunks!), which is always pretty humorous. And the short, pudgy English men enemies are always a good laugh, when they aren't annoying.
If you don't know what the hell you are doing, chances are you are in for a rough ride, if not too rough. But if you have a decent idea, and you got the controls down, you shouldn't have too much of a problem, although it will still prove to be very challenging, as each enemy has a significant weakness you must know, and other things. But it isn't too difficult to enjoy, and I'm sure anyone with enough sense to press a button will enjoy this.
REPLAY FACTOR: 7/10
By the time you are finished with Nightshade, you may not feel the need to play it again, due to one ending, but if you ask me, this still manages to have a decent amount of replay value even after completion. All the misadventures of Nightshade never seem to grow old, making you come back for more and experiment with various things in other ways for different results.
Nightshade has its' flaws, but still stands at a godlike status in my book. What this one fails to do, makes up for in its innovative tendencies, and is one of the most interesting, diverse superhero parody adventures since Comix Zone. Add it to your video game collection and be proud, citizen!
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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