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Midnight Nowhere

Score: 70%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Tri Synergy
Developer: Saturn Plus
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

I have been an Adventure gamer for many years, and I have seen my fair share of point-and-click adventure games in my time. In many ways, Midnight Nowhere is a great game, but it also falls short in many places, although it seems that a lot of the problem was probably in the translation from Russian to English.

Graphically, Midnight Nowhere is a beautiful game that effectively uses shadows and the pre-rendered graphics to set its morbid mood. The game seamlessly blends 3D models into this prefab world and most of the time, the two don't clash. Though there was an occasion where even though the model of Sergey (the protagonist) will move across the screen - the actual walking animation wasn't triggered. This, and a few more instances where the character's animation could have been a little less robotic, really detracted from my immersion in the game.

The pre-rendered scenes themselves are full of detail and, at times, almost photo-realistic, but seeing as the game takes place at two locations (a hospital and a jail), you will find yourself going between the same rooms and hallways over and over again.

The music in Midnight Nowhere does a good job setting the mood as well. The music for the first half of the game (while you are trying to get out of the hospital) is reminiscent of Resident Evil's soundtrack. It has a low-key, moan-filled tone to it that dies down and kicks up in various places making the blood-soaked hallways that much creepier. The second half has a somewhat country feel to it that got on my nerves quickly.

As far as the voice work is concerned - that left a lot to be desired. I never had a problem understanding Sergey, nor did I have trouble reading the subtitles - the problem had more to do with the comments that Sergey made. Quite simply put - a lot of times, his one-liners and observations just didn't make sense. Apparently something crucial was lost in the translation when this game was brought to the states.


Midnight Nowhere takes place in the not-so-distant future (though the exact year still eludes me). The city of Black Lake is being terrorized by a serial killer who has taken nearly 80 lives. Of course when you wake up in a body bag (there's a line I never thought I would write) you aren't aware of this - in fact your character has amnesia. Okay, okay, I know it's been done but tell me - what better way is there for starting off an adventure game than giving you character absolutely no idea of what is going on. Anyway. There you are - trapped in a room full of dead bodies and all you have at your disposal are the items in that room with you.

Once you (finally) get out of that room, you will find that the morgue isn't the only place with dead bodies lying around. Apparently the serial killer has been through here, and all your character wants to do is get out of the hospital and find out exactly why he woke up wearing a toe-tag.

You will find yourself rummaging through offices, pockets and computers in order to work your way out of the building. Along the way you will gather some back-story by way of papers and videotape. With each piece of information, you begin to get a somewhat vague idea of what happened - and if you think that beating the game will answer all the questions you may have, think again.

There are several times in Midnight Nowhere where the developers made cheap gags or puzzles just to take advantage of the Mature rating. Two examples of this would be using a condom as a water balloon and removing the batteries from an adult toy. It seems to me that most of these cheap tricks could have been easily avoided and that the developers went out of their way to use them. There are other times when Sergey will do some deed that would turn even Sam and Max's stomachs.

As I said above, a lot of the meaning behind the comments Sergey makes in this game get lost in the translation; well that isn't all. In many cases, the text in letters or advertisements found in Midnight Nowhere is bluntly wrong. A lot of the grammatical errors slap you in the face as you go through and read the various wall hangings and what not. Granted, these are just extras and don't actually further the plot - but if you are going to have them, then somebody please proof the stuff after it has been translated.


Is Midnight Nowhere difficult? At times no, in fact a majority of the puzzles are simple and logical. Mostly it is 'What key gets me past what door' type of puzzles. But also littered (a little too frequently) are puzzles that are not just hard - but rather illogical. I have no problem with getting to a point where I must try everything in my inventory with everything else in order to get past a problem. What I have trouble with is when the solution makes absolutely no sense.

An example of this (while being as vague as possible) is when you need a password to get into a computer system - and it turns out to be something you might have seen at the beginning of the game that is not even remotely connected to the computer. Another example would be when you have to find playing cards scattered about your jail cell and you find them in the most unusual places.

With its mixture of formulaic and confusing puzzles, Midnight Nowhere can be easy at times, letting you progress (seemingly) a lot, but once you hit one of these (many) problem puzzles, you might as well walk away for a while.

Game Mechanics:

As I mentioned above, Midnight Nowhere is a point-and-click adventure. You walk from location to location interacting with various objects (if you can find the appropriate pixel to click, that is) and adding other objects to your inventory. Once you get out of the first room, the morgue, you should have a basic understanding of the game's controls (even its slightly convoluted item-combining system).

If you feel like you are missing something, the menu (your digital watch) allows you to turn on or off the shadows as well as adjust the gamma. This will brighten up the room a little - hopefully enough to catch something you might have missed.

Midnight Nowhere is a game that has an adult content and theme -because of that, it isn't made for kids and I would not recommend getting it for anyone under the Mature rating. If you are into adventure games, you might want to pick this one up (might), but I warn you, it isn't the best out there.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP; DirectX 8; Pentium II 500 Mhz CPU (rec. 800 Mhz); 64 MB-RAM; DirectX compatible sound card; 8 MB Video Graphics Card 16 Bit Color; 8X CD-ROM; 400MB free HD space

Test System:

Windows XP Professional Ed.; AMD Athlon 600 MHz; 384 MB RAM; 24X CD-ROM; Geforce3 Ti200; DirectX 9.0.

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