Written: 1.23.10 Acquired: 2.8.06 Status: Cart only Price: $6.74
Although it was released in 1995, Nosferatu had been in development for years. It can be best described as Prince of Persia meets Castlevania. We all know there weren't a great deal of darker themed games on the 16-Bit Super Nintendo. As a fan of the macabre, this was one title I definitely had my eye on back in the day. The lovely previews in magazines made it seem like a can't miss. Did it live up to the hype I created inside my gaming heart 15 years ago? Prince of Persia meets Castlevania/Splatterhouse? SIGN ME UP!
WHY SO LONG???
Ah man, do I remember the magazine previews of this game. I would just stare at it in awe, thinking to myself, "All these cute and colorful games are nice and all, but where are the gruesome monsters and terrible nasties?!" One glance at this game and you knew it was just DIFFERENT. But year after year, it remained unreleased. You began to wonder if it would even ever see the light of day? After years of delay, Seta finally launched the game. Speaking of which, I know I have been out of commission for quite some time. I haven't updated the site in over four months. I haven't written a Super Nintendo game review in over one year, either. Some were beginning to wonder if RVGFANATICwould ever rise up again. Trust me, I still love the SNES, I still love this site, and the DREAM LIVES ON! I was actually hoping to write this review in time for Halloween 2009, but things came up. How fitting then, that the first SNES review in over a year is Nosferatu. A game delayed for years and years... now a review that was delayed months and months. Does anyone else find this irony to be amusing? [Only you bub -Ed.] <--- gosh I miss you! Yes, even you [Wish I could say the feeling was mutual -Ed.] Ahem, it's good to be back. 2009 was a crazy year and I just fell out of the updating loop. Anyway I'm back now, and hopefully will stay for a spell or two. If all goes well, this will only be the beginning of RVGFANATIC'srevival in 2010 [Alright Mr. Melodramatic, this is real beautiful and all, really, but SUCK IT UP! -Ed.]
I never did get a chance to play Nosferatu back in the day, but man, how I long to. It just looked SO bad-ass in the magazines. My brother and I bought a SWAT Pro mag once, and it had a lovely 8 page breakdown of the game. I would just stare at it and admire like some sad sick puppy. Just never got around to renting it. Ah the beauty of being older and games dropping in value! Ain't nutthin' like it, no siree, nutthin' like it!
It's weird though... you don't see any of these huge beasts there in the actual game. And if you look at our hero there, looks like he's firing some sort of voo doo projectile at the two-headed behemoth there. Looks pretty rad, doesn't it? But nowhere in the actual game is it found! Why did Seta take it out? Was it Nintendo? Who knows, but seeing these shots brings a tear to my eye knowing what could have been... *sigh* such wasted potential...
From the "WHERE DID THAT GO??" file!
Kyle indeed has quite a few moves and tricks. Be sure to learn 'em all. It's a shame though that the controls are not very responsive...
Nosferatu features a very basic power-up system. As you collect crystals throughout your quest, found via treasure chests or fallen foes, Kyle's fighting prowess increases. Sadly, the gems don't come by too often and it's far TOO easy to lose them, especially when facing the Frankenstein monster or those damn floating (and chasing) eye balls
Along the way as expected you have these items to collect to aid you in your quest. Be sure to look in all chests; the green gem is highly valuable as it adds new bars to your life. You'll need every last one!
The first stage is very basic and introduces you to the game by putting you at ease and sets the somber mood. After that, the stages have branching points and multiple compartments to wade through
Hmmm... shall I take the brightly lit stairs leading up, or the dark stairs leading down with beastly growls?
[For you?? Take the dark stairs leading down... -Ed.]
Lots of doors in Nosferatu to navigate through
Look for blocks and walls to push...
Nosferatu's various chambers, crypts and catacombs are filled with deadly traps. Be on the lookout for these and more!
Careful Kyle! Or else it'd be a quick and painful demise for ya buddy
Watch out for the monsters, and speaking of which...
Of course, with a game title such as Nosferatu, you expect a legion of monsters, freakshows and demons to litter the hallways, highways and byways. And you're exactly right. Here are but a few of the nasties you'll face
Plus many more! I hate the Gem Eater, and trust me, so will you
THE STORY GOES....
If ya haven't seen the classic 1922 silent film or 1979 version, do so!
THE GAME - LEVEL ONE
UGH! Our hero starts off dumped unceremoniously in this little holding cell
You find a way out but quickly learn you're not alone...
Well then, have a nice...
... FIST SANDWICH WITH ONIONS AND HOT SAUCE OH YEAH!
Animation is pretty top-notch stuff... love the detail of the prisoner reaching out there...
Pocket the treasure and high tail it quick! Something is definitely not right here...
Whew, safe, but not for long. A gargoyle's giving you the eye
Gotta love the female begging there [Oh yeah baby -Ed.] Dare enter the dark room there?
Indeed you should. Don't pussy out on me now!
Very cool indeed. It's little details like this that rule
Y'kno, there's a movie to be made here somewhere... errr... wait a sec...
