Got Game? April '06 Feature - The Next Level

Got Game? April '06

Find out what we've been playing this Spring.

Article by TNL Staff (Email)
April 19th 2006, 07:05AM

Alex Vo

Usually when a game taunts you that the dungeon you're about to embark is one that nobody has ever returned from, it's a total joke. In means the game's either really easy, or it's a stupid trick where you're cursed into a dragon or a witch and the only release is killing the next guy that wanders into the dungeon.

Not so with Nosferatu for the SNES. No one's ever returned from vampire country because they're cheap assholes. Their buildings are filled with sadistic traps and endless, branching corridors, each requiring an insane amount of determination, observation, and luck that's beyond the reach of mere mortals. However, modern man has one weapon that catapults him into the realm of elite gods: savestates. Now confidentially strut down Dracula's aisles, never in fear of getting cut up by saws, grabbed by haunted paintings, or getting ambushed by ceiling ghouls that knock you into spike pits, losing twenty minutes of work. Well-placed, nothing's more effective than a savestate, and simmering your wooden stake in garlic oil for hours still wouldn't get you close.

Consider Nosferatu as the Silent Hill of precision platformers. In this subgenre, you're always handed some wacky, outrageous profession that defeats the realism the games supposedly offers, e.g. Prince of Persia (Persian prince), Flashback (galactic operative), or Out of this World (physics professor). But like how Silent Hill kicked out chemical viruses and rocket launchers from survival horror, Nosferatu likewise strips down for that commoner appeal. In Nosferatu, you are the Everyman. A regular guy (unnamed, but let's assume something normalish like "Niles") with a regular girlfriend ("Daphne") that's been abducted by a vampire. Not a creative story, but remember, originality's not what we want. Originality's exciting, and detracts from the mundane-ness that is our lives. While exploring the Transylvanian castles, press down and note that Niles doesn't so much as duck but crouch in fear, cowardly putting his hands to his face very much as you or I would. He also never bothers picking up a weapon, like a chair, revolver, or dual golden candlesticks. Instead, Niles puts up his fists and puts them to work, utilizing a variety of punches, tackles, and leg swishes. Niles uses the same street moves to kill zombies and gremlins that I use on that hobo that propositions me in the dark alley behind the movie theater. To this, I can totally relate.

From what I can gather from the grammar-destroyed ending, this is what happens to Niles: he's unknowingly bitten by Nosferatu during the last fight and dies, or Daphne was bitten by Nosferatu who in turns bites Niles and then he dies, or Seta really hates the lightweights that play the game on Normal and didn't bother programming a real ending. I assume there's a gorgeous and mind-blowing ending for those who finish the game on Hard but, damn it, it took me a pathetically long time to beat this game on Normal and I really want to move out of this basement soon.

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