Psst... the word on the street is that Sutekh, a powerful crime boss, plans to take control of Metro City, but not if you have anything to say about it! As Mark Gray, bookish encyclopedia researcher by day, you don a trench coat, a fedora, and shades by night to become Nightshade, super crime fighter.
Although this action/adventure from Ultra has a side-scrolling perspective the gameplay is reminiscent of role-playing games such as Solstice, Shadowgate, and Déjà Vu. You guide Nightshade as he roams through over 100 different rooms throughout the city in search of clues to Sutekh's whereabouts and different items that enable him to advance and keep searching. The game also has action scenes where Nightshade punches and kicks various enemies head-to-head.
ProTip: Watch out for a carpet. The moths have eaten away at it and there's a hidden hole. Use the Screwdriver on the screws on the other side of the rug and you'll hear a crash. Go downstairs to investigate and you'll find an important clue.
Cool graphics and a fairly compelling mystery offset some pretty tinny tunes. Turn em' off. Nightshade isn't as challenging as Shadowgate or Solstice, but it's a nice case for first time action/adventurers. Here are a few clues to help you get started.
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He's a hero best known for his a trench-coat, fedora and shades. Known as Nightshade, you must defend Metro City from an Egyptian villain. Gather information about this mystery enemy and track him down before he takes over the city.
Crime is taking over the city! The local hero, Vortex, was captured and slain and now the very concept of law and order has disappeared in the chaos. Metro City is under siege from the various crime bosses fighting for control and without the help of Vortex, the grand metropolis will fall to the torrent of crime. During these dark hours another guardian of good must be found to replace this void. It is time for Nightshade.
Artistic and well-crafted, Nightshade is an excellent addition to Sega's Shinobi franchise. In this latest title you play the female government ninja Hibana who's been drafted to take out the Nakatomi Corporation. Apparently members of the company have accidentally released hellspawn on Tokyo. To save the future city you'll have to defeat a cadre of creative boss baddies and collect the broken pieces of the cursed sword Akujiki they leave behind.
The storyline is fairly straight forward, dished out in between-level cut scenes that are fairly well rendered and voice acted. The scenes are short enough not distract from the game, which plays smoothly and is filled with loads of non-stop hacking, kicking and jumping. Movement takes a few minutes to get used to as you adjust to controlling the third-person view of Hibana with one stick and the camera angle with another. Once you master the basics you can use combinations of buttons and movements to do double jumps, wall runs, even a cool new move called a stealth dash which gives you a momentary blur of speed that creates doubles of you and jets Hibana across the screen.
After spending a fairly short amount of time with the game, I found the controls very smooth, but what really makes this game such a blast to play is the inventive combat system. There are really only three basic attacks: sword, kick and power ' but when used in combination with each other and certain movements the possibilities seem almost limitless. You can string together combinations of attacks for more damage and points or you can make use of the game's Tate Timer. The timer kicks in when you defeat an enemy ' once the timer is counting down each successive attack increases in power. If you take out more than four enemies before the timer runs down you get a Tate attack ' basically a cool cinematic death scene that shows the down bad guys all dying in some interesting way at the same time. It's pretty cool.
The Chakra Gauge also tracks your attacks ' powering up with each successful hit. The Chakra units earned are then used to perform some of the special attacks and moves ' like a stealth attack which creates momentary clones of Hibana for a powerful multi-attack. It would take too long to go through all of the games special attacks and moves, but despite the fact there are so many of them they are very easy to pick-up and use in the heat of battle.
The fights themselves are very fluid, with your character dashing through the action, flipping over bad guys and bouncing off walls to destroy the screen full of monsters. The game ramps up nicely, giving you the opportunity to perfect your timing and attacks before you come to rely on them. One of the neat twists to this game is that it relies heavily on jumps and aerial dashes, turning it at times into almost a platformer with combat. It's a nice change from the typical game in this genre.
Although Nightshade is an excellent game, it does suffer from a very linear plot and play ' but you can't win them all and I still strongly recommend this as an addition to any gamer's library.