Nosferatu's 1st level sets a great mood
Look at the decayed bodies strewn about, I just love this scene
[You really need to lay off on the mad scientist laugh -Ed.]
Get a good running start and slide, otherwise, BAM!
"SUPPER COMES EARLY TONIGHT, MOMMA!"
Run to avoid damage... this place is CRAWLING with demons huh?
Pick up the red gem to increase your fighting strength
Time this sucker perfectly or else... *does the slice throat hand motion*
Frankenstein in the HOUSE! And he doesn't play too nicely, either. Tough git!
Didn't I just say this? [Life lessons are worth emphasizing -Ed.]
Ah, now we're out of the decrepit basement or whatever that hell hole was, and you find yourself somewhere just outside the forest on a chilly night. If you guess this is the prelude to the first boss battle, my friend you are correct. Very atmospheric stuff this is
I won't lie, it's quite fun punching and kicking those little gargoyles!
[I don't ge -- OHHH you mean the bos -- I'm good I'm good -Ed.]
With his hunched back and boomerang he reminds me of Boss 1 from Streets of Rage!
He's just as rock dumb too! Duck and punch, duck and punch
You knew it was coming. BTW, can't wait for The WOLFMAN movie...
Get too close and he'll toss you around like a rag doll
[Yeah, that's my go to line in times of distress as well -Ed.]
So far, so good. Onto LEVEL 2 to find out!
Oh how I loathe this guy! You can only jump kick him to death, and that's hard to do. Otherwise run by him after he knocks you down (if you have gems, you're likely to lose a few). Cheap cheap cheap....
An eye for an eye... [You're fired -Ed.]
Hmmm, do you jump up there, hanging by the ledge only to pull yourself up... or do you take the other path where the weak platform gives way sending you to God knows where? Choices choices
Whew that was a close one!
Frankie really means it too! Hate HATE this git!
You'll lose a gem or two... and he's tough as nails to kill too!
With its basic puzzles and undead baddies
I couldn't get away!
Reached out a hand to touch your face; you're slowly disappearing from my view; disappearing from my view. Reached out a hand to try again
Wow, lyrics fit perfectly. Were Seta fans of FLOCK OF SEAGULLS?
WATCH OUT MAN! Gotta be more careful!
First Frankie, now Mummy. The status quo of monsters is being met
Hey, I'm all about the EDGE-CHU-KAY-SHUUUUUUN!
Don't be an idiot and play hero; get the DODGE outta town man!
"Oh crap, cramp cramp! One second please...."
Love how deformed and raggedly he looks. Great sprite!
Appearing and disappearing obstacles, check
These little moments where the action speeds up and more of a sense of urgency builds is where the game delivers. It's fun to work your way through such spots
Gotta time the reappearing ghoul and the platform cracking perfectly
The simple puzzles won't floor anyone. Push a block to activate the switch which opens the door there. Nonetheless, it adds to the game's flavor instead of being a platformer
If you're thinking it's just about boss time, you my friend are correct. These landscape-y scenes are an indicator to the player that the boss is looming in the near distance
"OUTTA MY WAY!"
Is that Sanda and Gaira?! They sure smell like it!
Referring to TOHO's 1966 kaiju (monster) flick, War of the Gargantuas. One of their side-kaiju films during the Godzilla golden age... and a most beloved film among kaiju fans. I liked it too, but I much prefer 1965's Frankenstein Conquers the World. Talk about a bizarre and rather eerie monster film! Check it out if ya haven't
No blood, but Kyle sure will feel that in the morning!
After which, we see another neat little cutscene where Kyle races on, and this time, we catch a very brief glimpse of the vampire himself... watching and stalking from his tower...
Sadly so, yes. A quick peek at level three...
"MAN YOUR BREATH STINKS!!"
... ouch. PRO-TIP: Don't do this [Nooo, REALLY?? -Ed.]
[Took the very words right outta my mouth! -Ed.]
See that little opening there up top? This is a pretty cool little spot where you need to stop and ponder first before jumping and going at it all gung-ho. Good stuff
Don't drop off again Kyle!
Pick the right box, or ELSE...
WAYS TO DIE
Some are instant deaths, others will take away a health bar... there are more traps later in the game as expected. Bottom right pic there, PIT FATALITY from Mortal Kombat anyone?
Just brutal, absolutely BRUTAL!
I'm gonna kick your as -- [I rest my case -Ed.]
HINTS, TIPS, STRATEGIES AND CHEATS (Trust me, you'll need 'em!)
Climb down to reveal the level below before you jump
If you inch your way through some screens by walking instead of running you can see things to come
Keep Kyle alert when approaching foes, some may not wait to get close to strike!
Try every door, who knows what you'll find...
Avoid falling forward three stories, and backward two stories, you may meet a timely death
[As Kyle demonstrated a bit earlier, eh? -Ed.]
Keep your distance from bone wielding zombies
Make at least your first strike to some foes a flying high kick
Abomination floats about almost harmless, don't be fooled!
