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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: June 7, 2004
Horror adventure is very tricky. When such attempts succeed, they can represent a pinnacle of recreational enjoyment, but when they fail, they can be unintentionally laughable. Indeed, it’s hard to scare people by means of any virtual experience during which they can interrupt the action at any point. Nonetheless, Russian developers Saturn Plus and Buka have taken the risk and fashioned a new creepy release, Midnight Nowhere, published by Tri Synergy in the United States. Is it successful as a tense thriller?
Right from the start, Midnight Nowhere places you in a dark and terrifying state of mind. The setting is a Russian town called Black Lake in the year 2019. A serial killer has been committing lots of horrifying murders, causing everyone to leave town and the army to cordon off the area. You wake up inside a body bag in a hospital morgue, with rotting corpses all around, and can’t remember who you are or why you’re there. In trying to figure out what’s going on, your first task is to find your way out of the hospital.
If ever a game had a sense of atmosphere, it’s Midnight Nowhere. You’ll visit many seedy locales, including the hospital and a jail, each with its own sense of uneasiness. Blood and corpses are everywhere, and there’s never any doubt that everything is far from normal. The developers want you to feel deep apprehension around every turn, so they never allow you to be in cozy surroundings that make you feel comfortable and safe. The tasks you need to perform are often stomach turning, and to survive, you’d better proceed not only with caution but also with a detached and almost clinical perspective on what you encounter.
The puzzles focus on getting into secured areas. You’ll need to find an unending series of keys and passwords to open locked or jammed doors. Many of these keys and codes are hidden inside notes or on the bodies of deceased people. Consequently, you’ll have to mess with the dead bodies, searching and prodding them (and even chopping off a thumb to use in a scanner) in order to solve a puzzle. Many riddles require you to utilize items with obvious functions, while in other cases, you might find yourself trying everything in your inventory to get something to happen.
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