I'm gonna stick my neck out right at the start. Nosferatu is one of those meaty games that you'll be dying to sink your teeth into as soon as it's loaded. For me, it was love at first bite. I was out for the Count!
You may have sussed by now that Nosferatu can also be found in the phone book under the alternative names of Vlad the Impaler or Count Dracula. (Phone after sunset or you'll just get his answering machine). Having exhausted the Transylvanian blood banks he's now on the prowl for new donors further afield. That's why Jonathan Harker, estate agent, has just flogged him a new des res with all mod cons in his home town. Only to discover too late that the new inhabitant won't be frequenting the local Berni. Not too keen on stakes is our Drac!
The game begins in Nosferatu's castle. Jonathan has to escape to warn the townspeople of their new neighbour before he can make suckers of them all. But how? Where? The castle's large and you must explore all the rooms picking up objects that'll help you reach the elusive exit. You've probably guessed by now that it's an idea to start mapping as you go, if you don't want to keep ending up in an oak-wood box.
Fairlights the game that sprang immediately to mind while I was playing this bit. It's not just the 3D graphics and the black-out as you move between screens (much quicker than in Fairlight though) but the gameplay too. It's not that hard to stay alive, though dodging the killer bats is a touch tricky, and there's a plethora of interconnecting rooms to explore. There are secret sections and a whole cellar to the castle which stays in total darkness until you discover a way of lighting the lamp. And as your energy depletes you must tuck into the food you find - though garlic bread's probably not on the menu. Oh, and one nice touch - drink a bottle of the local homebrew (Bull's Blood?) and then try walking in a straight line.
There's a whole game in this first section alone, but when you've made it out of the castle, you've still hardly started. Load in the next part and start exploring the town. Now though, you're no longer alone. You can toggle between two other characters, Jonathan's wife, Lucy and her brother-in-law, van Helsing, as well as plugging on with Jonathan. Once again, making a map is vital - and more difficult. The town is plagued with rats and most of the inhabitants you meet have already had a necking session with Nosferatu. You can keep them at bay with bunches of garlic but to get to the heart of their matter you'll need to find a way of making wooden stakes.
Your main task, though, is to keep Lucy safe. She's your only hope in the final confrontation with the vampire - only a woman pure of heart who is willing to stay with Drac till dawn can overcome his power. (We put T'zer forward for the job but unfortunately she declined - something about spending the whole day in the same room as the Ed being punishment enough!)
Fangs to the programmers, Design Design, the game's full of neat touches. The screens are packed with detail including, strangely enough, a rather large number of bathrooms in Drac's pad. And as night falls, the screens change colour and all is bathed in gloom.
If you were a fan of Fairlight and Movie, you're in for a blOOdy good time this Chrimble. If you've never seen either of them, try Nosferatu.
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