Nightlong


Title		Nightlong
Compatibility	68030/16MB RAM/Graphics Card/CD Drive (Note filesystem)
Game Type	Adventure
Company		Clickboom
Players		1
HD Installable  Yes
Submission	Vincenzo Morra vmorra@morres.demon.co.uk

Review
I have always been very attracted to graphic adventure games. I still
remember how excited I was when I first played two of the most amazing
(for that time) adventure games from Lucasart: The Secret Of Monkey Island
and Le Chuck's Revenge.

I use to enjoy playing simple text adventure games (The Pawn and Sherlock
Holmes were two of them), and having a game where I could actually move
the main character on the screen and let him interact with other
characters was quite a big surprise for me. The reason why I truly enjoyed
those two games (and many others) was because I felt in charge of the life
of the main character and I grew close to all the other characters present
in the game. It was like watching a movie with the advantage of being part
of it and deciding the outcome of the story (almost).

I have been looking forward to a new adventure game for Amiga and I got
really excited when clickBOOM announced the conversion of an epic
adventure from Team17 called Nightlong.

The idea of playing an adventure game on 4 cd's was quite appealing and as
soon as the game became available I rushed to the phone and ordered my
copy.

What I received the day after was a plain package with a CD case
containing 4 compact discs, a little manual and a registration card with a
serial number needed to obtain patches from the clickBOOM web site.

Of course, I immediately registered my game and a few days later I was
able to download the version 1.1 of the main 68K executable which fixed
some of the bugs present in the version 1.0. Things were not that easy for
version 1.1 of the main PPC executable (available now to all the
registered users of the PPC add on). Apparently, it was available only for
beta testers and I had to almost beg Sofia at clickBOOM to get it,
cleverly reminding her of what a loyal customer I have been in the past
few years having purchased the full clickBOOM range of games available for
Amiga (with the exception of Capital Punishment).

The installation process was not as easy as I hoped. The Amiga Installer
failed to install the game properly and I had to resort to a manual
installation which, fortunately, was pretty straight forward. Also, the CD
system used to duplicate the game is not compatible with all the PD and
shareware filesystems available for the Amiga. You will be needing
cacheCDFS, allegroCDFS or asimCDFS which are all commercial filesystems. I
have tested the game using the allegroCDFS filesystem and after few
modifications of the mountlist I managed to get the game up and running.
Hopefully those niggles will be fixed in a future release.

Once installed I immediately tried the PPC version of Nightlong (which is
available to buy separately as an add on). A beautiful intro movie, in full
screen, introduces the story. The hero in question is called Joshua Reev
and he is an ex military man employed by the governor of Union City to
find out who is organizing attacks on the Genesis Cybernetics Corporation.
The passage between the intro movie and the in game graphics was
completely seamless.

The game takes advantage of the power of a graphic card and all the
locations are displayed with the splendour of the powerful 16bit graphics.
The backdrops are all pre-rendered (a la Resident Evil) and the characters
on the screen are in pure 3D.

The advantage of using pre-rendered backdrops rather than polygonal ones
is an increment in speed of the game and the possibility to represent
small details in a realistic way. The downside to this is the lack of
animation, although for this adventure, Team17 has used small detail
animations (lights, fans, etc.) to bring the backdrops to life.

As soon as I started playing the game I was captivated by the plot and the
amazing locations I was exploring. The puzzles are never too difficult
(although at times they can be challenging) and I soon found myself
playing the game for a couple of hours without noticing the time passing.
I reached the second cd in slightly more than an hour. In a way, it was a
good sign because it made me realize how addictive the game was. On the
other hand I was worried about the length of the story and the
lastability. Having paid more than 50 for the game (PPC version
inclusive) I felt I should have had more value per money. Experienced
players could finish this game in a matter of hours. The audio in the game
is pretty good although, at times, I found it repetitive but I was
impressed by the speech. All the characters in the game have been dubbed
by professional actors and I must admit they have done a pretty good job.
For all of you who don't like the voice-over there is an option to switch
off the speech and have the subtitles on.

The game, overall, seemed very stable. I loved the Blade Runner style used
for the graphics and the way the story has been conceived. My only major
concern is the time it takes to load the new locations and the in-game
movies. Everytime you reach the end of the screen the computer has to load
a new location, and having a good amount of ram available on my computer
it would have been a good idea to have some of the locations loaded in ram
rather than spooled from the cd.

The in-game movies are more of a problem. I have been using a 24X CD drive
to run this game and, at times, it took more than 30 seconds to load them.
The result: out of sync movies with messy graphics. Thank God is not a
continuous problem and apparently it only affects the longer length movies.

The 68K version (which I was running using a 68060) was pretty fast and
similar to the PPC version. The main difference is the intro movie and the
in game movies which are not played at full screen. Something PPC-less
players could live with.

I have really enjoyed playing Nightlong in spite of the problems I have
encountered and I can easily recommend it to all the Amiga gamers who love
adventure games. Well done clickBOOM.




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