Altor Systems, $35. Requirements:100MHz PowerPC or better, 9MB RAM, System 7.5.3, 4x CD-ROM. For more information, visit
http://www.altorsys.com

Review by Don Henson

Nightfall is an interactive first person adventure (my best assessment of how to describe it at any rate) developed on Macs and currently only available for Macs. The perspective is that of the first person shooters, only there is no death and mayhem in Nightfall. The player starts the game just after an earthquake that occurs while you are exploring some Egyptian ruins, tombs, and other nicely decorated areas. The artwork is very well done and ranks with the best-looking games of its genre. The atmosphere effects, dust and fog, are great and the Egyptian artwork is exceptional. Game play starts with exploring the beginning of the first level. There are continual aftershocks of the big earthquake that "entombed" you and plenty of rats scurrying around as well. Several puzzles dot the beginning of the game, most of which give you access to other areas of the building.

The interface is very simple and straightforward, at least compared to the similar perspective, real time shooting games. You have a pack to store one item, a map button, a diary, and a magical disk. The mouse controls most of the game by default, although one can configure his keyboard to take control as well. There are a couple modifier keys for some actions, but nothing as complex as in other games. I find that more and more gamers express to me the need for simple, mouse interfaces. This type of request seems to come mostly from console gamers, who, while they are accustomed to detailed interfaces, are not keyboard enthusiasts at heart. Programmers, testers, and many reviewers, on the other hand, are usually proficient at keyboarding and don't see the need for a mouse-controlled game interface. Like so many ease-of-use issues with computers, this seems to be an issue that is not being addressed actively enough; some of the most popular games even on the PC side are very easy to operate with just a mouse.



There are randomized events in the game which allow for more flexibility and replay value. The latter may not be too much of a concern, as the game will take a fair amount of time for most game players to complete as it is. If that were not enough there are editors and source code included on the CD and those so inclined can make new levels or whole new games. The puzzles are nicely disguised as part of the ancient Egyptian culture and art, so they are totally integrated to the artistry and theme of the game. We don't have a sudden jump to some of the standard puzzles that are in so many games, and that is very refreshing.

Nightfall should be a welcome relief for those that prefer puzzles over shooting. The graphics are active and moving in real time, yet of the highest quality. The flexibility of the game play is superb and one can pretty much go where they want, when they want; nothing is at all linear in Nightfall.

 
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