Review By: jenksy | Posted: 14/06/2004
The Final Word
A Review by Moz
You wake up in a mortuary, zipped into a body bag. Corpses lie scattered all around you….. But the nightmare has just begun, and even death offers no release. Packed with fiendish puzzles, gruesome murders, twisted morals, and serial murder, Midnight Nowhere mixes in sexual perversion, sick satire and a dash of necrophilia
When I was given this game to review and I read the above blurb that came with it, I thought this is the game for me and I really looked forward to immersing myself in a world of depravity, perversity and sexual deviancy. I have always been a horror fan no matter what the format, whether it is films, books or games. I have also found recently that I have become quite a fan of point and click adventure games as I find that it gives me an opportunity to use brain power as opposed to the fire power required in most survival horror titles. This I thought would be a point and click game that has grown up with adult themes, adult humour and a hopefully disturbing storyline. Then I made the mistake of loading the game and playing it….
The game is set in the fictional Russian town of Chernoozersk in the year 2019. A newsreel plays showing armed forces being dispatched and a new reader informs you of events leading up to the present situation in the town. It appears that on 14th March four mutilated corpses of unemployed and homeless people were found in a basement in the town. Over the following month the body count quickly escalates and by April 4th seventy eight people are dead. It is thought to be the work of one very busy serial killer. Understandably the town is in panic and the residents are leaving the town in droves a Federal Security Service is dispatched to assist in the investigation. The killings continue, and on 11th April a state of emergency is declared and the army is drafted in to seal off the town. The remaining population are being evacuated to specially created quarantine centres.
The screen goes black and your character, Sergey, wakes to find that he has been placed in a body bag on a table in the morgue, with no recollection of how he came to be there. He manages to find the zipper on the bag and emerges into a dark dimly lit room surrounded by corpses. This is where you take over and your first problem is to find a way out of the room. The plot so far appeared pretty good and I thought the game showed a lot of promise but it was all too good to be true and I was soon disappointed. As Sergey explores his new environment far from being a little freaked out at emerging from a body bag on a slab he takes the time to appreciate a female corpse on an adjoining trolley with the subtle observation “nice tits”. This did seem a little odd as not only was the women dead but her skin was grey and showing signs of decomposition, still Sergey was obviously impressed so she must have been better than his last date.
As Sergey encounters more and more bodies his mood appears to become even more jovial. (Oh that Russian sense of humour!!) But many of his one-liners sound bizarre or weird instead of funny. I believe that the dialogue must have lost something in the translation from the developer’s native Russian into English. He is not someone I would personally pay to see in stand-up.
Midnight Nowhere uses the traditional point-and-click game play featured in most adventure games for the PC. As Sergey explores his environment icons appear on objects or people he may be able to interact with in some way. In the case of Midnight Nowhere however, this can be extremely frustrating as dark environments and poor lighting mean you may have to mouse over every square inch of the screen to find a crucial clue or object. Locations of objects are also often in extremely obscure places that don’t seem to have any logic within the game. If you are stuck and cannot find a particular object then you would be well advised to recheck previously searched locations again. I had to check the pocket of a jacket a number of times before I found what I was looking for.
Nudity and porn material is used increasingly throughout and sometimes in the most bizarre manner, for example you can get a key code for an electronic lock by examining a woman’s nude body, it’s not the obvious place to hide something but it’s effective as it’s not somewhere you would obviously think of looking. However most of the nudity is not graphic and is not particularly offensive but you probably wouldn’t want younger children getting their hands on the game.
Basically Midnight Nowhere doesn’t deliver what it promised. There are some nice quirky moments, for example you can make a corpse dance around by sending an electrical charge through it, and certainly some of the imagery is eerie and disturbing, but basically the game has too many faults. The humour doesn’t work because it has been poorly translated and the plot often suffers from the same problem. The game also has a tendency to crash, so regular saving is a must. This may be what is hot in Siberia but the game certainly left me cold.