Noctropolis (PC) review
"Let me help you out. If you're checking this game out for the adult/sex factor, don't even bother. Succubus shows us nothing, and Stiletto shows us her breasts for like, two seconds. They're a rather nice set, granted, but you'd be better staying up and watching Porkys, or Fast Times at Ridgemont High for this kind of one-handed material. At least Fast Times had Phoebe Cates. And you can't beat Phoebe Cates for old time gratuitous nudity. "
Player discretion advised
Noctropolis wanted to be a cool, adult comic book adventure. Well, it's a comic book adventure all right. No, I didn't forget the cool, and adult part. THEY did. If you like point and click adventures, you might give this one a try. An interest in comic book heroes will sweeten the deal for you even more, as you play the part of a made up hero called Darksheer. Man, I have to take issue with this name. How horrible is it? Have all the good comic book hero names been taken? Our hero sounds like a type of stocking for women.
Anyway, your character paces around his apartment before ENTERING the world of his comic book (admittedly very cool). Once inside the comic book world, you'll get to enlist the aid of a Batwoman type ally, named Stiletto. On the box, she is shown sorta topless, with writing over her breasts--very enticing box layout, I must say. The first 'boss', Succubus, is shown looking both menacing, and sexy as well.
Let me help you out. If you're checking this game out for the adult/sex factor, don't even bother. Succubus shows us nothing, and Stiletto shows us her breasts for like, two seconds. They're a rather nice set, granted, but you'd be better staying up and watching Porkys, or Fast Times at Ridgemont High for this kind of one-handed material. At least Fast Times had Phoebe Cates. And you can't beat Phoebe Cates for old time gratuitous nudity. Anyway, Stiletto's breast baring is hardly worth it considering all the rude, smart ass comments you've got to put up with from her.
Outside of the draw of the the sex, now properly dismissed, there is the comic book appeal to look into. The 'set' is well laid out, with well drawn mock ups of Gotham City-esque architecture. There's a funhouse bit, time spent in an observatory, butcher shop, and a mausoleum, and a confrontation with arch enemy Lumisheer (groan). Probably the most exciting part will be figuring out what to say to curry favour with Stiletto, at her apartment set, in the first place. Another cool bit is Darksheer's Shadowlair (his answer to the Bat Cave), which has a ''liquidark'' pool that refreshes him.
Puzzles aren't very difficult (with the exception of a frustrating maze sequence), and some trial and error should see you through. There is some lazy programming; sometimes you're doing the right thing, but not at the right time. Where a game like Alone in the Dark 3 would actually tell you something like 'not yet' or 'you're not in the right spot', Noctropolis doesn't offer any help at all. And you'd think that Stiletto would help out considering she follows you around for a good bit being a smart ass, but she has very little to say that's at all useful or helpful to nudge you onto the right track.
The best that Noctropolis has to offer is in its presentation. Once again, the sets are well constructed, the actors playing the characters do good voice performances, and are well costumed and smoothly implemented into the scenarios, and the music is moody and hummable--the dark tones matching the dark interior of the city. Unfortunately, a generally boring comic 'story/mystery' prevent this thing from picking up speed or gaining any momentum. I felt like I was just going through the motions, and keeping the promised sexy elements in mind probably did a lot to keep me playing. Now that you know those elements don't really exist, what will you play this for?
Staff review by Marc Golding (January 14, 2004)
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