Review by The Manx
"The most generic superhero game in the world!"
Which isn't really a high bar. I've had maybe five superhero games cross my path in my entire gaming career that were acceptable at all. Nightshade is one of them. But for those that know games like Superman, X-Men and Defenders of Dynatron City, you know that the competition for best superhero game on the NES isn't exactly biting...
In Metro City (not wasting any time with the genericness), crime reigns. Or rather, Egyptian-inspired villain Sutekh does. A superhero named Vortex fought him, but he hasn't been seen since. You're a librarian who followed Vortex's adventures and decide to pick up where he left off by donning a generic trench coat and fedora, and naming yourself Nightshade. Nightshade isn't a very good crimefighter, however, as he begins the game tied to a chair by Sutekh and about to be blown to smithereens. Should our hero escape this trap, he'll need to battle Sutekh's generic minions like ninjas and rats and seal off the generic sources of his generic evil power.
Nightshade is a graphic adventure game most of the time, which means that Nightshade picks up and uses a variety of items (which are sometimes downright unidentifiable in the inventory display) to deal with most of the problems he has to face with a point and click interface. Being a superhero, he's got to fight it out with bad guys sometimes, however, and then the game switches to a 2-D fighting game. And if you can look past the lack of imagination at work in the game, you can have some fun with the different types of gameplay it offers. The fighting is okay, really, and the point-and-click aspects of the game are fun to explore and figure out as well. Just not very imaginative.
But again, it goes back to managing to put up with the genericness of the game. As well as very weak humor. The bad guys like to make fun of Nightshade by calling him Lampshade for instance. Ha ha ha...could you guys wait for me? I need to stop laughing before I start the review again. Okay. When Nightshade finds Vortex's hideout, he finds domes to contain the magic objects that give Sutekh his powers, a machine to heal himself, and is told how often the cleaning lady comes by. Really, Nightshade as a game would've done much better to play it straight. Then again, I suppose I should extend the programmers some credit, since even they realized how bad the jokes were...
All in all Nightshade ain't a bad game, as long as your threshold for cheese is pretty high. Everyone else would probably see this as yet another in a parade of lackluster games about superheroes that just don't cut the mustard.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 08/07/04, Updated 03/15/05
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