Very useful cheat this one. Allows you to sample the later levels which the game makers made damn hard to get to "naturally." You'll find that levels 4, 5 and 6 are INSANELY difficult
Other useful cheats:
Maximize Health: Do spinning kick, pause, Up, X, right, A, down, B, left, Y
Maximize Power Crystals: Pause, Up, X, right, A, down, B, left, Y
[GAME GENIE]Don't Lose Crystals When Hit: C265-3DBD
[GAME GENIE]Almost Infinite Energy: C9BA-1F04
WHAT THE CRITCS SAID
As usual, GameFan went semi-ga-ga over the game while EGM and Super Play Magazine were both a bit harsher (and in my humble estimation, more on the mark)
EGM:6.5, 6.5, 7.0, 7.0
GameFan:80, 85, 88
Super Play: 75%
And just for kicks although I normally don't show (or care) what GamePro had to say, here's the rating they printed in that same SWAT PRO '95 issue I bought some 15 years ago... remember their little cartoon rating pix?
Wow, 15 years already? Time flies
15 years ago I drooled at all the Nosferatu previews and screenshots, thinking to myself what a cool and awesome game it must have been. It looked like a delicious hybrid between Prince of Persia and Castlevania as well as Splatterhouse. "How could this game be anything but fantastic!?" I vividly recall thinking. Nearly 15 years later I finally played one of my many childhood game curiosities and I'm sad to say it fell way short of my hopes and dreams. I admit that I do come into certain video games with certain expectations. As I loaded this game up I thought surely this must be one of those "sadly underrated overlooked SNES gems" that hardly anyone speaks of. I was thinking it would play like a game that deserved NO LESS than a very good 8.0/10 score. Sometimes with the video games that I do this with (having such expectations), the game lives up to my own hype and childhood fantasies. Other times it even EXCEEDS. And then sadly, the rest of the time it falls below par and you shake your head at what a wasted opportunity it all was. I wish I could tell you Nosferatu belongs to the first two categories, but in fact, from where I sit, it plops itself into the tragic, heartbreaking third category. That's not to say Nosferatu isn't without its good points. There are some to be had. The graphics are pretty cool and although the scenery appears somewhat repetitive, the visuals really give this game a unique and somber mood. The music fits well and adds to the atmosphere. And unlike other similar games on the SNES, Nosferatu scrolls rather than flicking between screens. When fighting the scum sucking nasties, the third and final right cross from Kyle results in a semi-slow motion cinematic blow, which only adds to the Hammer Horror B-Movie feel
It's a shame then that the controls aren't nearly as responsive as one would hope. The rotoscoped animation is lovely, but controlling Kyle is a bit of a pain. To run you double tap, but why is it harder than it oughta be? Why not make "R" run? In the later levels there are tough traps and cruel enemy placements galore that, combined with the subpar control, makes the game far harder than it needs to be. It really hinders you, and stops the game from being what could have been a special effort. The sick looking baddies and set pieces are top-notch for the most part, you just wish the game plays as well as it looks. The gameplay isn't innovative, borrowing heavily from past games in the genre, and the puzzles aren't that taxing, but the lack of control and insane difficulty really drops the game down. I wanted to like Nosferatu so much. On the surface, it looks like it has all the makings of a great obscure game that somehow fell through the cracks for one reason or another. Then you play it, and you realize why nobody ever really talks about it. It's like that NBA or NFL prospect who comes into the league with amazing upside, but only lives up to half the hype (or less). Nonetheless he is a decent player and not necessarily a bust per se, but you can't help but watch him play and shake your head knowing how much better he could have been. That's exactly the perfect analogy for Nosferatu. I still like it, and undoubtedly it's a game I will pull out every October or stormy night for a go or two... at least for the first two levels... but there will always be a part of me that can't help but think, "Oh what could have been... especially after all those years of delay... what could have been..."
I'm happy to say I finally played Nosferatu and have quelled a 15 year curiosity, but I'm saddened to say it fell short of the amazing game, for all intents and purposes, it should have been =/
Graphics: 8.5 Sound: 8.5 Gameplay: 6 Longevity: 6
Although Nosferatu failed to be wonderful, I'll show you what is! Click and read along below...
It's late in the evening; she's wondering what clothes to wear. She puts on her make-up and brushes her long blonde hair. And then she asks me, "Do I look all right?" And I say, "Yes, you look wonderful tonight."
We go to a party and everyone turns to see This beautiful lady that's walking around with me. And then she asks me, "Do you feel all right?" And I say, "Yes, I feel wonderful tonight."
I feel wonderful because I see The love light in your eyes. And the wonder of it all Is that you just don't realize how much I love you.
It's time to go home now and I've got an aching head, So I give her the car keys and she helps me to bed. And then I tell her, as I turn out the light, I say, "My darling, you were wonderful tonight. Oh my darling, you were wonderful tonight."
[Sheesh... only on RVG and only you. Back for more huh? God help us all -Ed.]