I grew up on PC Gaming. Sure, I loved playing on my original Nintendo and Gameboy and all that … but my real passion for gaming came not from Super Mario and Link, but from games like Space Quest, Wing Commander, Monkey Island, King’s Quest and, later on, Gabriel Knight.
Point and click adventure games were my absolute favorite, and as great as they all were, the invention of the CD-Rom made them all the better. Not only did you not have to swap out as much as ten floppy disks, graphics got better with the added storage space, and games started incorporating video. While some had stellar production values, like Wing Commander 3, others weren’t so lucky.
Right in between was Noctropolis, a point-and-click adventure that used video as cinematics, as well as featured live actors filmed over digitized graphics. In the game, you play as Peter Grey, a bookstore owner who spends his lonely nights reading comic books, particularly his favorite comic “Darksheer.”
See, “Darksheer” is a hero akin to Batman – as in, he’s not super powered. Along with his sexy sidekick Stiletto (a reformed supervillain), he defends the city of Noctropolis, where it’s always nighttime, due to a permanent ash cloud that hangs over the city. You get sucked into the world of Noctropolis as “Darksheer,” and must fight all of his worst villains.
I LOVED Noctropolis. It was a Mature game, and featured an adult way and an adult world for our superheroes, way ahead of its time. There’s sex, nudity, profanity and violence and sure, it may sound gratuitous, but 17 years later, I actually still think about the world of Darksheer and Stiletto, and wondering how a modern day Noctropolis game would do.
I still remember how shocked I was when Stiletto seduces our hero, and takes off her top, just for her head to morph into one of your villains – you’ve been played!
It’s all very Cool World but, unlike Cool World, Noctropolis is actually good. It embraced its comic book origins while using a new property to its full effect, paying homage to heroes like Batman (clearly inspired by the world of Tim Burton’s Batman). Sure, it would have been great to control the fights a little bit more, but that was always something missing from point-and-click adventure games, perhaps a reason most of them went the way of the dodo when action games became more and more popular.
What say you? Do you remember Noctropolis?