Have You Played… Nocturne?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

My computer couldn’t handle Nocturne when I bought the game at the tail-end of 1999. Too many shadows and exotic features like cloth physics. I played it anyway, gritting my teeth whenever the action slowed to a crawl. But, hey, watching a vampire turn to dust as a stake pinned him to a wall was more dramatic in super slow motion!

The game takes place across four acts, each covering a subgenre of horror, from the vampires and gothic setting of the first to the stitched-up FrankenMobsters of the Windy City chapter. That should lend some variety to the locations and enemies, and perhaps it does. I couldn’t tell you for sure because I didn’t manage to complete the game. The second level, in which you team up with Baron Samedi to shoot one of Lovecraft’s jelly-wobblers, defeated my computer once and for all.

Here. Look at the stunning graphics that brought my machine to its knees.

I’ll admit, those creepy-crawlies still unnerve me.

Nocturne may have been too full of shadows and flappy coats for me to play back in the day but I’d love to see a reboot. In fact, I’d love to see a Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense game. Just as I’ve long-craved a good Gotham City Police Department game or TV adaptation (I’m not the only person who thought that’s what Gotham was going to be, right?), I love the idea of playing a ‘regular’ employee in an extraordinary situation.

A horror game in which each act is in a completely different style, with new enemies and weapons? Yes. And if it were to follow Nocturne’s lead it’d be an action game but, hell, GCPD or BPRD could happily fit into an XCOM mould, couldn’t they?


  1. int says:

    I only ever played the demo but I remember the laser sight. And I remember believing the game had something to do with Blood, due to the main character’s appearance.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      The laser sight is what I most remember too! And the cloth physics on his trench coat, and the install was something like 1gb which was half my total hard drive space at the time

  2. Baltech says:

    Hot damn, it’s great to see this game getting mentioned somewhere. I used to adore it back in the day. The second chapter was the one with the Lovecraftian horrors, right? Yeah, that one :D

  3. jj2112 says:

    I have the game but just couldn’t get past the beginning, it looks like a terrible game.

  4. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    I played it when it was already long in the tooth, but for some reason the engine just looked and felt so RIGHT for crappy noir pulp-horror. And the setting with the paranormal detective agency just seemed so fun to follow, damn!
    Unfortunately, the game was busted and unfinishable even on the computers of the era, and now even GOG won’t dare try and reanimate the thing.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I’ve got the game in its original box, but never got around to it. I had lots of other games and it never seemed to be all that great, but certainly different (in a good way I hope). Perhaps I’ll dust it off some day, but getting it to run on Win 7 might be hard.

  5. PancreaticDefect says:

    The game had a psuedo-sequel with the first Blair Witch Project Game. The Blair Witch Project Volume 1: Rustin Parr. The Stranger makes a cameo early on.

    • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

      And the first hour was like the most exciting thing ever as you packed your bags at the Spookhouse and set off to investigate the eerie town. Then the excellent atmosphere flew out the window and “gameplay” took over.

      • PancreaticDefect says:

        I seem to recall that as well. And yet, they managed to release an entire trilogy. Though I never played past the first. And I never even finished that.

        • blackmyron says:

          You didn’t miss anything with the second and third games.

          The first game was pretty fun, and the ghost children were rather creepy. The ending has an amusing bit where the town turns on the poor doctor, and the Stranger shows up with a badge to reveal they were agents of the US government – and when they leave, quips that he got the badge out of a cereal box.

  6. BarryDennen12 says:

    Spent the whole demo running around admiring the swishy fabric physics. During one playthrough my guy was carrying a severed zombie limb for what must’ve been ten minutes before I noticed.

  7. JB says:

    Oh yes, a BPRD game would be potentially very interesting. Lots of options when it comes to locations, enemies/NPCs, team composition, and so on.

  8. Tyrric says:

    I enjoyed this game, and was disappointed when it never got a proper sequel to the cliffhanger ending. I’m hoping this and the Blair Witch games show up on GOG eventually.

  9. Klarden says:

    They did revisit the mythology in the first Blair Witch game and BloodRayne was originally supposed to be about Svetlana from this mythology, but later redone into something similar, but unrelated. Pretty neat idea, yeah.

  10. davi817 says:

    I’m a very patient gamer and about 6 years ago I went back to revisit Nocturne and Blair Witch: Rustin Parr. Nocturne is one of the worst horror games I’ve ever struggled with. I wrote a personal review. Feel free to look it over to make sure you never waste your time with this barely functioning Resident Evil clone:
    link to giantbomb.com

  11. erbinzky says:

    If i ever have access to a time machine, I’d make this into an awesome cartoon in the early 90’s so I could watch it as a youngling. Greetings from germany

  12. MikoSquiz says:

    Either I’m getting old, or that’s still a pretty handsome game, in motion.

    I’m not sure about the purple fursuiter in the top picture, though.

  13. Moraven says:

    At first I thought a Shin Megami Tensei game made it to PC in the West…

  14. horrorgasm says:

    No, but I would love to if you could tell me how to get the damn game running on a PC that isn’t an actual Windows 98 rig. Never been able to get it to work.

  15. Unsheep says:

    Looks fun, I hope GOG can pick it up one day.

  16. cpt_freakout says:

    I was pretty young when I played this, and I remember a) not being scared at all, and b) getting stuck all the time for some bug or another. Never finished it, and had even completely forgotten about its existence till I saw this post. The aesthetics were pretty cool to my 14 year old mind, though.

  17. tonicer says:

    I played the demo back in the day but only for a couple of minutes because the terrible static camera was … well terrible.

    • zagibu says:

      Yeah, the weird camera angles together with the clunky controls contributed most of the difficulty of this game.

  18. fenriz says:

    even tho visuals follow the genre of alone in the dark, i doubt there are any proper puzzles (cept maybe puzzles like move blocks and find keys), am i correct?