Midnight Nowhere (Windows)

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Written by  :  Jeanne (76590)
Written on  :  May 13, 2005
Rating  :  2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars

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A bit sick .. Unconventional story, clunky interface

The Good

Midnight Nowhere is like no other game I've ever played before. It has a very unusual story and the telling of it is difficult to follow at times. Maybe some things escaped me because I'm an American, and the game was made in Russia.

As the description and blurbs say, you play a guy who wakes up in a morgue surrounded by other bodies in body bags. He has no idea who he is or how he got there (what a different idea ... ). His first problem is getting out of the morgue itself which will take awhile because most of the doors are either locked or inoperable. Puzzles you'll encounter include finding and using various objects, locating keys, pass cards and passwords etc. so you can get inside all of those locked rooms. Eventually he finds a way out of the hospital only to be arrested. I won't give away the rest of the story here, but suffice to say that it does get more intriguing as you figure out who the "players" are and what part you actually play in the scheme of things.

Some of my favorite games have been 3rd person, but I personally think Midnight Nowhere should have been made in 1st person. Or, the designers should have made it possible to click somewhere without your character moving to that very spot - subsequently blocking your view so you had to move him to proceed. The background graphics, those of the characters and objects are all really good although unnecessarily dark most of the time. You'll find yourself constantly adjusting the gamma so you can see or read something.

Music is varied and nice to listen to. Again you'll be adjusting the volume often so it doesn't drown out the dialog. Sound effects are minimal, but the ones included sounded natural and in tune with what was happening on screen.

The English voices were done well. The lip-sync was strange sometimes, though, when the lips continued to move after the character quit talking. (Did it take longer to say the same thing in Russian?) So, you'd find yourself waiting for the conversation to actually finish.

The main character has a wry and sarcastic sense of humor, and I did find some parts very funny. Some of the things he said were "off the wall", though, and I had absolutely no clue what he meant or why he said it at that particular moment.

Other positive points - there are no action segments, you can't die, and there are no timed puzzles, sound puzzles or sliders. In fact, most of the puzzles are really pretty easy .. if you have successfully picked up the right item or read the proper document, that is.

Saving and loading games is easy and you can name your saved games (although you're limited to too few letters). Your number of saved games is not limited, which I liked. I also like being able to turn subtitles on or off at will. And, it never crashed on me ... always a good thing!

The Bad

I consider myself to be a modern woman and have seen my share of adult films. Why I even played (and enjoyed) some very explicit adult games (Blue Heat and Latex to be exact). I had read a few reviews on Midnight Nowhere, so I thought I knew what I was getting into.

It wasn't the blood and guts that bothered me, or even having to cut off someone's finger with an axe (spoiler!). It wasn't the foul language or the lewd comments. What got me was the sheer number of naked women all over the place in photos, wall posters, playing cards, on computer screens -everywhere- and no way to avoid them because the one object you needed, more often than not, sat directly under one. I can understand a few in a jail cell, but ... in a hospital? Come On! Were all of the hospital employees perverted sex maniacs? It's as if they added all of that art just to shock. (Or did they do it ensure an "Adult" rating?) Although I got used to them, it "cheapened" it for me and lessened my enjoyment.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, there are other things wrong with this game.

The programming team should have taken more time to perfect their "point-and-click" engine. The mechanics of the interface put up unnecessary roadblocks for the player. For instance, to pick up an object it sometimes took 4-5 actions (look, use, pick up - look again etc.) selecting from the 4 icons at the top of the screen. This wasn't helped by the fact that when you clicked there, your character moved in the way (as I said above). Hot spots sometimes ran together making it even more difficult to achieve your goal. There were other interface and graphics quirks too, but I think you get the gist of what I'm trying to say.

Inconsistencies exists. Sometimes the year is 2015, sometimes it's 2019, for instance. And the ending .. well, it was confusing at best and left me wondering what in the world the point was.

The Bottom Line

Midnight Nowhere is not your average, everyday point-and-click adventure, that's for sure. The story could have not been told adequately without the blood, but I think the nudity was plugged in haphazardly just as eye-candy. A walkthrough might help players actually finish the game because of the problems with the interface (see the Links/Searches section). More time in testing would have flushed out those and other funky glitches. I'd recommend waiting to get this from a bargain bin. And, parents, play this before you even think about letting your kids do it.